The Washington Post

Jim Lehrer changes his mind, agrees to moderate the first presidential debate

Jim Lehrer (Nikki Kahn/THE WASHINGTON POST)

ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz will moderate the VPOTUS debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan in Kentucky, on Oct. 11.

CNN’s Candy Crowley will moderate the third debate, on Oct. 16 in Long Island. Sadly, a female journalist getting to moderate a POTUS debate constitutes actual “news”; Crowley will be the first female journalist to moderate a presidential debate since ABC’s Carole Simpson wrangled President George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot in 1992. Which means some citizens of voting age will be watching a woman moderate a presidential debate for the first time in their lives. Sigh.

CBS News, meanwhile, boasted its Bob Schieffer is the only broadcast news anchor asked to moderate this time around – he’ll wrap up the debates on Oct. 22, when he moderates the third presidential showdown, in Florida.

“I believe an invitation from the Commission on Presidential Debates is similar to a draft notice — a civic responsibility,” Lehrer, former anchor and current executive editor of PBS’s flagship newscast “PBS HewsHour” said Monday of his flip-flop.

Even so, he said, it was a “difficult decision” and that it was the “new and expanded format — 6 segments of 15 minutes each — that finally tipped the scales” for him.

Each debate will air 9-10:30 p.m. ET.


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