The Commission on Presidential Debates have announced the moderators for the three presidential debates and the vice presidential debate set to take place in October. Among them is the first female presidential debate moderator in two decades.
CNN’s Candy Crowley is set to moderate a town hall-style debate on October 16, the second scheduled debate. The last woman to host a presidential debate was ABC News’ Carole Simpson, who moderated the 1992 debate between President George H.W. Bush and candidates Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. Three teenagers from New Jersey had pressed for the Commission on Presidential Debates to choose a woman moderator for one of the presidential debates.
Moderating the third presidential debate will be CBS News’ Bob Schieffer, who moderated a 2008 presidential debate between President Obama and John McCain. Schieffer, who also moderated a 2004 debate, will lead the October 22 debate in Boca Raton. The first debate, on October 3 in Denver, will be moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS, who has moderated 11 of the past 35 presidential debates. The vice presidential debate will be moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News.
“These journalists bring extensive experience to the job of moderating, and understand the importance of using the expanded time periods to maximum benefit,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Michael D. McCurry, co-chairmen of the Commission on Presidential Debates.
The first presidential debate will focus on domestic policy. The second will be a town meeting-style debate, with undecided voters posing questions. The third will focus on foreign policy.
Alan Schroeder, professor at Northeastern and author of “Presidential Debates: 50 Years of High Risk TV,” noted that Lehrer has moderated more presidential debates than anyone.
“There’s a comfort level with him on the part of the debate commission but also the candidates, I would assume,” he said. “He’s been through this so many times.”