Last night’s Democratic debate on CNN differed from previous debates in that the candidates were encouraged to engage (read: fight) each other. Moderator Wolf Blitzer allowed arguing and response, which made it one the most combative debates this election cycle.
TVDecoder’s Brian Stelter writes about how Blitzer’s style made for a memorable debate. “The posture of the debate moderator can make the difference between a forgettable evening and a feisty one,” he wrote. “Viewers…saw the latter, partly because the moderator Wolf Blitzer was exceedingly lenient with the format.”
Salon.com’s Walter Shapiro thought the rules led to a debate that was, “as ugly as you could get. For those who crave the blood sport aspects of politics, it was a night to remember,” he wrote. “It was about as nasty a debate as we have seen in this presidential cycle — and Mitt Romney was not even in the state.”
Mike Littwin writes in the Rocky Mountain News that the format only served to help CNN. “We do know that if there was any winner, it was CNN. This was you-can’t-turn-away TV,” he wrote.