Jim Lehrer to Moderate First National Presidential Debate in Denver, CO October 3, 2012

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ARLINGTON, VA, August 13, 2012 – MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and the PBS NEWSHOUR are pleased to announce that the Commission on Presidential Debates has chosen Jim Lehrer to moderate the first national presidential debate on October 3, 2012 in Denver, CO.  In accepting the invitation, Lehrer said he was particularly interested in the new format.

“I believe an invitation from the Commission on Presidential Debates is similar to a draft notice – a civic responsibility,” explained Lehrer.  “Even so, it was a difficult decision, because I have previously said I would not do any more debates.  It was the new and expanded format – 6 segments of 15 minutes each – that finally tipped the scales for me.  I share the Commission on Debates’ belief that the format has the possibility to open up the debates for a more spontaneous and deeper exchange of positions and ideas.  I could not say no to trying to make that work to the fullest.  It was truly an offer I could not refuse and I am honored by the invitation.”

Lehrer, Executive Editor of the PBS NewsHour, has moderated 11 national presidential debates and recently wrote a book on the experience:  “Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain.”

“PBS congratulates Jim Lehrer on being named as the moderator of a presidential debate for the 12th time," said Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO.  "Jim brings a wealth of news experience to this very important role, and he is someone the public trusts to ensure a thoughtful and informative debate."

PBS NEWSHOUR is seen by over 5 million weekly viewers and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast. The program is produced in association with WETA Washington, D.C., and WNET.org in New York. Major funding for the PBSNEWSHOUR is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers. www.pbs.org/newshour

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Contact: Jennifer Rankin Byrne, PBS Communications, 703-739-5487, jrbyrne@pbs.org