Among Fox News anchors, Megyn Kelly was thought to be the strongest candidate to moderate a general election debate. Her tough questioning of Donald Trump during the first primary debate in August, 2015 led to months of Trump headlines (some of which were used in a campaign ad by his opponent) while their May sit-down seemed to patch things up.
But instead, Chris Wallace becomes the first Fox News anchor to moderate a general election debate. Wallace will moderate the final presidential debate on Oct. 19 at UNLV.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity,” Wallace said on Fox News this morning. “Personally, I’m excited. I’m also excited because I will be the first FOX reporter to ever moderate a presidential debate so I think that’s quite a statement for our news organization.” Fox News went on the air just a few weeks before the 1996 election. Its reporters and anchors have been kept out of the general election debate moderating pool for the last 4 election cycles. Wallace joined Fox News in 2003 after spending 14 years (1989-2003) at ABC News and the 14 years (1975-1989) at NBC News.
Wallace says the Commission on Presidential Debates “knew I was interested.” But he didn’t push the issue. “You can’t lobby for it. You can’t do anything. They end up deciding it. There’s a blue ribbon commission that the co-chairs of the commission are Frank J. Fahrenkopf, who is a former Republican National Committee chair, and Mike McCurry, former press secretary for Bill Clinton, and yesterday they called me up and they gave me the formal invitation, ‘Would you accept?’ and I said I would be honored and proud to accept.”