Gibson: Debate Moderating Is ‘Not About Showing I Can Ask a Clever Question’

Did Charlie Gibson just take a veiled shot at Tim Russert?

The ABC News anchor—whose show was the only network evening newscast to gain viewers in 2007—gave The Washington Post a sneak preview of his plan for moderating the Democratic and Republican debates Saturday night from New Hampshire: “I’m going to put a question on the table, and to the extent that I can, I’m going to disappear,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s not about showing I can ask a clever question. It’s about them.”

Mr. Russert’s performance as a presidential debate moderator for NBC has in recent months come under fire from some critics, who contend that his style is designed to generate moments of controversy that can be replayed to boost ratings, rather than to elucidate the candidates’ positions on issues.

Mr. Russert has also been attacked by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which accused her of unfairly targeting their candidate in a Democratic debate in October.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Mr. Gibson sticks to the strategy he laid out, if doing so comes at the cost of passing up a big TV moment.