During his special post-debate Hardball, Chris Matthews's panelists -- with the exception of Republican Michael Steele -- praised moderator Bob Schieffer’s ability to get Romney “to be quiet.” Howard Fineman trumpted: "Let's also give a shout out to Bob Schieffer, who finally in the third debate, got Romney to be quiet."
Matthews also liked the format of Monday's debate because it denied Romney from exhibiting "flagrant disrespect" towards President Obama: "I think the fact they were sitting at a table together made it harder for Romney to engage in that flagrant disrespect he showed the second debate."
From MSNBC's October 22 post debate midnight EDT hour coverage:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I want to make one point. I think the fact they were sitting at a table together made it harder for Romney to engage in that flagrant disrespect he showed the second debate.
JOY REID: Exactly
MATTHEWS: Hold on. You'll get your turn. [To Michael Steele]
HOWARD FINEMAN: He actually had the opposite – he had actually had the opposite – Romney – actually had the opposite strategy this time, which was, for the most part, to agree with the president on virtually everything. He did that as a way to minimize-
MATTHEWS: It's called clinching.
FINEMAN: It’s clinching. It's like in boxing. It’s the fourteenth round. He's draped himself all over the president.
STEELE: But, more importantly gentlemen and lady–
FINEMAN: It did not show any kind of definition of his own vision.
STEELE: But, more importantly –
FINEMAN: What was the Romney Doctrine? What was the Romney Doctrine?
REID: Well, Michael Steele talked about finer points. Let me put one final point – from a visual standpoint. The sweating was distracting. Like he was really covered in sweat – Romney was. But I think – he came in with a strategy of getting into Barack Obama’s pocket and tucking himself in there the whole night. He didn't throw a punch. At one point he looked to be almost pleading with Bob Schieffer to get more time to respond to a point the president made. I didn't see a single shot he got in that wasn't strongly and sternly rebutted. So, I don't think you meet the commander-in-chief test just by sitting in close proximity to the commander-in-chief
FINEMAN: Well, can I also say that–
STEELE: We're not watching the same debate.
FINEMAN: Ok, let's also give a shout out to Bob Schieffer, who finally–
FINEMAN: – in the third debate, got Romney to be quiet–
MATTHEWS: Stop that pushing
FINEMAN: –to stop it.