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Presidential Debate Moderators


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Jim Lehrer
Jim Lehrer of PBS

Jim Lehrer of PBS has moderated more presidential debates than anyone else in modern history, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. He is pictured here moderating a 2008 debate between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News

Jim Lehrer of PBS is one of the most frequently chosen presidential debate moderators. He has presided over nearly a dozen presidential debates in the last quarter century, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonpartisan group that organizes the events every four years.

Lehrer moderated a September 2008 debate between Democrat Barack Obama and John McCain on foreign policy and national security at the University of Mississippi. About 52.4 million watched the debate on TV, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Lehrer also was the moderator of a September 2004 presidential debate between President George W. Bush, a Republican, and Democratic nominee John F. Kerry, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts. That debate was held at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., and drew some 62.4 million viewers.

Lehrer moderated all three presidential debates in 2000 between then-Vice President Al Gore, a Democrat, and Republican nominee George W. Bush, then the governor of Texas. He moderated both presidential debates in 1996 between President Bill Clinton and his Republican challenger, U.S. Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas.

Lehrer moderated two of the three presidential debates in 1992 between Republican President George H.W. Bush and his Democratic challenger, then-Arkansas Gov. Clinton. And in 1988, Lehrer was moderater a presidential debate at Wake Forest University between then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, and then Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, a Democrat.

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