The 2012 presidential debate moderators have been announced, and they include the first woman to be given a such a role in two decades.
Candy Crowley, the chief political correspondent for CNN and anchor of the cable network's State of the Union program, will moderate the second presidential debate between Republican Mitt Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced today.
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The selection of Crowley came amid growing pressure from grassroots activists to select a female debate moderator. The last woman to moderate a presidential election was Carole Simpson of ABC News, who brokered the 1992 showdown between Republican incumbent George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.
Crowley will be moderating a town-hall style meeting in which voters will be allowed to ask questions directly of each candidate on both foreign and domestic issues. Each candidate will have 2 minutes to respond. That debate is being held on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
The other two presidential debate moderators announced today are Jim Lehrer, the executive editor at PBS NewsHour, and Bob Schieffer, chief Washington correspondent for CBS News and moderator of Face the Nation. Martha Raddatz, senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC News, will moderate a vice presidential debate.
"As someone who is in awe and grateful every day to be in a country where freedom of the press, free speech and free elections are a way of life, I am wowed, amazed and excited by the opportunity to moderate a 2012 presidential debate," Crowley said in a written statement posted on CNN today.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr. and Michael D. McCurry, co-chairmen of the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates, said of the journalists selected to serve as moderators: "The new formats chosen for this year's debates are designed to focus big time blocks on major domestic and foreign topics. These journalists bring extensive experience to the job of moderating, and understand the importance of using the expanded time periods to maximum benefit.
"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."
[Candy Crowley / Getty Images Entertainment]