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Lehrer, Schieffer renew Texas connections to presidential debates

Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer will moderate this fall's first and last presidential debates. Both have strong North Texas ties.

Network mainstays and former Texas newsmen Jim Lehrer and Bob Schieffer have been named to moderate two of this season's three presidential debates.

The third choice, CNN's Candy Crowley, will be the first woman since ABC's Carole Simpson hosted a 1992 town hall format debate among President George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.

Lehrer, who formerly worked for The Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Times-Herald and KERA13's groundbreaking Newsroom program, again has been unable to say no after insisting that a 2008 stint would be his last. Instead, the opening Oct. 3rd face-off between President Obama and Mitt Romney will be his record 12th presidential debate.

Lehrer said a new format -- six segments of 15 minutes each -- lured him this time around.

"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," Lehrer said in a PBS statement. "I could not say no to trying to make that work to the fullest. It was truly an offer I could not refuse."

Schieffer is a former reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram who has Texas Christian University's school of journalism named after him. This will be his third presidential debate. He currently hosts CBS' Face the Nation while Lehrer is executive editor of the PBS NewsHour, which he previously anchored for many years. Lehrer will moderate the first debate and Schieffer the last.

The lone vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will be moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News.

Here's the schedule:

Presidential Debate No. 1 (domestic policy) -- Wed., Oct. 3rd, University of Denver in Denver, Colo.
Vice Presidential Debate -- Tues., Oct. 11th, Centre College in Danville, Ky.
Presidential Debate No. 2 (town hall format) -- Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.
Presidential Debate No. 3 (foreign policy) -- Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.