Bob Schieffer, the moderator for the last of the three presidential debates in 2012, needs to be watched carefully; he has a clear partisan agenda that favors Barack Obama that was evident even in 2008. When he moderated the last presidential debate that year, he didn’t flinch from his Democratic Party mission.
In 2008, Schieffer asked 9 questions. Look at how he slanted some of the questions and his interjections:
1. “We found out yesterday that this year's deficit will reach an astounding record high $455 billion. Some experts say it could go to $1 trillion next year. Both of you have said you want to reduce the deficit, but the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget ran the numbers on both of your proposals and they say the cost of your proposals, even with the savings you claim can be made, each will add more than $200 billion to the deficit. Aren't you both ignoring reality? Won't some of the programs you are proposing have to be trimmed, postponed, even eliminated? Give us some specifics on what you're going to cut back.”
Obama evaded the question entirely:
Obama : “We need to eliminate a whole host of programs that don't work. And I want to go through the federal budget line by line, page by page, programs that don't work, we should cut. Programs that we need, we should make them work better.”
But then Schieffer demanded McCain get specific, after McCain had barely started his answer, interrupting, “The question was, what are you going to cut?” McCain did get specific, mentioning the marketing assistance program and subsidies for ethanol.
2. An obvious example of Schieffer’s partisanship was the question he asked about whether either candidate could balance the budget in four years. When McCain stated succinctly, “I will balance our budgets and I will get them and I will...” Schieffer blurted out unbelievingly, “In four years?
Then, when McCain finished, Schieffer turned to Obama and asked, “Barack?” Not Senator Obama, but Barack. To cap it off, Obama never answered the question.
3. Schieffer, who hated Sarah Palin (we’ll come back to that later) asked Obama, “Senator Obama, your campaign has used words like "erratic," "out of touch," "lie," "angry," "losing his bearings" to describe Senator McCain.
Then he asked McCain, “Senator McCain, your commercials have included words like "disrespectful," "dangerous," "dishonorable," "he lied." Your running mate said he "palled around with terrorists." Are each of you tonight willing to sit at this table and say to each other's face what your campaigns and the people in your campaigns have said about each other?
Notice - not a word about Joe Biden, who during the campaign had vilified President Bush, saying Bush’s comments attacking Obama were "truly disgraceful," "outrageous," "disturbing," "ridiculous hypocrisy. " What had Bush said?
"Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement."
(Of course, Bush was correct, Obama now negotiates with the Taliban.)
4. Two weeks before the debate, Schieffer had sliced Sarah Palin apart on Face the Nation, saying “The Palin factor... a campaign that's turned down and dirty. Down in the polls, the McCain campaign has found a new attack dog." After the opening music, he knifed her again: “She took after Barack Obama in a style reminiscent of Spiro Agnew when he was Richard Nixon's running mate." He asked if the Republicans were going to get "nastier and nastier."
Then in the debate, Schieffer asked:
“I want to ask both of you about the people that you're going to bring into the government. And our best insight yet is who you have picked as your running mates. So I'll begin by asking both of you this question, and I'll ask you to answer first, Senator Obama. Why would the country be better off if your running mate became president rather than his running mate?”
After Obama answered Schieffer asked him: “Do you think she's qualified to be president?” Not Governor Palin. Just “she.” But when Schieffer asked McCain, it went like this: “Do you think Senator Biden is qualified?”
5. Parroting Democratic Party talking points, Schieffer turned a question about education into a question on national security:
“The U.S. spends more per capita than any other country on education. Yet, by every international measurement, in math and science competence, from kindergarten through the 12th grade, we trail most of the countries of the world. The implications of this are clearly obvious. Some even say it poses a threat to our national security.”
Schieffer’s bias is so obvious that you have to be a liberal not to see it. The question for the last 2012 debate is not whether Schieffer will bias the moderating, but how much.