Who will be the presidential debate moderators

Controlling the candidates are the key for the moderators

WASHINGTON – With the first of three proposed presidential debates set September 26th between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton we should soon know who the moderators will be.  Debate one is likely to set record television ratings and the stakes could not be higher, either for the candidates or the moderator.

Both the Trump camp and the Clinton campaign will be given “consideration,” but not veto power by the non – partisan Commission on Presidential Debates, who has been overseeing these events since 1988.

Don’t look for the commission to to allow the debates to be the free for all’s that we saw in the Republican and Democratic primaries. That is why the debate moderators, will likely be seasoned veteran’s, non-flashy who cannot be intimidated and who can control the candidates.

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If I were handicapping who would be the debate moderators, John Dickerson, CBS, thought of as being fair and a very thoughtful interviewer.  Lester Holt of NBC has to be on the short list, calm, strong presence and well respected. Two debate vets of the presidential debate game PBS anchor Gwen Ifill and ABC reporter/host Martha Raddatz are names likely to come up.

All networks want their key people as moderators but again star power is not the commission’s style, however this not a traditional year so there might be one outside the box pick.

Some long shots that could be picked by the commission are Jake Tapper of CNN and Megyn Kelly of Fox News. Both were given high marks for keeping the candidates on message.

Here is a list of the possible moderators being considered by the commission for the three presidential debates as well as the single vice presidential debate.

ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir, Chief White House Correspondent, Jonathan Karl and Martha Raddatz, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent. She moderated the only Vice Presidential debate between Congressman Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden, which covered both domestic and foreign topics.

CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, who also serves as a part of the 60 Minutes team, John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation, and Charlie Rose, the lead host on CBS This Morning. He also is the host of Charlie Rose This Week, that airs on both PBS and Bloomberg.

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CNN host of State of the Union, Jake Tapper, Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash and host of his own nightly show Anderson Cooper. Fox News has Chris Wallace, the host of Fox News Sunday, Bret Baier, who hosts the nightly news program Special Report and Megyn Kelly, host The Kelly Files.

NBC Nightly News host Lester Holt, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd and host of Morning Joe, former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough. PBS News Hour co-hosts Gwen Ifill, and Judy Woodruff will likely get strong consideration.

Debate Prep Launching Soon

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s new campaign manager, told CNN this morning that the Republican presidential candidate’s debate prep will begin this weekend.

Trump has been in contact with former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, meeting at Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, home over the weekend, multiple sources told ABC News.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told ABC News in a statement, “[Ailes] is not advising Mr. Trump or helping with debate prep. They are longtime friends, but he has no formal or informal role in the campaign.”

This isn’t the first time Ailes has been in the news this summer. He resigned July 21 as the CEO and chairman of Fox News — the company he started — in the wake of sexual harassment claims and a lawsuit by former anchor Gretchen Carlson. He has denied the claims.

He worked in politics before starting Fox News and worked on the campaigns of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

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As for Clinton’s debate prep, the campaign hasn’t disclosed any details.

Well-known Washington lawyer Bob Barnett is said to be advising Clinton during her debate prep. He helped her prepare for the primary debates by playing Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Here’s a rundown of all of the information that’s available to date.

When and Where

First presidential debate: Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

The debate will have six segments covering different subjects that will be announced at least a week before the event, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Vice presidential debate: Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

The debate will feature nine segments, each about 10 minutes long.

Second presidential debate: Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis.

The debate will be in a town hall format, with about half the questions asked by members of the audience and the other by the moderators. Gallup is responsible for finding the audience members, who are supposed to be uncommitted voters, the commission has decided.

Third presidential debate: Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

The final debate will be in the same format as the first debate.

The debate moderators have not yet been announced.

Who Will Be Included

There are several third-party candidates in the race this year, but if the decision on participation were made today, none of them would qualify to appear alongside Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The Commission on Presidential Debates, the independent organization that sponsors the events, has decided that in order to participate, candidates must have support averaging at least 15 percent in selected national polls.

The commission this week announced it will use five surveys — ABC News/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corp., Fox News and NBC/Wall Street Journal — to make the mid-September decision.

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As of Monday, Clinton had 44 percent and Trump had 36 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson had 10 percent, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein had 5 percent. Evan McMullin, the conservative independent candidate who announced his run earlier this month, has not been included in national polls.



Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.