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Jim Lehrer
The first U.S. presidential debate -- focused on foreign policy -- will take place this Friday (September 26th at the University of Mississippi). CGD and a host of other organizations are eager to hear McCain and Obama talk about the U.S. role in the world and are hopeful that Jim Lehrer, who will moderate the debate, will ask the candidates at least one question about the links between global poverty and the well-being of Americans.

The ONE Campaign has a fabulous effort underway to get Jim Lehrer to ask "Just ONE Question" about global poverty and development during the campaign. The ONE Campaign explains:

ONE asks for Just ONE Question

Only two questions have been asked about global poverty in the history of modern presidential debates.  ONE's current campaign in the U.S. is "Just ONE Question."  The campaign urges Jim Lehrer, moderator of the upcoming presidential debate at the University of Mississippi to make sure that a question on global poverty and disease is included.  The debate will focus on foreign policy and is less than a week away (Friday, September 26th).  Over 73,000 ONE members have already signed the petition, which will be hand-delivered to Jim Lehrer's political team this Wednesday morning.

I strongly encourage our readers to go to the ONE Campaign's debate page and add their voice to the growing chorus of Americans calling for Jim Lehrer to ask at least one question about global poverty in the debates.

We know that both Obama and McCain have spoken about these issues in their campaigns (here and here respectively) and that Americans' well-being is linked to the lives of others around the world as never before-whether through global poverty, inequality, disease, climate change, or the recent financial turmoil that threatens prosperity and security globally and at home.

Jim Lehrer has moderated ten nationally televised debates during the last five presidential elections and has an unrivaled reputation for providing serious, substantive coverage of foreign affairs nightly on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. CGD and others expressed disappointment that despite this, Lehrer missed an enormous opportunity to ask a global poverty question in the 2004 presidential campaign debates. Let's hope that the growing recognition that global poverty and U.S. global development policies are at the heart of our U.S. national security interest and global stability will change the debate this year and generate at least one question-and some robust answers from our candidates-on global poverty and the well-being of Americans.

So sign the petition. And then submit a comment below with the global development question(s) you would like Jim Lehrer to ask the candidates.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.