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Bob Schieffer’s ‘Light Hand’ Lets Candidates ‘Go At It As Much As Possible’

Before tonight’s presidential debate, on his Fox News show, Bill O’Reilly said “If [Bob] Schieffer doesn’t ask about Libya, he has to retire tomorrow.”

Well, it was the first question Bob Schieffer asked, so the 75-year-old CBS News man doesn’t need to retire just yet. (How each candidate answered the question is another matter).

Unlike the first two presidential debates the moderator this time didn’t make news. Schieffer did what a moderator is supposed to do: ask the question and get out of the way.

During FNC’s post-debate coverage¬†Brit Hume‘s first thought went to Schieffer: “I thought Bob Schieffer did a good job in the same way Jim Lehrer did which was by keeping a light hand in letting the candidates go at it as much as possible.”

Tom Brokaw, who moderated the Town Hall in 2008, says this format — the candidates side by side at a table — is a better way to run a debate. “That’s what I like to see is the moderator sitting across the table from them within reach, both physically and in terms of tone,” said Brokaw during NBC’s coverage.

As for fairness, the time each candidate got couldn’t be much closer. According to CNN’s onscreen tally: of 83 total minutes, Pres. Obama was given :35 seconds more than Gov. Romney.

  • Related: From Twitter: Total volume during the debate: 6.5 million Tweets. Peak moment: 105,767 Tweets Per Minute – 9:45pmET – Obama: “We also have fewer horses and bayonets”
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