I don't know what caused Lehrer to behave as he did, but whether he lost control or did it by design, I liked it. Ask the question and get the *#@- out of the way.
Jim Lehrer was effective in one area as the moderator of the first Presidential Debate of 2012. That is, he convinced the audience to not be a factor by remaining generally quiet. While he was not very effective in controlling the candidates, Lehrer’s style seemed to work out well in facilitating his primary goal of drawing out ideological contrasts.
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