Behind the scenes of the VP debate with moderator Martha Raddatz

Jake Tapper, Richard Coolidge, Devin Dwyer & Sherisse Pham
Power Players

Political Punch

State troopers escort moderators of vice presidential debates -- who knew? That was just one of the moments ABC's Martha Raddatz experienced as moderator of Thursday night's vice presidential debate.

"I am nervous," said Raddatz, just hours before the debate. "Going through my mind right now is everything that I'm trying to cram into my mind, and that's not all that easy when you have about an hour and a half's worth of stuff and things are happening all the time."

Psychologically some people work out before a big event, others rest all day, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney goes to the movies sometimes. Raddatz kept it simple -- she imported her family, and brought along a lucky charm -- a First Cavalry Division coin given to her by someone in Afghanistan.

The best advice Raddatz received before the debate came from her mom.

"Be yourself," she recalls her mom saying. "I have to be me and I'll do the best I can."

Many colleagues were rooting for the first time moderator, especially fellow female journalists.

"Look she's my friend, she is great, and there is a very big women's thing going on here," said NBC's Andrea Mitchell.

Before the bout, Raddatz walked out on stage to warn the audience about cell phones by sharing a personal story.

"I was once in a White House briefing, and my phone went off. And my son -- who is here somewhere -- had put in Chamillionaire's "Ridin' Dirty,"" she said. "And I have never had my cell phone go off anywhere ever again."

Rapper Chamillionaire tweeted, "Can't lie. That just made my night. Appreciate it. @martharaddatz Keep it gangsta."

Minutes into the debate, Raddatz' moderating prompted an explosion of effusive praise on the internet, which continued after it ended. Though some conservatives were not as enthusiastic.

But for colleagues at ABC there was only pride, and for Raddatz herself relief that it was all over.

For more behind-the-scenes moments and a look at that 2007 White House briefing when Chamillionaire's "Ridin' Dirty" filled the air, check out this week's Political Punch.