Elaine Quijano: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Elaine Quijano


Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana will square off tonight in the first and only vice-presidential debate. The debate will take place at Longwood University in Farmville, Va and begins at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Tuesday’s debate comes at a critical point in a highly contentious election as Donald Trump tries to recover from a tough week and Hillary Clinton looks to capitalize on her momentum following the first debate.

Pence needs to help Donald Trump rebound from last week and Kaine wants to ensure Clinton can maintain her post-debate bump.

CBS News anchor Elaine Quijano will moderate the debate. Here is more about her life and career:

1. She Is the First Asian-American Journalist to Moderate a National Debate

Quijano was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1975 and is of Filipino descent. The 42-year-old anchor will be the first Asian-American journalist to moderate a national debate. She is also the youngest moderator in 28 years, since Judy Woodruff moderated in 1988 at age 41, according to Variety.

Her mother is from Batangas and her father is from Davao City, where most of his family still lives, Quijano said in an interview with Filipinas Magazine.

In 2009 Quijano spoke at her alma mater, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about her mother’s tough upbringing:

My mom came from humble beginnings. In the Philippines, as a little girl during World War II, she lost her dad in a US airstrike against the Japanese, who had occupied a nearby village. He just didn’t come home one day. My mom was five, and as the daughter of a seamstress, and one of four young children, she wasn’t surrounded with opportunities for success. But she went to school, she grew up, and eventually graduated from college—no small feat when you stop and start your studies multiple times in order to support your family, and when your own mother asks, not with malice but with genuine confusion, “Why are you going to school? You’re just going to be a seamstress like me.” My mother was 28 years old when she finally earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting. That education allowed her to immigrate here to the United States, ultimately paving the way for my sister—an MIT graduate—and me.

2. She Is a Digital News Anchor


Quijano is the daytime anchor at CBSN, CBS News’ 24-hour livestream channel, which makes her the first anchor of a digital network to host a debate.

In addition to serving as the weekday anchor of CBSN, Quijano anchors the Sunday edition of “CBS Weekend News” and is a contributor to the weekday “Evening News with Scott Pelley” and “CBS This Morning.”

Although Quijano has never moderated a debate, her colleagues told CNNMoney she is well-suited for the task at hand.

“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.”

CBS News President David Rhodes said in a press release:

Elaine connects today’s digital audiences with this historic 2016 campaign. 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.

3. She Has an Impressive Resume

Quijano attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she majored in journalism.

After graduating college, she quickly advanced her reporting career. Quijano landed her first on-air gig in 1994 at WCIA-TV in Illinois. In 1998, she moved to Tampa, where she worked for WFTS-TV. She began working for CNN Newsource in 2000 where she covered the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. CNN promoted her to White House correspondent in 2006. Four years later, Quijano joined CBS News and has been there since 2010.

Throughout the course of her career, she has covered a wide breadth of events from the Boston Marathon bombings, to the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, and even the World Cup in Brazil.

4. Quijano Did a Report on Latinos Who Were Supporting Trump

In CBSN’s piece “Nuestro Amigo: Latinos for Trump,” Quijano explored the relationship the Latino-American community has to Republican nominee Donald Trump.

The piece highlighted Latinos who lived in cities alongside the U.S.-Mexico border and support Trump.

In a discussion of the piece on CBS This Morning, Quijano was asked how the Latino voters viewed Trump’s proposition to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“So it’s interesting they don’t necessarily think he’s going to do that,” Quijano said in response. “They say, look, he’s a negotiator. This is something he’s put out there, and it’s only a starting point for the discussion to come. What they do like is what they perceive as his support for stronger border enforcement.”

The documentary attempted to find out what Trump’s message resonated with some Latinos, since the majority views him unfavorably.

“We don’t hear from them that often, so we thought it was important,” Quijano said.

5. Quijano Has Taken a Hiatus From Twitter

Elaine Quijano


Quijano is following the example Lester Holt, who moderated the first presidential debate and has stayed off Twitter since September 1.

There is a lot of pressure on Quijano, who has never moderated a debate before and is responsible for choosing the questions for Tuesday’s debate.

Matt Lauer faced a backlash of criticism following the Commander-In-Chief Forum for failing to fact-check Trump, and throwing him softball questions. And following last week’s debate, Holt was accused of getting steamrolled.