Commission on Presidential Debates Announces Moderators

September 2, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the moderators for its upcoming general election debates with Chris Wallace of Fox News presiding over the first meeting of President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

The moderators for the remaining two presidential debates and the lone vice presidential debate will be USA Today’s Susan Page, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully and NBC News’ Kristen Welker.

“We are grateful to these experienced journalists, who will help ensure that the general election presidential debates continue to serve their unique educational purpose of helping the public learn about the candidates,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., Dorothy S. Ridings and Kenneth Wollack, co-chairs of the non-partisan commission, in a written statement.

“Each individual brings great professionalism to moderating and understands that the purpose of the 2020 debate formats is to facilitate in-depth discussion of major topics,” they said.

Wallace will be in the moderator’s chair on Tuesday, Sept. 29, when the presidential contenders face off at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

The debate will be divided into six segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate.

Wallace will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other.

Wallace will then be allowed to use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today, will moderate the vice presidential debate on Wednesday, Oct. 7., from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The debate will be divided into nine segments of approximately 10 minutes each.

Page will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. She’ll then be able to use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

The second presidential debate, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, Fla., will feature a town hall format.

Steve Scully, senior executive producer and political editor at C-SPAN, will moderate as questions are posed to the candidates by citizens from the South Florida area.

The candidates will have two minutes to respond to each question and there will be an additional minute for Scully to facilitate further discussion.

The town meeting participants will be uncommitted voters selected under the supervision of Dr. Frank Newport, senior scientist, Gallup.

Kristen Welker, co-anchor of Weekend TODAY and White House correspondent for NBC News, will moderate the third debate, scheduled for Thursday Oct. 22, from Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate.

All of the debates will air 9 pm – 10:30pm Eastern time.

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