All eyes will be on President Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden during the first of three debates — and on the third man on the stage Tuesday — Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
Wallace, 72, the son of legendary “60 Minutes” reporter Mike Wallace, said he doesn’t intend to fact-check claims made by Biden and Trump in Cleveland, instead preferring to remain “as invisible as possible.”
“I’m trying to get them to engage … to focus on the key issues … to give people at home a sense of why they want to vote for one versus the other,” Wallace said in an interview on Fox News. “If I’ve done my job right, at the end of the night, people will say, ‘That was a great debate, who was the moderator?’”
Of the moderators of the three presidential debates this fall, Wallace, the anchor of “Fox News Sunday,” is the only one who has been there before — moderating the final presidential face-off between Trump and Clinton in 2016, in which he was lauded by members across the political aisle.
Here’s what you need to know about Chris Wallace:
Wallace joined Fox News Channel in 2003 after leaving ABC News, where he was the senior correspondent for “Primetime Thursday” and a substitute host on “Nightline.”
Prior to that he worked for NBC News, covering the 1980, 1984 and 1988 political campaigns. He also moderated “Meet the Press” from 1987-1988.
He launched his career at New York’s WNBC-TV in 1975.
Wallace told the Washington Post in a 2006 interview that he’s registered as a Democrat for practical purposes.
“The reason I’m a registered Democrat is that in Washington, D.C., there is really only one party,” he said. “If you want a say in who’s going to be the next mayor or councilman, you have to vote in the Democratic primary.”
Wallace’s father was Mike Wallace, who died in April 2012, and his mother was Norma Kaphan, who died in 2016.
He has been married to Lorraine Smothers since 1997, the widow of comedian Dick Smothers.
Wallace has four children from a previous marriage.
How Wallace was selected
The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates selected Wallace and the other two journalists — NBC’s Kristen Welker and C-SPAN’s Steve Scully — who will be moderating the three debates this campaign season.
“Each individual brings great professionalism to moderating and understands that the purpose of the 2020 debate formats is to facilitate in-depth discussion of major topics,” the commission co-chairs said in announcing the lineup earlier this month.
What Trump said about the moderators
“These are not the moderators we would have recommended if the campaign had been allowed to have any input. Some can be identified as clear opponents of President Trump, meaning Joe Biden will actually have a teammate on stage most of the time to help him excuse the radical, leftist agenda he is carrying. One thing is sure: Chris Wallace’s selection ensures that Biden will finally see him face-to-face after dodging his interview requests. That is, if Biden actually shows up,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement.
What Biden said about the moderators
“As Joe Biden has said for months — without farcical antics — he looks forward to participating in the debates set by the commission, regardless of who the independently chosen moderators are,” campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said.
Wallace’s questions for the candidates
The debate will consist of six 15-minute segments based on the following topics: the candidates’ records, the Supreme Court, the economy, “race and violence in our cities,” election integrity and the coronavirus.
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