Our View: Debates have moderators for a reason

DKS Editors

Summary: Presidential candidates should respect the moderators who run debates.

Jim Lehrer, anchor of “PBS NewsHour” and moderator of Wednesday night’s presidential debate, outlined the debate structure simply: six 15-minute segments with two-minute answers to the first question, then open discussion for the remainder of that time, ending with two-minute closing statements.

Despite the plan being laid out in the beginning of the debate, neither candidate followed it.

It might have helped if the candidates actually answered the questions they were asked.

In segment one, each candidate was asked what he would do to create jobs.

Instead, Obama used the time to say happy anniversary to his wife, make a jab at Romney and encourage “economic patriotism.” The closest the president got to answering the question was when he mentioned using some of the money saved from ending wars to possibly help small business owners.

Obama wasn’t the only one to talk around a subject.

When Romney was asked if he supported a voucher system for Medicare, rather than admitting that he supports a voucher system, he said he supported competition.

At several points throughout the debate, each candidate talked over Lehrer. It seems rather rude that neither candidate respected the moderator enough to let him speak when he needed to.

The debate turned more into a back-and-forth verbal brawl between Obama and Romney rather than a structured debate.

Despite Lehrer repeatedly trying to move the debate on to the second segment, each candidate wanted the final word, which led to them going way over the time limits.

The public might benefit from the debate more if both candidates respected the organization of the moderator. Lehrer, as a seasoned journalist, formed questions and topics for the debate for the good of the public. It’s sad to see some of his effort was wasted because two grown men couldn’t follow rules.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.