“Whatever his biases, and he has biases, Bob Schieffer didn’t show them tonight,” Brent Bozell, the president of the right-wing watchdog group Media Research Center, said in a statement. “Unlike Candy Crowley and Martha Raddatz, Schieffer managed to moderate this debate without revealing his own positions. Well done.”

“Bob Schieffer did a good job in the same way Jim Lehrer did: by keeping a light hand, and just letting the candidates go at it,” said Brit Hume of Fox News.

Schieffer certainly comes from the Lehrer school — indeed, the two men are close friends, have lived almost parallel lives, and are both known for being trustworthy if non-confrontational interviewers. But the two men gave different performances, with different effects. Lehrer was passive, his debate relatively uncontrolled, and the candidates had no problem talking over him and going over time — to the point that they only addressed five of the six sections, or “pods.” Schieffer got to all six of his topics, and gave the candidates near-equal speaking time. When he told them it was time to move on, they moved on. Gov. Romney pleaded once for additional time, but to no avail.