Moderator Jim Lehrer addresses the audience before the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jim Lehrer says he accomplished precisely what he wanted while moderating the first presidential debate: He got Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to talk to one another.
The former PBS anchor took heavy flak on social media for his light hand during Wednesday's debate. He asked general, open-ended questions and let the candidates go at it.
Lehrer said in an interview that it was a conscious effort to encourage a different kind of debate, one he said Monday will be looked back upon as a watershed. He said his only regret was not getting to more subjects, but he didn't want to do that at the price of ending good discussions.