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Who is moderating the presidential debates?




When are the Trump v Biden debates – and who are the moderators?

Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace will host the first presidential debate on 29 September, in Cleveland.

Miami will be the host city for the second, a town-hall style debate on 15 October, moderated by C-SPAN’s Steve Scully.

NBC’s Kristen Welker will host the final presidential debate on 22 October in Nashville.

The sole vice-presidential debate, between Democrat Kamala Harris and Republican Mike Pence, will be in Salt Lake City, Utah on 7 October, moderated by USA Today Washington Bureau chief Susan Page.

All of the debates are scheduled to take place from 21:00-22:30ET (02:00-03:30GMT) with no commercial interruptions.

The US election will be held on 3 November.

Who is Chris Wallace?

The first debate will be divided into six segments of approximately 15 minutes each, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced.

The topics will be selected by Mr Wallace, a long-time Fox News anchor known for his memorable TV interviews with Mr Trump, and will be announced one week before the debate.

Each segment will open with a question and the candidates will get two minutes each to respond, the CPD said.

Mr Wallace, a registered Democrat, hosted the final 2016 debate between Mr Trump and Hillary Clinton and won widespread praise from commentators at the time for pressing each candidate on uncomfortable issues.

His performance was applauded by both sides of the political spectrum for his even-handed approach and for not letting either candidate digress too wildly.

He said at the time that he took moderating debates “very seriously… because this is helping millions of people decide who we’re going to elect as the next president.”

Mr Wallace has occasionally clashed with Mr Trump during his presidency, including in an interview with him last month in which he revealed he had also taken a cognitive ability test that Mr Trump touted, and that it was “not the hardest test”.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has dismissed Mr Wallace as a “Mike Wallace wannabe” – in a reference to Mr Wallace’s father, one of the original members of CBS 60 Minutes – and described him as “even worse” than the presenters of NBC and CBS Sunday morning programmes, networks that Mr Trump is highly critical of.

Who are the other moderators?

Mr Scully is the political editor of C-SPAN and also host of the call-in show Washington Journal.

He served as the backup moderator for all the presidential debates back in 2016, and told Adweek earlier this month that one of the most important lessons he had learned from covering previous campaigns was “Don’t believe the polls… remain sceptical”.

Kristen Welker is NBC’s White House correspondent, and is a co-anchor of its show Weekend Today, which she joined as an intern back in 1997.

She has described being a political reporter as “frankly remarkable”, adding that “every minute of everything that we’re covering is history-making”.

USA Today’s Susan Page has covered six White House administrations and 10 presidential elections, and written a biography of former first lady Barbara Bush.

“The debates are a crucial part of making our democracy work, and I am honoured to participate,” she said after she was named as a moderator.


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