Bob Schieffer: debate modarator as interviewer and ref
October 22, 2012 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Jim Lehrer and Bob Schieffer continue their trend of moderating the first and last presidential debates, as they did in 2004 and 2008. Both grew up in Texas, and got their starts in journalism there, too, both covering the JFK assassination in 1963. Following Lehrer's role as moderator in this year's presidential debate, subsequent moderators have been under significant scrutiny before and after their performances, and Schieffer, who has covered all four of the major Washington beats, is ready for his role in the political process, in the middle of partisan divide, which is deeper than any time he can recall from his 43 years in Washington.

If you'd like to review Schieffer's past performances as moderator at the presidential debates, here is the 2004 debate on C-SPAN and on Archive.org, and the transcript from the Washington Post. The 2008 debate is available as video on YouTube, and a transcript from The New York Times. You can also read these and many other past presidential debate transcripts, back to 1962, at UCSB's The American Presidency Project.

Schieffer had planned on retiring in 2008, but instead continued on, moderating the 2008 presidential election, and spent a year and a half filling in as "CBS Evening News" anchor between the exit of Dan Rather and entrance of Katie Couric. After Obama's inauguration in 2009, Schieffer would be 71, and planned on stepping down from "Face the Nation". Plans changed again, as Schieffer postponed his retirement. He still performs in the band Honky Tonk Confidential, a D.C.-based country and western group who also play civil war songs.
posted by filthy light thief (77 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
IS THIS IT? IS THIS THE BIG DEBATE THREAD FOR THIS EVENING?
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:46 PM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Let's get ready to rumble! (Sorry... I hate the WWE, but it was the first thing to come to mind.)
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 3:50 PM on October 22, 2012


Schieffer had planned on retiring in 2008, but instead continued on, moderating the 2008 presidential election, and spent a year and a half filling in as "CBS Evening News" anchor between the exit of Dan Rather and entrance of Katie Couric.

I wish he had retired. I remember being not too pleased with his performance as moderator in 2008 and I'm sure he will be just as bad this time around. Ugh. I'm ready for the old guys to step aside.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:53 PM on October 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Somebody link me the bingo card please.
posted by bq at 3:56 PM on October 22, 2012


Oh no, my worst nightmare: split debate threads.

Which one is the real one?
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:05 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think this one cannot be THE thread. The other one got here first . Feel free to discuss moderators and Schieffer but NO DEBATE! or whatever.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:07 PM on October 22, 2012


This is the debate thread for non-drinkers. Heavy drinking is already happening in the other thread.
posted by perhapses at 4:08 PM on October 22, 2012


Oh man, I am on the horns of a dilemma then. I'm not drinking now but I plan to be in about an hour and a half.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:09 PM on October 22, 2012


A few things:

1. I like the idea of a band that plays civil war songs

2. Uncertainty clouds polling, but Obama remains Electoral College favorite


3. At this point I think what I've learned is the way to defeat Romney is just to piss him off, which doesn't seem difficult. The man totally fails at keeping his cool. Fortunately that's Obama's strong point.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:11 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm so tired I'm crosseyed right now and I thought it said Tom Lehrer, not Jim, and I believed because hope springs eternal.
posted by jfuller at 4:13 PM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


*looks at beer*

Ok, see y'all in the other thread.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:13 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]



At this point I think what I've learned is the way to defeat Romney is just to piss him off, which doesn't seem difficult. The man totally fails at keeping his cool.


Maybe tonight Romney's face panel will fall off revealing the circuitry beneath, ala Westworld.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:15 PM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Damn, I've got three tabs open just for the debate: Old debate thread, this thread, and that other debate thread. As soon as new comments pop-up it is click, click, like crazy.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:16 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This thread is both 4 hours too early and 4 hours too late.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:17 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


What if I plan to drink during the baseball game and then come back to watch the recording of the debate?
posted by TwoWordReview at 4:17 PM on October 22, 2012


IT BEGINS
posted by mynameisluka at 4:29 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Getting started with my yelling, ranting, and shaking/crying early, folks.)
posted by mynameisluka at 4:30 PM on October 22, 2012


Jim Lehrer and Bob Schieffer

crankiest rap battle evar
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:32 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe tonight Romney's face panel will fall off revealing the circuitry beneath, ala Westworld.

