Of course, the debate was watched by some 10 million people, the most of any debate thusfar. No doubt ABC will offer this statistic as “proof” that the questions were valid, conveniently ignoring the fact that people tuned in without quite knowing what gasbags Stephanopolous and Gibson would turn out to be.
Update: Kevin Drum says the same thing, but with more evidence:
People tuned in to the debate before they had any idea what the moderators were going to do with it. And it was almost certainly the highest rated debate of the year because (a) it was on ABC, not cable, (b) it was in prime time in all time zones, (c) it’s been nearly two months since the last one, and (d) interest in the Democratic race is at a fever pitch because it’s coming down to the wire and it’s the only game in town.