An impartial observer notes the appearance of conflict between Gwen Ifill's coming book, which includes the Obama story, and moderating a debate that includes his running mate. Item notes, in addition to expressing confidence in Ifill's fairness, that there were no similar howls about Bob Schieffer's moderation of a 2004 debate featuring his Texas pal George Bush. I think the Republicans have mewled sufficiently to work the ref -- a la a good Nolan Richardson rant -- while still retaining an excuse should things go badly for Palin.
Meaningless local angle: I was the guest moderator of an Arkansas Week program in 1992 in which Gwen Ifill participated as a panelist. She said it was her first appearance on a television talk show and she was about as nervous as I was. She was covering the Clinton campaign for the NY Times. She's a nice person and seems to have done OK on TV since.