Lehrer’s Frustration: He Only Had 90 Minutes

In a statement, debate moderator Jim Lehrer defends his 36th debate, but wanted more time. “My only real personal frustration was discovering that ninety minutes was not enough.”

Jim Bourg / Reuters

Jim Lehrer, former news anchor for PBS News, received mixed reviews last night as moderator of the first presidential debate.

While some pundits and journalists — particularly on the left — felt Lehrer let the candidates steamroll him on questions, others — Republicans particularly — felt the debate was fair and issues-focused.

Lehrer’s own reaction? In an e-mailed statement to BuzzFeed, he said the following:

“I thought the format accomplished its purpose, which was to facilitate direct, extended exchanges between the candidates about issues of substance. Part of my moderator mission was to stay out of the way of the flow and I had no problems with doing so. My only real personal frustration was discovering that ninety minutes was not enough time in that more open format to cover every issue that deserved attention,” Lehrer said.

Last night was Lehrer’s 36th time behind the moderator’s desk.

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