NEW YORK—After conducting the first of the 2012 presidential debates earlier this week, former anchor Jim Lehrer hosted PBS NewsHour’s political analysis roundtable on Friday, an appearance that forced him to discuss the quality of his widely panned performance as moderator. “The consensus among commentators is that Jim Lehrer completely lost control of this debate, failed to make the candidates adhere to its format, and generally allowed them to spend the full hour and a half reciting talking points on any subject they wished. Your thoughts?” Lehrer asked fellow commentators Mark Shields and David Brooks, both of whom agreed with their colleague’s scathing assessment of himself. “As someone who has reported on every presidential debate since 1960 and moderated 12 of them, including Wednesday night’s horribly handled contest between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, I’m simply at a loss. It was frankly painful to watch the two debaters walk all over Mr. Lehrer, and I’m sure that, in hindsight, he wishes to God he had never signed on for the job.” Shields and Brooks spent the remaining 59 minutes of the broadcast providing a wide-range of political analysis and seldom allowing Lehrer to get a word in edgewise.
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