Chris Wallace will moderate the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden next week, and the “Fox News Sunday” anchor already has the approval of one prominent Democratic strategist.
“The reality of this first debate is that Joe Biden is going to have probably the largest TV audience that he’ll have of the entire campaign," political strategist Lis Smith told Fox News Wednesday. "So it is incumbent upon him to make his case directly to the American people versus taking his time fact-checking or attacking or responding to attacks from Donald Trump.
“And that's the thing. Again ... you see this from Democrats and high-profile Democrats on Twitter, this idea of 'How do you debate a liar like Donald Trump and fact check him in real time?' That's not Joe Biden’s job,” added Smith, who worked as communications director on Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign.
“Presumably, Chris Wallace was chosen for this debate because he is a master of this stuff, one of the toughest interviewers -- if not the toughest interviewer -- in political media today and I have no doubt he’ll serve that role.”
Wallace won widespread praise for his performance moderating the third debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016, the first time a Fox News anchor had been selected to moderate a general election debate.
The first debate between Trump and Biden will take place Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Case Western University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. It will begin at 9 p.m. ET
The 90-minute debate will be divided into six segments lasting approximately 15 minutes each. The topics for the debate, selected by Wallace, include the records of both Trump and Biden, the Supreme Court, coronavirus, the economy, election integrity and race and violence in American cities.
Wallace, who also has co-moderated multiple primary debates, has won every major broadcast news award during his storied career. He has received three Emmy Awards, the Dupont-Columbia Silver Baton and the Peabody Award, among many others.
Biden and Trump will debate twice more – on Oct. 15 in Nashville, Tenn., and Oct. 22 in Miami, Fla. Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Vice President Mike Pence will debate once – in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Oct. 7.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.