Rachel Maddow will be one of the gatekeepers of the Democratic debate Thursday in New Hampshire as candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders face off for the final time before Tuesday's primary there. It's a hard-earned feat for the MSNBC host, who for weeks pushed the Democratic National Committee to let the network hold the debate.
Maddow persisted in asking candidates whether they would appear at the debate, but it was not until this past weekend that the DNC finally sanctioned the event. After the announcement, the 42-year-old broadcaster took to Twitter to signal her delight.
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 31, 2016
It's not the first time the MSNBC host has presided over a primetime event, with the two already this election season. Although not an official debate, the Democratic forum in Rock Hill, South Carolina, late last year also was moderated by Maddow. At the November forum, she weaved tough questions on policy into the conversational event, asking Clinton whether she was an extrovert or introvert.
When Maddow sits down this time around, she is scheduled to be joined by "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd to co-moderate the fifth Democratic debate. The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" has been with MSNBC since signing an exclusive contract in 2008. She has since become one of the network's most recognizable faces and earned the show some of the network's highest ratings.
“I want her this year to be recognized for her reporting and the effort that she makes every day. I want to focus on that," said MSNBC President Phil Griffin.
A former radio host, Maddow is known for her liberal views and quick wit. “By my count, that makes it the fourth victory speech of the night tonight,” said Maddow covering the Iowa caucuses Monday, referencing the speeches of Clinton, Sanders and Republicans Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley was expected to attend the debate, but he dropped out of the Democratic race Monday night after the Iowa caucus results came in. The debate is to take place at the University of New Hampshire in Durham at 9 p.m. EST.
“I mean, who on the Democratic side knows who’s going to win?” Maddow asked about the 2016 race. “That’s freaking spectacular, just in terms of suspense.”