The third and final presidential debate in the 2012 election cycle will take place next Monday and will be themed around foreign policy. Bob Schieffer will moderate the debate, and, as has become commonplace with debate moderators, he has come under scrutiny over his selection.
Writing for The New Republic, columnist Timothy Noah complimented both ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Candy Crowley for their debate moderator performance over PBS’s Jim Lehrer and noted that Schieffer is up next. Rather than make an argument for the battle of the sexes, Noah suggested (as humbly as possible) that the genuine difference between the male and female moderators wasn’t their gender but their ages.
“There isn’t anybody presiding over this year’s presidential and vice-presidential debates who isn’t AARP-eligible,” he writes. “But Raddatz’s and Crowley’s mental agility is very likely speedier and more limber today than it will be 15 years from now. It is also, I suspect, speedier and more limber than Lehrer’s and Schieffer’s is today. And if I’m wrong and it isn’t, it’s still a cinch that it is speedier and more limber than that of most other men—and women—of Lehrer’s and Schieffer’s ages. I’m not suggesting an age limit. I don’t want to get hauled in before the EEOC. But I do think age is a factor that determines how good a debate moderator you’re likely to be.”
The Latino Post reports that Monday’s debate will have a heavy emphasis on the Arab World. Libya, and the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and how the Obama administration handled the series of events, will likely be brought up.
According to the CPD, the format for the debate will be “divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator… The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.”
The 90-minute presidential debate is set for next Monday, October 22 at 9 pm. It will take place in the battleground state of Florida. Noah’s full column is linked up above. It’s an interesting read, and I suggest you give it a go. Just make sure you come back here and let us know if you agree: Are guys like Jim Lehrer and Bob Schieffer “too old” to moderate presidential debates? Sound off!