Presidential and Vice-President Debate Moderators Announced Friday

The long-anticipated moderators for this year’s presidential debates were announced Friday. The four debates will be moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

The announcement was made by the nonprofit, non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates. Both the Trump and Clinton camps had wrangled in recent weeks over what could be the decisive moment of voter’s decision in this election.

The debate schedule and its moderator will be:

NBC’s Lester Holt will guide the pivotal first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Sept. 26. Holt has never moderated a presidential debate. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told radio host Hugh Hewitt in an August interview that he thinks “Lester Holt is a good guy.” Holt was the only name broached in the interview that Trump had unqualified praise for.

Raddatz and Cooper will team up to cover the town hall-style debate on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis. It will be interesting to see how the well-known liberal correspondents ask the rumbustious real estate mogul debate questions. Will it be tailor-made softball questions for Hillary and a ferocious handling of Trump?

Raddatz was a vice presidential debate moderator in 2012. Cooper was a moderator twice in Democratic primary debates, as well as in several town hall events. They know the venue and will be ready with tough, in-depth questions, hopefully in a bi-partisan manner.

Fox News’ Chris Wallace will moderate the third debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Oct. 19. Wallace is the son of legendary questioner legend Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes” fame. His son will be joined by the Fox News moderating team of Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly, that handled several GOP primary debates.

Look for tough questions and a very bi-partisan onslaught from these veteran interviewers. Unlike most of the Fox team on camera daily, Hillary Clinton has accepted an invite to be on Wallace’s Fox News Sunday weekly news show appearing in early August. Look for some sort of “homey message” directed to Wallace in the debate. It won’t work on this tough-minded and fair moderator.

debate moderators announced for Clinton-Trump debates.
Presidential debate moderators announced.

Elaine Quijano of CBS News will moderate the only vice presidential debate on Oct. 4. The relative newcomer to this venue is less known. Its anyone’s guess how she assembles her questions. Will there be any hint of a liberal approach to boost Hillary? It is CBS for heavens sake! Hopefully she will handle it in a fair and balanced approach like her CBS colleague John Dickerson who moderates “Face the Nation” on Sunday mornings.

Megyn Kelly, who raised the ire of Trump in the first GOP primary debate, made peace with him at Trump Tower months ago. Now they’re supposedly buddies. Look for Kelly to ask questions that will in no way slant to Trump. They’re not that buddy, buddy. A recent Morning Consult poll showed Kelly as the second most-desired pick to moderate a debate, behind Cooper.

CBS’s John Dickerson, CNN’s Jake Tapper and ABC’s Jonathan Karl are front-runners for a moderator spot. It is easy to assume that Trump cried bloody murder towards any selection of Tapper and Karl. They have made it obvious of their liberal leanings. Dickerson is known for fair and balanced questions. A recent survey by The Hill revealed those three men made high marks in The Hill survey of potential debate moderators.

The debate will be the decisive moment in the presidential race, as polls show the battle between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton tightening. It will match the street fighting style of Trump with the much scripted Clinton who has drawn sparse Hillary rally crowds with her vanilla-type delivery. Trump has a dedicated base who will vote even if it snows, rains or hurricane warnings; they will vote. The question with 66 days until the election; how many will that be?

As of Friday, Hillary Clinton leads Trump nationally by 3.9 points, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls. She led the RCP average by nearly 8 points at times in August. More and more it has become clear that the next president will have good debates that generate new voters who haven’t paid attention until now.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, “Redistribution of Common Sense – Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014,” was published in July, 2014. “The Game Changer – America’s Most Stunning Presidential Election in History,” was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.