NBC’s Lester Holt to moderate first presidential debate

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) — Lester Holt, the anchor of NBC Nightly News, will moderate the first presidential debate, which is likely to be watched by as many as 100 million people.

The Commission on Presidential Debates named the full slate of moderators for the three presidential debates and the vice presidential debate.

— The first presidential debate will be moderated by Holt, on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Long Island.

— The vice presidential debate will be moderated by Elaine Quijano, correspondent and anchor for CBS News, on Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.

— The second presidential debate, which will be town-hall style debate, with candidates facing questions from the moderators and voters, will be moderated by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and ABC News global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis.

— The third presidential debate will be moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Michael D. McCurry, co-chairs of the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates, said the moderators selected are among the nation’s most experienced and respected journalists.

“These journalists bring extensive experience to the job of moderating, and understand the importance of using expanded time periods effectively. 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,” they said.

Under the format outlined by the commission, moderators are given wide leeway to expand onto different topics within a broad subject area and are empowered to ensure each candidate has the same amount of time to speak.

Steve Scully, senior executive producer and CSPAN White House editor, will serve as the backup moderator for all of the debates.

In addition to the four debates sanctioned by the commission, NBC is hosting a commander-in-chief candidate forum where both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will appear, though not on stage together, to answer questions related to the military. That event, scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday, will be hosted by Today show anchor Matt Laurer.

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