Debate moderator Jim Lehrer roundly criticized

Barack Obama can perhaps take solace in the fact that Jim Lehrer, the moderator of last night’s presidential debate, also had a BAD NIGHT:

“I’m not going to say I’ve done a poor job…”

That was Jim Lehrer’s assessment of his performance as the moderator of the first presidential debate of the 2012 election. Sadly for him, many disagreed.

It was Lehrer’s 12th time moderating, but he was largely unsuccessful in his attempts to corral the candidates. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney rolled right over him as, with increasing plaintiveness, he tried to get them to stop talking. “No, no, no,” he said to Romney at one point. Romney didn’t listen.

By the end of the debate, Obama and Romney had taken so much free time that Lehrer had to inform them that they would not get to one of the 15-minute segments he had intend  Od to moderate.

The reviews on Twitter were scathing. Conservative columnist John Podhoretz called Lehrer possibly “the worst moderator in the history of moderation.”

There’s more HERE:

The veteran PBS anchor drew caustic social media reviews for his performance on Wednesday, with critics saying he failed to keep control of the campaign’s first direct exchange between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. The candidates talked over Lehrer’s attempts to keep them to time limitations, and his open-ended questions frequently lacked sharpness.

The tough assessments crossed party lines: Republican commentator Laura Ingraham wrote on Twitter that Lehrer seemed “a bit overwhelmed.” Comic and Democratic activist Bill Maher bluntly tweeted that “Lehrer sucked.”



  1. Should Willard get into office and cuts PBS Jim Leher needs to go into the trash can with Oscar.

  2. PBS receives about 15% of it’s funding from the federal government.

    Even if all of that funding was removed they could easily make up for the shortfall from either increased fund raising (from the evil rich) or by actually selling select ad space.

    Big Bird will be fine.

  3. I thought Jim Lehrer did a fine job.

    The topic was the economy. These issues, and the very different proposed solutions, don’t lend themselves well to sound bites or even 2 minutes of discussion.

    Both candidates stayed relatively on topic and the give and take exchange of comments was excellent.

    Lehrer wanted contrasts and he got them.

    We don’t need to hear the moderator talk, we need to hear the candidates talk.

  4. Neftali

    agreed w/ expdoc. The best thing Lehrer could do was simply get out of the way, which he largely did.

    Look at the opposite. IIRC, it was Anderson Cooper in the 2008 Presidential debates that was so rude with his time keeping that he became a distraction to the candidates and to the viewers.

  5. Ted Biondo

    expdoc is right on. A real debate format is much preferable to the two minute sound bites and the one minute rebuttle of past debates. The American people get enough sound bites from the media and campaign commercials.

    This format was great because it truly showed not only the differences between the candidates, but allowed each, especially Romney, from having the president put words in his mouth with the $5T in taxes and other garbage to scare the elderly with Medicare vouchers – which turned out Obama was ignoring that a choice is available not just a voucher – and that dynamic growththrough increased jobs and lower taxes is another solution to the budget problems.

  6. Right Ted. Romney said NOTHING last night that wasn’t true. I wouldn’t get too over the moon about Mittens. The President will no doubt do better in debates 2 and 3. And, as you recall, Mondale smoked Reagan in their first debate; Kerry pretty much trounced Bush in all three debates, as did Gore in at least two out of their three. That worked out really well for those three, didn’t it?

  7. “Does a tie go to the challenger?”
    We joke about teleprompters, but one was badly needed last night.

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