2016 Presidential Debate Moderators Chosen

By Chris Ariens 

The Commission on Presidential Debates has selected NBC’s Lester Holt, ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper (Raddatz and Cooper will moderate in a town hall format together), and Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace as moderators for the three upcoming presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

CBS’ Elaine Quijano will moderate the vice presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. This is the first time the Commission has selected a journalist from a digital news site. Quijano, who covered the White House for CNN, is an anchor for CBSN. The first presidential debate is set for Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The VP debate is Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, VA.

“These journalists bring extensive experience to the job of moderating, and understand the importance of using expanded time periods effectively,” said Commission on Presidential Debates co-chairs Frank Fahrenkopf and Michael McCurry, in a statement. “The formats chosen for this year’s debates are designed to build on the formats introduced in 2012, which focused big blocks of time on major domestic and foreign topics. We are grateful for their willingness to moderate, and confident that the public will learn more about the candidates and the issues as a result.”

The Commission also selected C-SPAN’s Steve Scully as backup moderator for all of the debates.

In July, at the RNC, we asked Holt about the debates:

TVNewser: The commission on presidential debates is going to have to decide soon on who their debate moderators are going to be. Have they reached out to you? Is that something you’d be interested in?

Holt: No one’s reached out to me, but of course, who wouldn’t be? I moderated one of the Democratic debates with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And I always say it was one of the scariest things as I was doing it, but afterwards, it was one of those great things in your career. It’s a new muscle that you exercise and at the time you don’t know how it’s going, I could be getting beat up on Twitter right now, but it’s exhilarating.

The 2012 moderators included PBS’s Jim Lehrer who hosted the first presidential debate. ABC’s Martha Raddatz who moderated the one and only vice presidential debate; Candy Crowley, then with CNN, who hosted a town-hall style presidential debate; and CBS’s Bob Schieffer who hosted the third and final presidential debate on Oct. 22, 2012.