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Preparing to moderate presidential debate, senior CNN correspondent Candy Crowley uses TM to mitigate stress
by Global Good News staff writer
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4 October 2012
Candy Crowley, CNN's award-winning chief political correspondent and anchor of 'State of the Union with Candy Crowley', recently described how she's prepping for her role as moderator of the second major US presidential debate, to be held 16 October in New York.
A New York Times article published 2 October—'Playing Roles of Referee and, Increasingly, Target During Debates', by Jeremy W. Peters—describes different ways the moderators are preparing for the intense 90 minutes when their performance will be subject to as much public scrutiny as that of the two presidential candidates, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
The Times article delineates how the enormous pressure and rancorous tone of the US national political campaign have carried over into the series of four nationally televised debates—three presidential and one vice-presidential—all to take place in October.
'In the Twitter age,' Mr Peters writes, 'when anyone can immediately render swift and harsh judgment, the stress of hosting an event as politically charged as a presidential debate is heavier than ever.'
His survey of the moderators' preparations also tells of how some have been dealing with the intense stress they are feeling as the debates draw near.
About Ms Crowley, Mr Peters writes that, in addition to stacks of blue index cards all over her home, on which she notes potential questions for the candidates—'she also practices Transcendental Meditation, which she uses twice a day to clear her head.'
When the schedule of the presidential debates was announced in August, many press articles reporting this breaking news noted Ms Crowley's Transcendental Meditation practice.
She learned Transcendental Meditation several years ago, and as its stress-reducing effects soon became evident both to colleagues and the public, she was often quoted in news media, crediting the technique with helping her recover from deep exhaustion following the 2008 presidential campaign; it remains a key element in a continuing regimen for overall health and well-being.*
Ms Crowley has also contributed her professional skills to support initiatives of the David Lynch Foundation, hosting a number of distinguished public and private events in the last few years. Some have been benefits raising support to make Transcendental Meditation widely available to high-risk populations, helping them gain relief from the devastating effects of Post-Traumatic Stress—including combat veterans and active military, an area of deep personal interest, she has said.
The website of Operation Warrior Wellness, the wing of the David Lynch Foundation presenting its programmes for the military, features a video of one event—a national summit on 'Resilience, the Brain and Meditation' for military and government leaders, hosted by Ms Crowley last May in Washington, DC. The Summit featured keynote speakers W. Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary of the US Veterans Administration; and Dr Richard W. Schneider, RADM USCGR (Ret.), 23rd President, Norwich University—the oldest private military academy in the United States, where TM is being studied as a tool to promote resilience among cadets.
Ms Crowley is also quoted on the site, speaking about Transcendental Meditation: 'The initial research offers so much hope: reduced anxiety,
depression, hypervigilance, and insomnia, as well as reductions in substance abuse, violent behavior, and suicidal tendencies—better than many things being tried and at far less a cost.'
She is referring to results of scientific research on Transcendental Meditation, including 40-50% reduction in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans' PTS symptoms. Other relevant findings include increased resiliency; reduced cardiovascular disease and decreased medical expenditures.
Girding oneself for the arena of the US presidential debates may not be exactly parallel to preparing for combat, though at least one moderator has some basis for comparison.
Martha Raddatz, senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC News, and no stranger to theatres of violent conflict in the world, will moderate the vice-presidential debate 11 October. She was also interviewed for Jeremy Peters' New York Times article about moderators' debate prep:
'Ms Raddatz, when told of her colleagues' techniques, said: ''I haven't meditated. Maybe I should.'' '
* See related article: What's gotten into veteran CNN reporter Candy Crowley?
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