Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate in Texas was a showdown, no doubt, with reviewers mixed on which candidate emerged looking stronger–and who got bloodied. But many critics agreed CNN’s Wolf Blitzer took a beating in his attempts to reign in the chaos.
“By the end, he seemed to have completely ceded control of the debate,” writes Slate’s Isaac Chotiner. “Blitzer’s questions were soft, and his follow-ups indirect…it was a failure of hosting.”
Ken Tucker, writing at Yahoo, said the “CNN moderators allowed the candidates to steamroll over the rules of the debate.”
The Atlantic said Blitzer “repeatedly lost control of the debate.” And Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times said on Twitter: “Very intrigued by Wolf Blitzer’s moderating strategy of ‘do absolutely nothing at any time’.”
Others faulted Blitzer for interrupting the bloodiest of the fistfights too soon. “Every time it got really good, CNN’s anchor Wolf Blitzer shifted to the human time-outs, John Kasich and Ben Carson,” writes the National Review, which described the overall debate as “one of the best” of the election season. “Certainly the toughest, at times the nastiest, and sometimes the funniest and most fiery.”
Many were impressed, though, by Telemundo’s María Celeste Arrarás. The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple said she was a “bright spot,” who “pursued fresh and detailed lines of inquiry…smacked down Trump…and pushed Rubio and Cruz on key points.”