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PBS' Jim Lehrer took some heat for his moderating techniques during last week's 2012 Presidential Debate. Perhaps ABC News' Martha Raddatz will do better at keeping things on track during tonight's Vice Presidential Debate. With that debate set to take place tonight and the next Presidential debate set to take place next week, we got to thinking about some TV characters who might make good moderators.
Lehrer may have been a bit too polite to handle Mitt Romney's aggressive debating strategy last week. We'll have to wait and see how Raddatz does when Joe Biden and Paul Ryan face off tonight. In the meantime, here are some TV characters we think would dominate as moderators at a debate. Some are likely to be more affective than others, and some would just be there for the entertainment value.
Community - Garrett
Now that Greendale saved Garrett, yes that is 'Saved Garrett,' we should take advantage of his skills. The more than awkward student handled himself well as the moderator for the Model U.N. with his high-pitched squeals commanding the attention of all heads of state during the community college event. Ding! CRISIS ALERT!.
Downton Abbey - The Dowager Countess of Grantham
This woman is formidable enough that all she has to do is look down her nose at the candidate and they'd be stumbling over their words attempting to backpedal on their stretched truths and flat-out lies. We're actually not sure it's physically possible to lie to her - you would be turned to dust by a haughty stare of disbelief. The confessions alone would be worth tuning in for.
Breaking Bad - Hector Salamanca
He'd be coming to is from beyond the grave, but what a guest appearance it would be to have Hector moderating. What he lacks in words, he makes up for with intimidation. Understandably, Hector would likely go with the rarely attempted aggressively wordless approach in keeping the debaters in line, with a moderating technique that mainly involved a series of clipped bell dings and some angry glares to keep both men on topic and under time.
Parks and Recreation - Leslie Knope
Moderating the debate would probably be the greatest moment of Leslie Knope's life, a spot so bright, it might even deserve its own perm. Her overly optimistic, overly chipper attitude would probably put the candidates at ease; however, she wouldn't be scared to stick to her guns and ask about issues she feels people would care about.
Arrested Development - Lucille 'Gangy' Bluth
The matriarch of the family who lost everything might be the first moderator to perform with a drink always in hand but she would have no trouble speaking her mind and certainly wouldn't coddle the candidates (well, unless one was Buster). And if push comes to shove, you know she can always pull out the wink or the chicken dance. "A Coodle-Doodle-Doo A Coodle-Doodle-Doo!"
Curb Your Enthusiasm - Larry David
LD would probably be the first moderator to argue more with the candidates than they do with each other but he'd still do a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good job calling them out on any perceived lies. Perceived is key because even if he only suspects that the debater is stretching the truth, they'll have to endure (and pass) his personal lie detector, one of his signature staredowns, in order to move on to the next question.
Game of Throns - Tyrion Lanister
For a small guy, he's got a commanding presence, and the opportunity to have powerful men at his mercy would suit him perfectly. He would set the candidates against each other with clever remarks and carefully dug up information the public isn't aware of, and then just sit back and watch the sparks fly.
Glee - Sue Sylvester
She's honest, sarcastic and she has no shortage of nasty comebacks. She also has a bullhorn, which might come in handy. She wouldn't be the nicest moderator and personal bias would likely be an issue in terms of fairness, but she'd get the job done.
Mad Men - Don Draper
Mad Men's lead is all about the sell, but he's also the kind of man some people hope to impress. Don Draper might start the debate with a brief but persuasive speech that left both candidates feeling the uncontrollable urge to impress him. Afterwards, all Draper would have to do to keep things on track was smoke a cigarette and seem bored whenever they go over time or run off topic.
True Blood - Russell Edgington
Sure, Russell Edgington may have met the true death, but True Blood's brought deader people back to life before. Edgington's debate would probably begin with an uncomfortable joke, move into vampire issues, and end in a nice meal. Romney looks a little better fed, so we're guessing he'd go first of the Presidential candidates. Besides, Obama seems like the type to keep a stake or two on hand. There's a sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in there somewhere.
The Middle - Sue Heck
As a middle child, Sue's conditioned to knowing how to get people's attention, which would come in handy in an event like this. She's also extremely enthusiastic, optimistic and friendly. That kind of attitude could bring a lighter tone to the debate. She might have issues sticking with topics outside the interests of the average teen girl, but she'd be really happy to be there.
Person of Interest - John Reese
If you need the type of guy who knows how to quiet a room (or a candidate) with a steely glance, John Reese is your man. His military fighting tactics might not come in handy in a debate situation, but his interrogating capabilities could definitely get some serious information out of both Romney and Obama, and we don't think he'd even have to use a threat.
How I Met Your Mother - Barney Stinson
Barney would be in his element between two perfectly suited-up candidates. Since he already knows he's far more awesome than either one of them, he wouldn't be nervous, and he lacks any sort of filter that would prevent him from putting candidates on the spot. And if all else failed, he'd settle the matter with laser tag.
Once Upon a Time - Mr. Gold
Since Mr. Gold would probably have made deals with both of the candidates prior to the debate and surely come out on top no matter who won the debate, he'd be pretty objective as a moderator. Of course both candidates would wind up saying exactly what he wanted them to say. And with all the fairy tales being told by both candidates, a fairy tale character seems to fit the job perfectly.
The Newsroom - Will McAvoy
Will McAvoy would probably be the most prepared person capable of moderating the debate. In The Newsroom, the man spent weeks working with his staff to show off his moderator skills with the Republican primary. Though his team did not earn the primary contract, there is no doubt his presidential debate would ask some hard questions and would be unrelenting. We would be interested to see if the candidates could keep up.
Futurama - Morbo
Silence! One needs to look no further than 1000 years in the future to find a qualified and assertive moderator. Morbo's credentials shout for themselves but the alien Newsman is not only experienced, with a few Presidential Debates under his belt, his utter disdain for us puny humans should also keep the bullshit from flying too freely. Keep your facts straight or Morbo will destroy you!