4 Journalists Picked for Presidential Debate

Associated Press

After a selection process that some journalists boycotted, a bipartisan commission announced Thursday that it had picked four reporters to participate in Sunday's presidential debate among George Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.

The Commission on Presidential Debates said Jim Lehrer of PBS' MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour will moderate the debate, the first of three among the presidential contenders. The panelists will be Ann Compton of ABC News, John Mashek of the Boston Globe and Sander Vanocur, a former NBC and ABC reporter now working on a free-lance basis.

Several major news organizations, including NBC, CBS, the Associated Press, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, had announced that they would not allow their employees to participate, primarily because the Bush and Clinton campaigns had a role in selecting the questioners.

The bipartisan commission selected four well-respected journalists, all with experience in presidential debates.

Lehrer, who moderated one of the 1988 debates between Bush and Michael S. Dukakis, has been outspoken in defense of participating in the debates. He said after his selection Thursday that he considered it "noble work to help the American people decide who the next President will be."

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