CBS News reportedly reworked the format of its Saturday night Democratic debate agenda to focus more on terrorism, national security and foreign policy, in the hours following the deadly terror attacks in Paris.
Network executive Steve Capus told The New York Times late Friday that the adjustments were made during debate rehearsals in Des Moines, Iowa, after news broke about the deadly attacks.
"There is no question that the emphasis changes dramatically," said Capus, the network's executive editor and the executive producer of "CBS Evening News.'
The Islamic State jihadist group has claimed responsibility for the series of coordinated attacks in and around the French capital in which 127 people were killed. Another 200 people were critically injured, including some Americans, as a result of the attacks -- suicide bombings near France's national stadium and shooting at Paris cafes and a concert hall.
The debate is scheduled for 8 p.m. local time in the first-in-the-nation balloting state. It will feature frontrunning Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Clinton has faced sharp criticism from Republicans and others for how she, as the State Department’s leader, handled the Sept. 11, 2012, terror attacks on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
Among the questions -- which Clinton will almost certainly face again during the 2016 White House campaign -- are did she pay enough attention to security concerns raised by Stevens and others before the attacks and did she attempt to cover up that the attacks were terror related.
“American leadership is put to the test,” Capus also told the newspaper. “The entire world is looking to the White House. These people are vying to take over this office. … This is exactly what the president is going to have to face.”