Earlier Friday, Lehrer defended his performance as "effective."

“Based on what the goal was, I saw it as successful,” Lehrer said in an interview with Politico. “I’ve always said this and finally I had a chance to demonstrate it: The moderator should be seen little and heard even less. It is up to the candidates to ask the follow-up questions and challenge one another.”

“I don’t consider that being passive, I consider it being effective,” he continued. “It’s not my job to control the conversation. If the candidates gave me resistance, and I let them talk, to me that’s being an active moderator, not a passive moderator.”

While Lehrer's performance has drawn jeers on social media and late-night television, neither candidate has directly criticized the moderator. At the end of the debate, Obama told Lehrer he had "done a great job," while Romney applauded the moderator's "questions of substance" during a campaign stop Thursday in Virginia.