Moderator Kristen Welker, with the help of an offstage mute button, helped give Americans a substantive head-to-head debate over leadership that had been missing during the presidential campaign.
The NBC News White House correspondent, in her first time moderating a general election debate, kept tight control of the discussion between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump, possibly deterred by the mute button, resisted the interruptions that led to criticism of his performance in the first debate. Welker guided the candidates through discussions about the coronavirus, climate change, health care and race in America.
While Thursday marked Welker's first time moderating a debate between two nominees, she was among a panel of NBC News moderators who led a Democratic debate last year.
Welker earned praise from her colleagues both at NBC News and the White House Press Corps.