Tom Brokaw was determined last night that he wasn't going to put up with any crap from presidential candidates or their running mates, who had their way with previous debate moderators Jim Lehrer and Gwen Ifill. So every time John McCain or Barack Obama broke one of the debate rules, Brokaw delivered a verbal slap. The NBC News commentator got increasingly frustrated with infractions as the night wore on, but both candidates seemed to be on their best behavior yet, even when Brokaw rather oddly insisted they yield a heated moment to a question from the entire internet.
McCain and Obama had their revenge in the end, showing Brokaw to be useless without his teleprompter. That minor embarrassment aside, CBS News' Bob Schieffer should impose similar discipline at the final debate next Wednesday. That would be an excellent way to get the White House press corps off on the right, confrontational note with the future subject of its coverage.
(Click the video at top to watch all the fireworks.)