Gwen Ifill is an American journalist, television newscaster and author. She is the moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and co-anchor and co-managing editor, with Judy Woodruff, of PBS NewsHour, both of which air on PBS. She is a political analyst, and moderated the 2004 and 2008 Vice Presidential debates. She is the author of the book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.
On October 5, 2004, Ifill moderated the vice-presidential debate between Republican Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic candidate John Edwards. Howard Kurtz described the consensus that Ifill “acquitted herself well” as moderator. Ifill also moderated the October 2, 2008, vice-presidential debate between Democratic Senator Joe Biden and Republican Governor Sarah Palin at Washington University in St. Louis. The debate’s format offered Ifill freedom to cover domestic or international issues.
To critics, Ifill responded, “I’ve got a pretty long track record covering politics and news, so I’m not particularly worried that one-day blog chatter is going to destroy my reputation. The proof is in the pudding. They can watch the debate tomorrow night and make their own decisions about whether or not I’ve done my job.”
After the debate, Ifill received praise for her performance. The Boston Globe reported that she “is receiving high marks for equal treatment of the candidates.”
Ifill’s moderation of the debates won her pop-culture recognition when the debates were parodied on Saturday Night Live with host and musical guest Queen Latifah portraying Ifill.