Centennial Events

Panel on Presidential Debates at the Paley Center

Thursday, September 27

Presidential Debates:

Do They Matter & What Is At Stake


Hosted by the Paley Center and the duPont-Columbia University Awards

Barbara Walters
ABC News anchor, 1976 & 1984 debate moderator

Carole Simpson
Former ABC News anchor, 1992 debate moderator

Bill Wheatley
NBC News executive producer and chair of the duPont Awards

Dr. Meena Bose
Presidential scholar, Hofstra University

Moderated by
Pat Mitchel

6pm – 7:30pm
The Paley Center
25 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019


Ever since the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy debate, televised candidate debates have been a staple of presidential politics in America. Viewed by millions, live debates offer audiences a rare opportunity to see unscripted political moments. They also carry risks and opportunities for the candidates and the moderators. This panel will take the audience behind the scenes of these pivotal live televised events.

How do candidates prepare? How do networks and moderators prepare? What challenges do broadcasters face airing such high stakes events? Have they changed? How have new formats, like town meetings, and new technology, such as social media, impacted the debates process? Are the debates still the best way to inform the electorate about where candidates stand on issues? The discussion will examine the impact debates have historically had on elections, identifying key highs and lows of past debates, and look ahead to the four debates currently scheduled to take place in October.


Click here to purchase tickets.  Enter code ‘DUPONT’ for $10 admission.