It was, as NPR’s Jessica Taylor put it, “the most viscous and unruly debate yet this cycle, prompting moderator John Dickerson to even interject at one point that he was ‘going to turn this car around!'”
Dickerson, who began the evening with a moment of silence for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, had a front row seat to the bruising fight that followed. Dickerson did his best to keep peace at the Peace Center.
At Mashable, Emily Cahn said Dickerson “crisply and humorously kept the debate moving–and the candidates in their places–despite anger-fueled exchanges onstage and a feisty audience.”
Dickerson, who had warned the candidates early on that they would be held to time limits, nonetheless gave them plenty of rope, suitable for hanging. As Callum Borchers writes in The Washington Post:
But, for the most part, Dickerson and his panelists were wise to recede into the background for long stretches. Watching the candidates duke it out with no need for goading, I was reminded of how hard previous moderators had to work to draw out the differences among rivals who often wanted to just agree and get along.