Bob Schieffer, anchor of “CBS Evening News” and moderator of “Face the Nation,” had some clear highs and lows as he moderated the third and final presidential debate between candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
If you skipped the debate to watch the Giants and Cardinals in Game 7, or Detroit vs. Chicago on “Monday Night Football” (we’re guessing Romney, who was born outside Detroit, and Obama, the former Illinois senator who went to school in Chicago, DVR’d the NFL match), here is a cheat sheet that will get you through tomorrow’s water cooler exchange:
LOW: Schieffer didn’t do a great job of keeping the candidates on track, or on topic. At one point, Schieffer had to say to the candidates, “Let me get back to foreign policy.” When Romney pressed that he’d like to first continue discussing education, Schieffer responded with a sheepish, “OK.”
HIGH: As Romney reiterated his love for teachers, Schieffer threw it out there: “I think we all love teachers.”
LOW: The twittersphere was buzzing over a pretty egregious Schieffer flub. Yahoo! News quoted the moderator as saying, “Obama Bin Laden.” But his slip of the tongue was actually “Obama’s bin Laden” — more confusing, but slightly less sinister sounding — while referring to the capture of the Al Qaeda leader.
HIGH: Romney at one point protested Schieffer’s move to change the subject once Obama had laid out a list of claims, prompting Schieffer to tell Romney, “With respect, sir, you laid out quite a program there,” drawing a chuckle from the GOP candidate.
LOW: Toward the end of the debate, Schieffer seemed altogether absent as Romney and Obama droned on, off-track. One tweeter wondered, “Wait, is there a moderator tonight?,” while @adamsorensen mused, “Did Schieffer leave early to beat the traffic?”
LOW: Schieffer was criticized by plenty of tweeters for his neglect of important foreign policy topics, leaving out entire countries like Mexico, which as @ChrisEHayner pointed out, is “the foreign policy issue that’s literally ATTACHED to the country.” Most disappointing was Schieffer’s failure to hold either candidate’s feet to the fire to give real answers to questions such as, “What really happened in Libya?” GQ Politics perfectly summed up the final moderator performance by tweeting, “The 2016 race for new presidential debate moderators begins now.”
HIGH: Schieffer ended the debate by quoting his mother: “Go vote. It makes you feel big and strong.” Obama tweeted the quote.