CBS News moderators got slammed for failing to keep Tuesday night’s Democratic primary debate on track, as the event devolved into chaos.
The seven candidates on stage in Charleston, South Carolina spent much of the debate steam-rolling each other, yelling out answers and going over their 1 minute, 15 seconds time limit to answer direct questions.
Viewers were quick to pile on the moderators — Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell, Margaret Brennan of “Face the Nation” and correspondents Major Garrett and Bill Whitaker — for struggling to keep control.
“The CBS moderators are like referees at a hockey game. Kind of looking on as fists flail,” tweeted former New York congressman Steve Israel.
Others were less kind.
“These moderators are useless!” tweeted @PeggyMunson1.
Another user wrote: “Congratulations @CBS your #DemDebate2020 was arguable the worst of all time. That is largely due to your lack of moderators and uncontrolled (and unreliable) crowd.”
Author Matt Stoller wrote that “this debate makes twitter look good.”
The mayhem seemed to grate on former Vice President Joe Biden especially, and he accused the moderators of short-changing him several times throughout the debate.
“I know how you cut me off all the time but I’m not going to be quiet any more. OK?” Biden snapped at one point.
He later called out his fellow candidates for breaking the rules griping: “I guess the only way to do this is jump in and speak twice as long as you should,” Biden gripped at one point.
About halfway through the debate, King asked the candidates to keep to the time limit, prompting a “Good idea” from Biden.
“Good idea, right, Mr. Vice President? I promise Mr. Vice President, we are going to get to you today,” King said.
“You keep promising me that, but you haven’t done it yet,” he responded.
King replied: “I’ve never broken a promise.”
CBS News didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.