October 19, 2016 8:58 pm
Updated: October 19, 2016 10:49 pm

Presidential debate: Who is debate moderator Chris Wallace?

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace (left), with Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier, during the first Republican presidential debate on Aug. 6, 2015. Wallace is the first Fox News personality to moderate a general election debate.

Andrew Harnik, File/AP Photo

As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump go tête-à-tête for the last time, debate moderator Chris Wallace is promising to be a time checker, not a fact checker.

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“That’s not my job. I do not believe that it’s my job to be a truth squad,” Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday said last month.

“It’s up to the other person to catch them on that. I certainly am going to try to maintain some reasonable semblance of equal time. If one of them is filibustering, I’m going to try to break in respectfully and give the other person a chance to talk.”

But viewers, particularly those on the left, will be keeping a close eye on whether the Fox News anchorman will be harder on Democratic presidential nominee Clinton than Republican nominee Trump.

Who is Fox News anchor Chris Wallace? 

Wallace isn’t one of the network’s loud and proud Republican-friendly hosts, such as Sean Hannity who is openly supporting Trump, rather he is someone who has taken both candidates to task in the past.

Although he’s not open about how he votes, he’s actually a registered Democrat — at least in Washington, D.C., where he lives and works.

“I’m a registered Democrat is that in Washington, D.C., there is really only one party,” he told the Washington Post in a 2006 interview. “If you want a say in who’s going to be the next mayor or councilman, you have to vote in the Democratic primary.”

“However I vote personally, I think I’m professional enough that it doesn’t have anything to do with the way I cover the news.”

The New York Times described the 69-year-old as having “a reputation of tough, mischief-making questions.”

He’s got more than 40 years of journalism experience under his belt. But news was an industry he was born into and raised in: his father was the legendary journalist and long-time 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace and his step-father was late CBS News president William A. Leonard.

And while this is his first time at the helm of a general election debate, he was a co-moderator of three Republican primary debates this year. (He also served as moderator for GOP primary debates in the 2012 election.)

Unlike what he’s promising with the presidential debate, Wallace did play fact-checker in the Republican primary debates —in particular with Trump.

During a debate in March, when the Republican field had been whittled down from 17 candidates to just four, Wallace held Trump to account on his plan to reduce the budget deficit.

“Your numbers don’t add up, sir,” Wallace told Trump, presenting two graphics to challenge the billionaire businessman’s math.

Regardless of who comes out on top after Wednesday night’s debate, Wallace sees it as a win for Fox News.

“I think it’s a recognition of the fact that we do serious journalism. Some critics say no, but you and I know we do, and here’s the Commission on Presidential Debates recognizing that,” he said on Fox News Sunday.

Wallace has been with Fox News Channel since 2003. Before that he was a senior correspondent at ABC News for 14 years and worked at NBC News as a Chief White House Correspondent, a moderator on Meet the Press and anchor of the NBC Nightly News Sunday edition.

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