• With: Judy Miller, Cal Thomas, Jim Pinkerton, Alan Colmes

    PINKERTON: I think they were. And there’s a lot of conventional wisdom buzz prior to these debates, Oh, the debates don’t really matter, and that looking back at it now, it looks to me like pro-Obama propaganda because it’s really clear to me that that October 3rd debate -- there have been four, but the first one with Romney and Obama set the template for the rest of the election.

    It reminds me of other debates which were decisive -- 1960, where Kennedy was good, 1976, actually, where Carter was good, and as I mentioned earlier, 1980 with Reagan. I think 2012 will be up those with those in terms of showing just how important it is to meet the candidates on TV live in your living room unfiltered (INAUDIBLE)

    SCOTT: That’s the question. Did these debates do a better job than the media have done of giving us a picture of these two candidates?

    MILLER: Well, I think they did because the two men got a chance to interact and people got a chance to see how they reacted to each other. I mean, all of the popular cultural references aside, the malarkey, the binders full of women, all the things we love to talk about -- what is really going on here is the American people are deciding who they think they want to vote for and what the character of that person is like.

    SCOTT: So what about the moderators? What did you think about the moderators, now that it’s all said and done?

    COLMES: I think we spent too much time focusing on the moderators. What was this gaming of the debate before each debate, where conservatives in particular love to go after the media? Part of going after the media all the time is the moderators aren’t going to be fair, somebody went to somebody’s wedding how many years ago, and that means that this person...


    THOMAS: ... the number of interruptions, that kind of thing, it’s pretty clear!

    COLMES: Well, sometimes they -- journalists should interrupt and get -- get things on the record. What is a journalist supposed to do? Depending upon what the rules of the debate are, (INAUDIBLE) conservatives in particular attack almost every moderator before the debate as if to try to set what the game would be. The expectation game is normally played with candidates. They played it with the moderators.

    THOMAS: I’m glad you asked that question, Alan, because I have the answer for you!

    COLMES: That was not a question.


    THOMAS: The reason is because they’re all liberals! Because they all tend to vote for the Democrat!

    COLMES: Have you seen their voting records? You just make the assumption...

    THOMAS: No, I don’t!


    THOMAS: Look, we go back to a Connecticut insurance company survey in the 1970s.

    COLMES: That’s relevant.

    THOMAS: And every single one -- every single survey...


    THOMAS: ... have shown that most of the media people are leftists.

    COLMES: So we just assume...

    THOMAS: However, let me -- let me give a shoutout to Bob Schieffer. I’ve known him for a long time. He is -- yes, he tends to be liberal. However, I thought he was the fairest, most balanced and most effective of the four moderators.

    COLMES: Jim Lehrer came off as liberal?

    THOMAS: No, I said he was the most effective.


    PINKERTON: Alan seems to think that it was only conservatives attacking moderators. Jim Lehrer, the moderator of the first debate, got clobbered by the mainstream media and the left for being too easy on the -- on the candidates. Then the conservatives...

    COLMES: That was after the debate.

    PINKERTON: Yes, it was. Right.


    PINKERTON: And then it became -- well, it became obvious that the -- that he -- that Lehrer had let the left down, as it were, by not jumping in the way Crowley and Raddatz did in their debates. But I do agree with Cal that Schieffer was terrific. I think Dylan Byers at Politico made that point and quoted Brent Bozell, who is a conservative, who oftentimes fault with the media, who said, Listen, I can’t find anything wrong with the way Schieffer handled that debate. So I agree.

    MILLER: I think we all agree on Schieffer. But I still like the potted plant approach to moderating these debates. Let the two candidates go at it and let’s us get out of the way.

    COLMES: Well, it depends on what the rules of the debate are. Every debate had a different set of guidelines...

    MILLER: Alan...


    COLMES: ... moderator’s job is to obey the guidelines.


    THOMAS: That is a good point.

    MILLER: When Ms. Crowley’s interventions were again and again on one side, you have to wonder after a while whether or not she’s really being fair and balanced.