In the drinking game that's the signal for "finish off the bottle."
posted by localroger at 4:33 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


WHERE, WHERE? WHERE IS IT BEGINNING? NOT YET, I'M NOT READY!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:37 PM on October 22, 2012


On some level, I feel like Romney's debate strategy is the same one that animates his larger political philosophy: To press forward, exploit others' decency and complain whenever he gets called on something. Just that aggressive style that requires a moderator to truly moderate him, and to not let him get off on the Gish gallop of bullshit. That same rapacious exploitation of loopholes, social or legal, seems to be Romney's stock in trade.
posted by klangklangston at 4:38 PM on October 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


What if I plan to drink during the baseball game and then come back to watch the recording of the debate?

Whether to have the EMT's standing by kind of depends on how well your baseball team is likely to do.
posted by localroger at 4:39 PM on October 22, 2012


That same rapacious exploitation of loopholes, social or legal, seems to be Romney's stock in trade.

Beautifully phrased and dead on, klangklangston.
posted by localroger at 4:47 PM on October 22, 2012


What is the internal network corporate POLITICS of deciding who will moderate? Why not Colbert or Bill Maher or, well... even... Bill O'Reilly? It would be so much more, ah, lively.
posted by sammyo at 4:49 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Political debates are hard for me to watch, mostly because when I read the pundits "weigh in" on the next day, I feel like I'm living in an alternate universe from everyone else.
posted by ovvl at 4:51 PM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sammyo, the debates used to be run by the League of Women Voters and they were indeed more unpredictable. The current format was arranged by the parties so that they could have more control over the format and questions, it's all negotiated by PR types who specify the color of the drapes and whether the candidates are standing or on stools or seated or whatever based on what each side thinks will make its guy look best.
posted by localroger at 4:52 PM on October 22, 2012


when I read the pundits "weigh in" on the next day, I feel like I'm living in an alternate universe from everyone else.

You are living in an alternate universe from the pundits. It's called "reality."
posted by localroger at 4:53 PM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, it's not you, it's them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:56 PM on October 22, 2012


Can I get this on PBS, CNN, or some other network, in Canada, or do I need to get CBS?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:04 PM on October 22, 2012


Will I get this on PBS, CNN, or some other network, in Canada?

YouTube is streaming it.
posted by localroger at 5:08 PM on October 22, 2012


BBC World News has it in Canada
posted by Flashman at 5:10 PM on October 22, 2012


Thanks, I will use that as a backup.The VGH signal is pretty bad on a 46" from 5 feet. I got it working on the main screen from the network box thingy last week, but it was a PBS feed. I think I get like about a dozen stations they never filtered out , after I canceled cable, a couple of years back.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:13 PM on October 22, 2012


I really hate to see the conversation split between two threads (and probably some folks in the last debate thread as well). And it would be a pain in the ass to keep two windows/tabs open for this. Could an executive decision be made by a mod, 'cuz, after all, THAT'S WHY WE PAY YOU THE BIG BUCKS!
posted by HuronBob at 5:14 PM on October 22, 2012


We have two new mods who both need to complete the "moderate a chatty political thread" initiation rite.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:16 PM on October 22, 2012


Actually so far I think the two threads are keeping separate; this one is about the infrastructure, the background, and so on, and the other is shaping up to be the real-time go-to once the action starts.

Or at least that's my cool plan, which could go up in a puff of blue smoke at 8 PM CDT.
posted by localroger at 5:20 PM on October 22, 2012


Team Other-Thread FTW.
posted by Anything at 5:21 PM on October 22, 2012


I like this one. It's roomier.
posted by Lord_Pall at 5:26 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I just found a CBS affiliate from Bellingham in a 4X3, standard-def, format. This will work. I guess. I will check the HDTV PBS signal when this thing starts.

Thanks for the help.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:32 PM on October 22, 2012


If you don't know who you're voting for by now, you're everything that's wrong with America.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:33 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Schieffer is little more than an empty suit that clawed its way to the top by being inoffensive. Now he’s ringmaster at a dog and pony show that’s scripted and stage managed by the handlers of the dog and the pony, and sponsored by the likes of Budweiser.

The best thing that could come of it would be to have Obama pick up Bob Schieffer and throw him at Mitt Romney. It would make great TV, and that way we would be rid of all three of them. Failing that, I’m rooting for Obama even though the fix is in and the Republicans are going to steal everything.
posted by Huplescat at 5:35 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


4X3, standard-def, format. This will work. I guess.

