Critics slam debate moderator

Ashley Goetz

 

Jim Lehrer, last night's presidential debate moderator, has faced some harsh criticism after a shaky performance.

The 78-year-old host of The News Hour on PBS has moderated 12 presidential debates since 1988, but according to some, he’s getting rusty.

Lehrer was criticized for not effectively controlling the debate, asking vague questions, and being too lenient with the time limitations, according to an ABC News blog

Both candidates ignored Lehrer’s cut-off attempts. At one point, Romney ignored Lehrer's request to move on to anther topic by insisting he get the last word of the segment.

Later, when Lehrer told Obama his two-minute speaking time was up, the president responded with, “No, I think I had five seconds before you interrupted me,” and went on to finish his answer.

ABC News consultant Dan Abrams was among Lehrer’s critics. He tweeted, “Regardless of who you think is winning, Jim Lehrer is losing.”

Comedian and TV host Bill Maher bluntly tweeted that “Lehrer sucked.”

Washington Post columnist Erik Wemple defended Lehrer in a blog post. He wrote that Lehrer “deserves a nod” for moderating.

“Okay, so the guy fails in a test of wills against two men who are putatively the most strong-willed people in the country,” he wrote.

The next presidential debate is on Oct 16 at Hofstra University in New York. It will be moderated by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.