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First Woman To Moderate Fall Debate In 20 Years


President Obama and Mitt Romney will face off during three prime time debates this fall and now we know who the moderators will be. The Commission on Presidential Debates announced today that Jim Lehrer of the PBS "NewsHour" will do the first debate on October 3rd.


CNN's Candy Crowley has the next one two weeks later.

BLOCK: And Bob Schieffer of CBS will moderate the final debate on October 22nd.

CORNISH: Lehrer and Schieffer are no strangers to this high profile gig, but it's Crowley's first time. And it's also the first time in 20 years that a woman has moderated a presidential debate solo.

EMMA AXELROD: I'm ecstatic. I mean, it's what we've been fighting for all summer.

BLOCK: That's 16 year old Emma Axelrod, a student at Montclair High School in New Jersey. She, along with two classmates launched a petition drive asking the commission for a female moderator.

AXELROD: When little girls turn on the TV and see a man up there asking the questions again and again and again, for 20 years, it sends a very clear message that for whatever reason this is a man's job. And it's time for that message to stop being sent.

CORNISH: We talked to Axelrod last month when she came to D.C. to press her case. Today, she told us that although they never heard back from the commission, she thinks their message got through.

AXELROD: We had over 180,000 signatures. It shows that this was not only important to us but to a lot of Americans.

BLOCK: And along with Candy Crowley, there is one other female moderator, Martha Raddatz of ABC News will be at the helm of vice presidential debate. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.