Jeffrey Schneider, Vice President of ABC News told HuffPost that the audience wasn't heckling the hosts for their poor questions, but rather, "The audience in the debate auditorium reacted that we were going to a final commercial."
Reflecting what seemed to be the main consensus of the night - that ABC botched this debate, big time - Charlie Gibson tells the crowd there will be one more, superfluous commercial break of the night and is subsequently jeered.
"OH..." he declares, hands raised in defense. "The crowd is turning on me, the crowd is turning on me."
Off camera, observers let out their frustrations. Watch it:
Visitors to ABC's site weren't much kinder. Here's a sampling on page 1:
...This is AWFUL. Thank goodness for Jon Stewart and Comedy Central. He does a better job of interviewing and asking relevant questions of his guests in 5 minutes than these 2 yahoos have in more than an hour. ABC should be ashamed. George should be ashamed. Charlie should be ashamed. This isn't a debate. This is a hit job.
...Asinine questions - abysmal debate. Fire these silly moderators NOW. They insult the intelligence of the American people.
...I haven't watched ABC "news" in a few years. I see I haven't been missing much! MORE THAN half the debate turned over to Bittergate, Rev Wright, the Weathermen, Tuzla, FLAG LAPEL PINS? Most of the televised debates I've seen this campaign season have been lame, but this one takes the prize. Either you guys are morons or you think that we are. Either way, I'm glad to have seen the last of you. Really, really bad.No winners in this debate, but a definite loser: ABC "NEWS"
...This is the WORST debate I have ever watched. Never in my life have I been more disenchanted with the news media as a whole, especially a news organization such as ABC that I believed to have some sense of purpose to bring substantive information and perspective to the American people. Americans are tired of the snipping between the candidates and the lack of discussion about what each candidate will do to help the country. ABC News should be ashamed for presenting such a failure of a debate.
...Are you kidding me? "We don't have much time left. Let's have a MINUTE to talk about gas?" Charlie and George, you need a crash course on the distinction between "issues" and an "agendas." Hint: The candidates have the former; you have the latter.
...ABC News . . you should be ashamed of this debate. Where did you get these questions?? Where are the ISSUES. We have heard enough about Rev Wright and what Hillary did or didn't do in Bosnia. Let's hear about issues that matter such as the cost of Health Care, the war in Iraq, the Energy Crisi, the Crisis in Our Schools, and THE ECONOMY, STUPID!!
...Geoirge and Charlie= narcissistic elite "journalists" trying to score a rating point, but asking questions that would yield a "F" in middle school journalism. This debate may be used for years in journalism classes, on how to not run a debate. Disney-who owns ABC- get better cartoon characters to run a debate. Elmer Fudd would do much better.
...Has ABC News noticed that your so called "debate" has been universally panned? Charles Gibson is a pandering person more fit for the National Enquirer than a responsible news program. Stephanopoulis is barely better. I am so disappointed but not surprised.