Tuesday night’s presidential debate is being panned across the political spectrum as a general snore. John McCain and Barack Obama plodded through 90 minutes of mostly uninteresting questions that shed little new light on the candidates or their positions. Some flak is directed at moderator Tom Brokaw, who selected the debate’s questions and was responsible for follow-ups, many of which didn’t penetrate the candidates’ defenses. The debates and a general dearth of media probing — especially into Obama, the race’s frontrunner — has syndicated columnist Brent Bozell pining for newsman Tim Russert, popular host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” who died of a heart attack this summer. Bozell laments the national political media’s relative disinterest (so far) in the roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the current financial crisis and Democrats’ efforts to protect the two from stricter congressional oversight. Bozell notes if Russert was still around he’d have hauled the key figures onto his show for grilling, with text boxes plastering their “What, me worry?” statements across the screen. The same could be said of Russert’s missed impact on this year’s crop of debates, where his trademark refusal to accept canned or non-answers might’ve made a difference.