Crowley: People say, "Do you think you're going to ask a different question because you're female?" and I think, "I'm going to ask different questions because of all the things that I am." Bob Schieffer and I are different, Jim Lehrer and I are different, we come from different backgrounds, we've had different experiences, and certainly, one of the differences between them and me is that I'm female and they're male, so that's a part of it. And so, I guess I didn't embrace the history of it until women started coming -- and by the way, men as well -- I mean, I have just sons, and they were thrilled and said, "Mom, did you know you're the first woman, you know, in 20 years?" So they were excited by it. So I embraced that, kind of, after the fact. I first just embraced it as an amazing chance for a journalist.
CNN: How did you get the news?
Crowley: I was actually sitting at work. We were booking the show ("State of the Union") and I was in my office and I got a phone call from the executive director of the presidential debate commission, who said, "We were wondering if you'd be willing to moderate a debate." And I said, "Let me just think -- yes!" It was a very quick phone call, actually.
CNN: What was your reaction?
Crowley: Well, understand that they told me not to tell anyone, so that was in some ways the hardest part. I cheated -- I told my children -- but beyond that, I didn't tell anybody.
And so it was just this weird sort of "Cheshire Cat" thing going on, because I knew something that other people didn't know. But I mean inside, I was thinking, 'Whoa, this is amazing."
I mean, for a journalist, does it get better than that? Not much better that I can think of.