If Friday night’s presidential debate seemed a little messy to you, rest assured you were not alone.
Aside from the fact that no one won, there was a clear lack of organization facilitated by the poor moderation of Jim Lehrer, the 47-year-old anchor of the PBS show “News Hour.”
The debate was supposed to be centered on foreign policy. Instead, McCain and Obama spent most of their time mudslinging and less time providing clear answers on the issues. Instead of wasting time encouraging the candidates to bash one another, Lehrer should have cut each candidate off when their retorts were clearly leading to a who-is-better-than-whom argument.
The virtually silent Lehrer failed to keep the candidates on topic and instead encouraged back-and-forth chatter. On top of that, neither candidate was held to his time limit, allowing each one to talk until they were interrupted by a response from the other candidate. Lehrer allowed for a lot of interjections and responses that attacked the other’s credibility.
What a presidential debate needs is a moderator who will ask the right questions, facilitate productive responses and help assure that the candidates deliver what the American people need — answers. The purpose of the debates is to inform the public of the candidate’s stances on issues and their plan for the future. On Friday night, neither was accomplished.
The next debate is scheduled to be moderated by NBC’s special correspondent Tom Brokaw on Tuesday, Oct. 7.
We can only hope that Brokaw will do a better job.