Seriously, you'd want to see this in HD?
posted by localroger at 5:36 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


PareidoliaticBoy: "So I just found a CBS affiliate from Bellingham in a 4X3, standard-def, format. This will work. I guess. I will check the HDTV PBS signal when this thing starts. "

Allegedly, Vancouver cable gets KCTS-TV PBS from Seattle. I can confirm that it is carrying the debate; it carried the previous two debates and 6PM shows as "Presidential Debate" in my TiVo's guide.
posted by fireoyster at 5:38 PM on October 22, 2012


Yep, that's the local PBS affiliate that I watched the last one on. I ran a speaker wire up into the tree, and made a roll-your-own, OTA, HD-antenna for use over the next few weeks. So I programmed the remote to use that as the channel-back button, fireoyster.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:49 PM on October 22, 2012


MONDAY NIGHT REHABILITATION!
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 6:01 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


MONDAY NIGHT REHABILITATION!

Beef Supreme / Not Sure 2012!
posted by Servo5678 at 6:05 PM on October 22, 2012


For those of you watching the debate live, and confused why no one's discussing it, it's being discussed here.
posted by amuseDetachment at 6:06 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was a weirdly non-aggressive answer from Romney...last week it was all "oh, you said 'act of terror?!'" and now "I think we know what happened, some kind of terror attack."
posted by sallybrown at 6:07 PM on October 22, 2012


Debating ProTip: Make your own Chamillionaire soundtrack.
THEY Debatin'...Mitt's Hatin'.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:08 PM on October 22, 2012


NO THE DEBATE IS BEING DISCUSSED HERE.

YES IT IS CAPS LOCK DAY WHY DO YOU ASK?
posted by item at 6:09 PM on October 22, 2012


IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR DRUNKEN SNARK FROM THE NYC MEFITES IT IS IN THE OTHER THREAD.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:11 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


[People have asked us why there are two debate threads. It is because people made two debate threads and they are different. Others have claimed there is the non-drinking thread (this one) and the other one. You can make your decisions. We will not be deleting this one.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:11 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


ITEM THANK YOU FOR THAT REMINDER
posted by Aizkolari at 6:11 PM on October 22, 2012


Every thread is a drinking thread as far as I'm concerned.

With regard to moderation, I hope this is the last year for both Lehrer and and Schieffer. Old guys are old.
posted by Justinian at 6:14 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mitt would never make it on MeFi, ignoring the mod like that.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:15 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait wait Mitt wants to bring gender equality to the Muslim world? Why is he so opposed to it here then? (Opens binder.)
posted by miss-lapin at 6:22 PM on October 22, 2012


What is WITH Romney's bedroom-eyes while Obama is talking?
posted by Theta States at 6:31 PM on October 22, 2012


Watching the CNN squiggle-line, men disapprove of strong statements from Obama, but women like them....
posted by Theta States at 6:35 PM on October 22, 2012


You can make your decisions.

But what if I'm undecided ? what then ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:35 PM on October 22, 2012


Teachers Unions! Obamacare!
posted by delmoi at 6:39 PM on October 22, 2012


"horses and bayonets" HA!
posted by HuronBob at 6:43 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always confuse budget sequestration with carbon sequestration, picturing Congress walled up at the bottom of the ocean.
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:44 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


"When I'm president of the United States" I THINK NOT
posted by Wordwoman at 6:48 PM on October 22, 2012


Apology Tour!

I don't know how obama manages not to roll his eyes at this guy.
posted by delmoi at 6:55 PM on October 22, 2012


Obama is slammin "mitt". Like a ballplayer punching a dusty glove...
posted by kuatto at 6:58 PM on October 22, 2012


ovvl: Political debates are hard for me to watch, mostly because when I read the pundits "weigh in" on the next day, I feel like I'm living in an alternate universe from everyone else.

I've read (and posted a comment) about a how watching commentary after a devate shifts the viewer's thoughts on the debate. It makes sense, to me with my very limited knowledge of how memories are created. When we recall something, we re-create that memory, it's not stored in some perfect state, reviewed, and left intact. So when someone tells you how a past event went, especially one based on nuances and personal interpretation, you're bound to shift based on the reality someone else creates for you.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:59 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Damn, Romney is getting destroyed.
posted by delmoi at 7:04 PM on October 22, 2012


Romney is stuttering a lot. He looks flustered.
posted by delmoi at 7:06 PM on October 22, 2012


Bob just said "Obama Bin Laden". Oops. Charitably he might have said "Obama's Bin Laden" which is a strange formulation.
posted by shortfuse at 7:11 PM on October 22, 2012


