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Bob Schieffer: Who Is The Debate Moderator For The Final Presidential Debate?

By Danny Choy on October 18, 2012 5:33 PM EDT 0

Bob Schieffer
Bob Schieffer (Photo: CBS video still)

With two Presidential debates down and one to go, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama currently tie the win count at 1:1.

Dominating the first debate in October 3rd, Romney capitalized on debate moderator Jim Lehrer's passive approach and Obama's cool nature to come out on top. By the second round of presidential debates, Obama made sure that Romney would face a far feistier President. In fact, Mitt Romney was even challenged with a live fact check from moderator Candy Crowley.

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With debate No. 3 fast approaching, the stakes are now higher than ever before. Moderating the debate will be veteran journalist Bob Lloyd Schieffer, host of "Face the Nation" and a member of the CBS News team since 1969.

Playing a pivotal role in the nation's history, it's imperative for the final moderator to possess the ideal traits necessary to command the debate and to make sure both candidates have an equal chance to discuss their respective policies. On paper, Bob Schieffer's record makes him just the man for the job.

Having worked exclusively with issues related to national politics at CBS, Schieffer is one of the rare elite journalists that had covered major assignments at all four major Washington conferences including the White House, the Pentagon, the United States Department of State, and the United States Congress.

Most importantly, Bob Schieffer had already served as a moderator of the third presidential debate in two past occasions-- first in October 13, 2004 between President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry, and the second on October 15, 2008 with Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. 

While both Jim Lehrer, 78, and Bob Schieffer, 75, have similar backgrounds as traditional newsmen of a past era, Schieffer's record promises him to be a far sterner moderator than Lehrer.

Regarding the past two 2012 presidential debates, Candy Crowley was criticized for overstepping the line for fact checking on Obama's behalf in the second debate just as Jim Lehrer was criticized for a lack of attempt to rein in the two candidates at all during the first.

As for Schieffer, political observers are confident that the experienced moderator will find the healthy combination necessary to carry the debate forward as well as the ability to catch candidates off guard with curve-ball questions hidden in his sleeves.

Describing a past debate between McCain and Obama four years ago, reporter Paul Gough of Reuters said, "Schieffer learned the lessons of the three other debates and also was determined not to settle for the same pat answers. He dug, and pressed, and wouldn't let the candidates off the hook easily -- all of which made for a more interesting 90 minutes than its predecessors."

In fact, Paul Gough even noted that the McCain-Obama debate moderated by Schieffer was the only debate out of the four that "had any life."

The third and final Presidential debate will be held Monday, October 22, 2012 from 9:00 to 10:30 p.m. ET at Lynn University of Boca Raton, Florida. Debate moderator Bob Schieffer will cover topics regarding foreign policy and will follow a debate format similar to the October 3rd debate. The 90-minute exchange will be segmented into six 15-minute blocks to cover multiple issues. Schieffer announced they the debate will concentrate on issues regarding: America's role in global politics, the war in the Middle East, tensions between Israel and Iran, Terrorism, and the growing wealth and influence in China.

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