Jim Lehrer: ‘Tension City’


Jim Lehrer has had a front row seat for 11 presidential and vice-presidential debates, and now the longtime host of the “PBS NewsHour” tells us about his new book, “Tension City.”

After more than 40 years moderating for televised political debates, Lehrer opens up in his new book. “Tension City” relates a behind-the-scenes look at the debates Lehrer moderated, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain.

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The title of the book stems from a comment made by former President George H. W. Bush when describing his feelings on the atmosphere of nationally televised debates as a night in “tension city.” Lehrer reveals the truth behind the sentiment, using his role of moderator as a lens to illuminate the tension and drama of the debates.

Through a combination of in-depth interviews, transcripts and personal experience, Lehrer sheds light on the heated exchanges, witty repartees and political banter that shaped voters’ opinions, and in turn, the course of American history.

Video: Lehrer reads an excerpt from his book.


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