It was actually the bush administration that invested in Tesla.
posted by delmoi at 7:25 PM on October 22, 2012


CNN's undecided voters don't like campaign ads, apparently.
posted by delmoi at 7:29 PM on October 22, 2012


MSNBC is talking about how they hardly disagreed at all. Made for a pretty boring debate.
posted by delmoi at 7:46 PM on October 22, 2012


Schieffer was better than I feared but I still hope we move on next election. Need some new blood.
posted by Justinian at 7:48 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Call me crazy, but I think that Mitt Romney guy might have been telling a few fibs.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:18 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Moderator Schieffer slips up, calls bin Laden ‘Obama’
posted by homunculus at 8:51 PM on October 22, 2012


The Undisclosed Mitt Romney looks at four areas that Mitt has broken out of what was traditionally done by politicians in regards to disclosure and transparency.
A Romney victory will make it possible for future candidates to take the same path of secretiveness. Non-disclosure could become the norm.

Perhaps just as interesting, Romney has demonstrated that the press is relatively toothless — that a candidate who is willing to take the heat for a while can outlast the media. During the Republican convention in Tampa, Neil Newhouse, a Romney pollster, famously said, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.” In private, some of Newhouse’s Republican colleagues said that they thought he was making a mistake by throwing down the gauntlet to a group of reporters like that. In practice, his challenge was never taken up.
I don't think he even has to win to change future elections in terms of candidate transparency. By the simple fact his tax records have not been opened beyond the minimum 2 years, he has campaigned on vague plans with no real content, promised tax cuts that have yet to add up, a budget proposal so vague you can only guess at what might be cut (he's placed some things on the "do not cut" list, but that list has changed quite a bit over the past months), and a donor list that is more secretive than Reagan's or George W Bush's (though their disclosures were personal choices, like Romney's father's choice to provide more than 2 years of tax history).

When people complain about Obama failing to run a more transparent government, I hope they're thinking about how Romney has acted in his presidential campaign, and how that might play out if he were to win in November.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:00 PM on October 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


Politico: No debate: Bob Schieffer got it just right
Finally, the moderator isn’t the story.

The cardinal rule of debate moderation is this: it isn’t about the moderator. But in the first three debates of the 2012 presidential campaign, the moderator invariably became part of the story: Jim Lehrer lost control; Martha Raddatz took too much; and Candy Crowley stole the spotlight when she decided, on a whim, to fact-check the candidates.
Interesting view of Schieffer, as compared to the other moderators, but I think the assessment of Crowley is off-base, especially with her after-debate comment that she was trying to move the debate along.
"It didn't come to me as I'm going to fact check that. It came to me as let's get past this... To me I was really trying to move the conversation along... This is a semantic thing," Crowley told the hosts of "The View."
Also on Politico: Schieffer: 'I don't think I'll do it again'
Come 2016, Bob Schieffer, the moderator of last night's foreign policy debate, would like to see six presidential debates instead of three, and he'd like all of them to take place at a table. But he doesn't plan on moderating any of them. Last night's debate will, according to him, likely be his last.

"I don't think I'll do it again," he said. "I never say never, but we'll see what happens."

Schieffer, who spoke to POLITICO from his beach house in Sea Island, Ga., was very happy with the debate, and with his performance: "I thought this was a debate worthy of the presidency," he said. "The point was for people to get a better understanding of the candidates, and I think that happened."

Schieffer rarely spoke during last night's debate, other than to keep time and ask questions. His performance was widely praised, but even he acknowledges they drifted off-topic at times -- to the economy, education, the auto bailout. But Schieffer said it was the candidates' responsibility to determine the course of the conversation.

"This is the candidates' campaign. These are the two guys running for president. If they think something is important, you have to give them some leeway," he explained. "So if they wanted to talk about education -- and personally, I believe education is our first line of defense -- I let that run its course, and then tried to get them back on foreign policy."
I agree with Schieffer. The debate was largely polite, with neither candidate running over the other too much (until the end, when Schieffer stepped in), and both Obama and Romney got their talking points out. Sure, there could have been more useful foreign policy topics covered, but it was a good debate that contrasted the candidates (or didn't, when Mitt wanted to be Just Like Obama).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:29 AM on October 25, 2012


Politico are morons. Raddatz was the best moderator, and America would be best served by the UK model of press where the interlocutors are aware of the facts and willing to press politicians on them.
posted by klangklangston at 12:13 PM on October 25, 2012


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