Who Is Dana Bash? In The Second GOP Debate, The CNN Veteran Is Guaranteed To Ask Some Tough Questions

CNN will host the second GOP presidential debate Wednesday night, and just like before, the moderators are reportedly planning a bevy of tough questions for the Republican contenders. Jake Tapper, host of the network's Sunday show State of the Union will be lead moderator for the debate and will be joined by Salem Radio Network host Hugh Hewitt. But we shouldn't miss the other longtime CNN correspondent who will be grilling the GOP nominees that night, Dana Bash. If you aren't a regular CNN viewer, you may be asking, "Who is Dana Bash?" The short answer is that she's the network's new chief political correspondent. But the much better answer is that she's a 20-year veteran at the network and a staple of its Capitol Hill coverage.

According to a CNN staff memo posted by the Poynter Institute earlier this summer, when executives announced Bash would be promoted to fill the spot vacated by Candy Crowley last year, they praised her long tenure with the network.

Dana started as a Library Assistant here in the DC bureau in 1993. She became an associate producer and then producer of the weekend shows Evans & Novak and Late Edition. She moved to news gathering as an assignment editor and then a Capitol Hill Producer. Leveraging the sources she developed on the Hill, Dana became a Congressional Correspondent, a White House Correspondent, and later our Chief Congressional Correspondent.

But, while Bash inherited Crowley's prime post at the network — and her place as a debate moderator — Bash did not get the plum position as State of the Union anchor. That went to Tapper, who was also named Chief Washington Correspondent.

With Bash's pedigree in congressional and presidential politics, she'll certainly be asking tough and nuanced questions Wednesday. In 2000, Bash covered the heated Bush/Gore presidential campaign and most of the controversial news that came out of the House and Senate during the Bush presidency. As a member of CNN's 2008 political team, Bash covered the historic presidential primaries and the general election campaigns, helping to seal a Peabody award for CNN. Bash has also received two Dirksen Awards from the National Press Foundation, one in 2002 and the second in 2010, for her coverage of Congressional earmarks.

According to her CNN.com profile, Bash has reported on CIA leaks, the war on terrorism, a presidential impeachment, campaign finance reform, Sept. 11, and Hurricane Katrina. So, it's unlikely she'll back down from any tough exchanges from the GOP nominees.

Still, speaking to radio host Julie Mason this week, Bash said that if she became part of the story on Wednesday night, she'd see it as a failure.

It's not about us, it's about them and the differences between them on the issues that Republican voters care about. And that's where we should keep it.