Home » 20 Questions with Centre College VP debate moderator Martha Raddatz

20 Questions with Centre College VP debate moderator Martha Raddatz

October 11, 2012

Mark Lucas
Martha Raddatz, ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent and Moderator of the Vice Presidential Debate at Centre College tonight at 9. The debate will cover both foreign and domestic topics and be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. Raddatz will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. She will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the question.
1. Position at ABC News?
Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent.
2. Where did you grow up (and describe the place in one phrase or sentence)?
Salt Lake City. A small city with magnificent mountains that I couldn’t wait to leave.
3. What are your hobbies?
Hmmm. You mean what I do when I am not working, enjoying my family or trying to squeeze in some gym time? I love to cook, and am sometimes ridiculously ambitious about that, even on weeknights. I like to hike, but I only have time on vacation (see questions 4 and 5). And I like to watch football. I have NFL Sunday ticket on my iPad so I can watch wherever I go. Oh, and I read for pleasure every night (see question 20).

4. What is your dream vacation?
I had it last summer: two weeks in Kauai in a big rented house with family and friends. And for the most part I turned my Blackberry off.

5. Favorite place in the world?
Big Sur, Calif.

6. Favorite novel or poem? 
“Crossing to Safety” by Wallace Stegner.

7. Biggest pet peeve? 
Rudeness. It used to be arrogance, but that just makes me laugh now.

8. Most memorable experience of your youth?
I was raised by a single mother (my dad died before my third birthday). When I was about six years old, a very drunk man was banging down our door trying to get into our apartment. My mom was standing holding a butcher knife by the door, shielding me and my sister. I can still feel how vulnerable and terrified I felt. I can still feel my knees shaking uncontrollably. And I remember the relief when the policeman came.

9. Favorite album? 
Patty Griffin’s “Flaming Red,” but her song “Rain” is a favorite and that is on a different album.

10. Most memorable experience while working in the field? 
Riding hundreds of miles in Black Hawk helicopters in the dead of night all over Iraq, doors open with a full moon shining down. It was a great place to forget what you saw during the day.

11. Favorite food?
Arugula salad with grilled fish.

12. Most prized possession? 
I try not to prize “possessions” too much because those can be taken from you or lost. But I have a painting that I got in the Soviet Union—yes, back in the day—that is so evocative and beautiful. And being able to meet the artist in a darkened Moscow loft who was struggling yet optimistic makes it all the more valuable to me.

13. Three people, living or deceased, whom you’d invite to the same dinner party?
I know most people say someone like Abraham Lincoln, but I’m not sure I’d know what to say to him. I am up for something a bit more out of the mold. So how about former Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre, actress/comedian/author Ali Wentworth and North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong Un—no one knows a thing about him, so I would leave it to Ali to get to the truth (about both of them).

14. Favorite aspect of your job? 
That I learn something every day.

15. Fictional character in whose shoes you’d love to spend a day?
Today, I would be happy to be Winnie the Pooh, just to be outside instead of the office.

16. What would you be doing if you weren’t working at ABC News? 
Wishing I was?

17. Educational experience that’s been most helpful to you? 
International travel. You learn so much by just being there, listening and seeing the rest of the world. It is education by osmosis.

18. What are you most looking forward to about the VP Debate at Centre College? 
Students who do not wear ties. At least I hope they don’t wear ties. Well, maybe if they come to the Debate, they should. At least the guys.

19. Finish this sentence: I was surprised when I learned that Centre College … 
will have a seat for Dead Fred at the debate!

20. Advice you’d give to a first-year college student to make success more likely?
Read for pleasure even if just two pages a night. Understand that social and emotional intelligence are important assets. Be bold, but always be kind. There is nothing that makes me more proud of my own son and daughter than the fact that despite the privilege they have enjoyed in their own lives, they are kind and thoughtful.