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master debaters

For the Last Time, Jim Lehrer Is Totally Fine With His Debate Performance

Debate moderator Jim Lehrer speaks prior to the Presidential Debate at the University of Denver on October 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The first of four debates for the 2012 Election, three Presidential and one Vice Presidential, is moderated by PBS's Jim Lehrer and focuses on domestic issues:  the economy, health care, and the role of government.

A day after moderating the first presidential debate, Jim Lehrer declared in a statement that he wasn't phased by the frequently nasty reviews of his performance. Then the following day, he told Politico that he "saw it as successful,” and wasn't losing sleep over the criticism. On Monday, Lehrer participated in one more interview with the Associated Press, just to make it perfectly clear that he's barely thinking about the backlash. "I may be seeing something that's not there, but I can't imagine emerging from this experience — I'm talking about myself — with any permanent scars," said Lehrer. "I'm very upbeat about it, and I don't have any second thoughts."

Lehrer explains that he would have made more of an effort to cut the candidates off had they been talking about "tiddlywinks or baseball," but "they were talking about the things that really matter." As for his critics, he's mostly just confused. "I was thinking, 'Weren't you paying attention to what was happening before your very eyes?'" he said. At first, sure — then everyone got distracted by Tweeting about #PoorJim and Big Bird.

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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images