Martha Raddatz: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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(ABC/ Martin H. Simon)

Martha Raddatz is ABC News’ Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and George Stephanopoulos’ frequent fill-in on This Week. She will also co-moderate the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

This isn’t the first time the 65-year-old Raddatz has moderated a debate. She also moderated the 2012 vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. Raddatz also moderated one of the Republican primary debates.

Here’s a look at Raddatz’s life and career.

1. President Barack Obama Attended Raddatz’s Second Wedding, Which Gave ABC a Headache in 2012

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(ABC/ Ida Mae Astute)

Raddatz found herself at the center of controversy after it was announced that she would host the 2012 vice presidential debate. In October 2012, the Daily Caller reported that Raddatz had invited Barack Obama to her 1991 marriage to Julius Genachowski, her second husband. Genachowski and Obama were Harvard Law School classmates and the president later named him the Federal Communications Commission head.

Later, ABC News sent a statement to Politico, saying that it was “absurd” to think that Raddatz wouldn’t be an objective moderator. ABC’s full statement read:

Martha Raddatz is known for her tough, fair reporting, which is why it was no surprise to her colleagues inside and outside ABC News that she was chosen by the Commission on Presidential Debates for this assignment. Barack Obama was a law school classmate of Raddatz’s ex-husband Julius Genachowski at Harvard. At the time Barack Obama was a student and president of the Law Review. He attended their wedding over two decades ago along with nearly the entire Law Review, many of whom went on to successful careers including some in the Bush administration. Raddatz and Mr. Genachowski divorced in 1997 and both are now remarried.

Raddatz has been married three times. She was first married to Ben Bradlee Jr., then Genachowski. Since 1997, she has been married to NPR journalist Tom Gjelten. She has two children, Greta Bradlee and Jake Genachowksi.

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2. Raddatz Broke the Story of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Death in 2006

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(ABC/ Ida Mae Astute)

Raddatz’s ABC News bio mentions the biggest scoop of her career. On June 8, 2006, she became the first correspondent to report that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed. ABC News reported al-Zarqawi’s death at 2:38 a.m.

In an interview with The Associated Press about her scoop, Raddatz said that she was on vacation at the time, working on her book about the Iraq War. She received the tip of al-Zarqawi’s death on the phone.

“It’s a good thing these things are exhilarating because you need to be exhilarated when you haven’t slept all night,” Raddatz told the AP.

Raddatz has been to Iraq 21 tiems and was on the last convoy leaving Iraq. She was even able to fly in an F15 fighter jet to cover a combat mission in Afghanistan.

“Some reporters just punch the ticket to say they have gone there,” Lt. Gen. F. John Campbell told the New York Times in a 2011 profile of Raddatz. “She goes again and again and always follows up on the human dimension. That is why we work hard when she is there to take her around with us.”

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Presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz has two children with prominent men, including the son of famed Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. President Obama attended one of her weddings.

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3. When Raddatz Asked Dick Cheney About the Lack of Popularity in the Iraq War Among the American People, Cheney Asked, ‘So?’

In 2008, Raddatz famously asked Vice President Dick Cheney about the growing negative opinion of the Iraq War among Americans. “So?” Cheney replied.

“You don’t care what the American people think?” Raddatz asked.

“You can’t be blown off course by polls,” Cheney replied. “This president is very courageous and determined to go the course. There has been a huge fundamental change and transformation for the better. That’s a huge accomplishment.”

A few days later, Raddatz interviewed Cheney again and asked him if he understood how the “So?” comment was perceived. Cheney replied:

Well you didn’t really ask me a question Martha, as I recall, but what it had to do with is polls and the point I wanted to make and I will make again is the President of the United states under these circumstances dealing with these kinds of issues can’t make decisions based on public opinion polls. He shouldn’t. George Bush believes very deeply and I absolutely and I think correctly that he has to do what he thinks is right for the country. That he cannot make judgments based upon what the polls say.

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4. Raddatz Has Been at ABC Since 1999, After Stints at NPR & WCVB-TV in Boston

According to a 2007 Washington Post profile, Raddatz attended the University of Utah, but left school before graduating when she got a job at a local station there. Eventually, she found her way to Boston, where she worked as chief correspondent for ABC’s affiliate WCVB-TV.

In 1993, she left WCVB to join National Public Radio, where she remained until 1998. There, she covered the war in Bosnia and traveled throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the former Soviet Union and the Philippines. She also covered presidential elections there.

In 1999, she arrived at ABC News and has been there ever since. In 2004, she became Senior National Security Correspondent and was the network’s White House correspondent during President George W. Bush’s second term.

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5. Raddatz’s ‘Most Dangerous’ Adventure Happened in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Where She was on a Homemade Raft

In an April 2016 interview with The Wrap, Raddatz revealed her personal “most dangerous” adventure story. It happened in Jalalabad, Afghanistan and involved her traveling on a homemade raft made of wooden boards and a tube. Her guide was an 8-year-old boy.

“We went up to Jalalabad and it wasn’t exactly calm. We walked around where Osama bin Laden once lived and the only way to get there was crossing this river,” she recalled.

Raddatz told The Wrap that she often looks back on her stories from 10 years ago.

“It is where I have devoted such a huge amount of my life, my career, and it is not, to me, just a story, it is really part of what I care about,” Raddatz told the site. “I’m not an adrenaline junkie but I need to cover those things that matter.”

Raddatz recounted her experiences in Iraq in the 2007 book The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family, which focused on Sadr City.

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  1. Martha
    Why are you not stopping Trump when he interrupts and when he runs so seriously over on his time? You and Anderson need to be stronger in this and in controlling your audience.