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Roughed up by critics, Matt Lauer jokes with Dana Carvey

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke with ‘Today’ show co-anchor Matt Lauer at the NBC Commander-In-Chief Forum held at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier Intrepid, New York on Wednesday.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, with ‘Today’ show co-anchor Matt Lauer, left, spoke at the NBC Commander-In-Chief Forum held at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier Intrepid, New York on Wednesday.

NEW YORK » After being roughed over by online critics for his performance moderating back-to-back live interviews with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Matt Lauer made a knowing reference during an interview with comic Dana Carvey today.

Carvey, on NBC’s “Today” show, was impersonating Russian leader Vladimir Putin and commending Lauer for his work on the previous evening’s national security forum. “You have a fan,” Carvey, as Putin, said.

“One,” replied Lauer, holding up his index finger.

Lauer received the most criticism for not challenging Trump on the candidate’s claim that he opposed the war in Iraq before it happened, despite a 2002 interview where he said he supported it. Clinton, who was interviewed earlier by Lauer, had referenced that Trump interview with Howard Stern.

“How can someone like (Lauer) not set the record straight on Trump’s bogus claim of being against the war in Iraq?” tweeted Glenn Kessler, fact-checking at The Washington Post.

Some online critics criticized Lauer for appearing to rush Clinton at points during the interviews and seeming to be tougher on the Democrat. The reception illustrated the pressure that will be on moderators for the three face-to-face debates between Clinton and Trump later this fall. Lauer’s NBC colleague, Lester Holt, is scheduled to moderate the first debate on Sept. 26.

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