St. Louis (CNSNews.com) - NBC's Tim Russert said he didn't feel snubbed when the Commission on Presidential Debates went with four other television personalities to moderate this year's debates.
"I take it as it comes," Russert told CNSNews.com as he made his way through the debate hall at Washington University. "Who's upset besides my mother?"
One liberal media watchdog group, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, has publicly complained about Russert's exclusion. An anti-CBS group called BoycottCBS.com also has suggested Russert replace the moderator of the third debate, CBS' Bob Schieffer.
"Someone like Tim Russert is thought to be rather aggressive in his questioning," Peter Hart of FAIR told CNSNews.com last week. "Whether or not you think he is in fact aggressive is a matter of opinion. But the parties agree on one thing, and that is he's going to likely be tough so better to exclude him from the list."
When Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," was asked if he posed a threat to either President Bush or Sen. John Kerry, he downplayed such talk and complimented the four other moderators.
"I think Jim [Lehrer] and Gwen [Ifill] were great and I'm sure Charlie [Gibson] will be great and [Bob] Schieffer will be great," Russert said. "It's a lot of fun."
All four moderators were panned by the Media Research Center, parent of CNSNews.com. The conservative media watchdog has said each moderator brings a liberal bias to the debate that benefits Kerry.
Russert said he would like to see a change in the way the debates are handled, but it has nothing to do with the moderators.
"I just wish they would have the two candidates and a single moderator and no rules," he said. "Just say we're going to talk about Iraq and just go, but that's the commission and not me."
See Earlier Story:
Media Watchdogs Unimpressed With Debate Moderators (Sept. 30, 2004)
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