The Washington Post has an interview with Jim Lehrer about the harsh criticism he received as moderator of the first presidential debate.
Lehrer said “it was frustrating” to have Mitt Romney and President Obama talk over him and at times break way from the debate format. But he said at a point, he let it go.
“I kept reminding myself: ‘Hey, wait a minute. Waaait a minute. This isn’t about rules. This is about the reality of the exchange of the two candidates,’” Lehrer said. “So I just backed off. . . . I had no problem doing that. Yes, there were times when I pushed them, and sometimes they ran over and ignored me and all that sort of stuff. So what? I mean, it isn’t about my power, my control or whatever. It was about what the candidates were doing, what they were talking about and what impression they were leaving with the voters. That’s what this is about. It’s not about how I felt about things.”
And as for any advice has for the other three moderators who will have their go with both candidates later this month…
“No! I don’t have any specific advice,” he said. “The importance of these debates has been demonstrated. The [forthcoming] debates are going to be even more important because this one drew so much attention.”