Evan Smith: You’ve agreed to moderate the presidential debate at Hofstra University, in New York, on October 15. Why do you enjoy that sort of thing?
Bob Schieffer: Let me tell you, it’s more fun than anything you can do as a reporter. I don’t see how it gets any better. This year we’re going to have a different format. We’re going to divide the debates into eight 10-minute segments. I’ll pose the first question at the beginning of the segment and leave it to the candidates to answer. Then they will ask each other follow-up questions, and we’ll just see where it goes on that subject. If they don’t ask follow-ups, I can interject and ask the follow-ups for them. So I think we’ll really get to see a contrast.
ES: It’s a big deal, isn’t it, when you’re asked to be a moderator.
BS: I moderated one of the debates between Bush and Kerry in 2004, and I must say, I’d covered a lot of big stories in my career, but from the standpoint of intellectual challenge, that was the biggest one ever. The second part of it was, I was standing backstage getting ready to go on, and for the first time in 25 years, I actually got butterflies.
ES: I would have thought you’d seen it all.
BS: It’s funny. People always ask me, “Do you get nervous on television?” The truth is, I don’t. I’ve done it so long. It’s like professional sports: First you learn to play the game, then you learn to play in front of people, and then you don’t think about