Who is vice presidential debate moderator Elaine Quijano?

elaine quijano vp moderator

Chances are you've never heard of Elaine Quijano.

Unlike the other moderators chosen for this year's national debates, Quijano is not a household name. She is a digital news anchor -- the daytime anchor at CBSN, CBS News' 24-hour livestream channel -- and she's never moderated so much as a primary debate.

But on Tuesday night, Quijano will preside over the vice presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, introducing herself to tens of millions of Americans in the process. A 42-year-old Filipino-American, Quijano will be the first Asian-American journalist ever to moderate a national debate, and the youngest in 28 years.

Quijano has earned the invitation, according to her colleagues.

"Elaine is one of the best story-tellers and journalists I have ever worked with," Major Garrett, the CBS News chief White House correspondent, told CNNMoney.

"Elaine's CBSN work brought her to the debate commission's attention and deservedly so," he continued. "She has earned this moment in the spotlight but does not see it as moment for her -- or even CBS -- but a moment for the candidates and the country."

A Chicago native, Quijano joined CBS News in 2010 and for the last two years has served as lead weekday anchor on CBSN. She also anchors "CBS Weekend News" on Sundays and contributes across the network's platforms. Prior to that, Quijano spent ten years covering politics for CNN Newsource and CNN.

The breadth of Quijano's work is impressive: She has covered the White House, the Pentagon and the Supreme Court; reported live from Kuwait, Kabul and Islamabad; and covered major news events from the September 11 attacks to the Sandy Hook Massacre.

David Rhodes, the CBS News president, said in September that "her perspective, dedication to political reporting, and important role on CBS News's live-streaming platform make her an ideal choice to lead the only vice presidential debate this fall."

For Rhodes, Quijano's presence on the debate stage also marks a major moment for CBSN, which he launched in 2014. While the free livestream service has grown its audience, it has yet to demonstrate its staying power, and other television and digital news executives have questioned the revenue strategy.

"CBSN is David Rhodes' baby and she's the anchor, so I'm sure he's happy and if she doesn't mess up, it's good exposure for that," one former CBS News source said.

Rhodes did not respond to a request for comment about Quijano.


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