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Who are Republican debate moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum?


Fox News is tapping seasoned anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum to moderate the first 2024 GOP primary debate tonight in Milwaukee.

This is the first time the duo will be co-moderating a party-sanctioned presidential debate together, though they have been the face of the channel’s election night coverage in each of the past three cycles.

Baier, 53, FNC’s chief political anchor and host of the network’s 6 p.m. “Special Report” newscast, co-moderated three Republican debates during the 2016 primary cycle, flanked by since-departed Fox News stars Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace.

MacCallum, 59, the face of the mid-afternoon “The Story” program, was picked to join Baier on the main political desk after Kelly left FNC for NBC News early in 2017.

Baier and MacCallum led FNC’s top-rated primetime election coverage during the 2018 and 2022 midterms, as well as during the 2020 presidential vote.

The pair would likely have been Fox News’ choice to moderate a Democratic primary debate during the 2020 cycle, but the Democratic National Committee rejected the channel’s request to partner up, claiming network brass were too closely allied to the Trump White House.

Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier
Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier hosted Fox News’ election night coverage in 2022.
Getty Images

Who is Bret Baier?

Baier, who has two sons with his wife Amy, was born in New Jersey, went to high school outside Atlanta, and graduated from Indiana’s DePauw University in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and English.

He was hired by Fox News in 1998 as the network’s Southeastern correspondent and helped establish the channel’s first Atlanta bureau from his apartment.

Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier
The two anchors have scored sought-after interviews with many top politicos such as former President Donald Trump.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Baier drove from Georgia to Arlington, Va., to help cover the Al Qaeda terror attack on the Pentagon.

He never returned to the Southeast, instead being named FNC’s national security correspondent — a role he would hold for the next five years, during the height of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2006, Baier was named FNC’s chief White House correspondent, covering the final months of the George W. Bush administration.

The following fall, he began filling in on Fridays for “Special Report” anchor Brit Hume, a former chief White House correspondent for ABC News who had jumped to Fox News upon the channel’s founding in 1996.

Shortly before Christmas 2008, Hume announced he was turning over the “Special Report” anchor chair to Baier, who hosted his first show the following January.

Baier has co-authored five books, four of which detail key episodes in American history.

They are “Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission,” “Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire,” “Three Days at the Brink: FDR’s Daring Gamble to Win World War II,” and most recently, “To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876.”

The anchor’s first book, “Special Heart,” highlights his son Paul, who was born with cardiac problems and underwent two open-heart surgeries before he turned 18 months old.

Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier
The duo has been among the network’s most prominent straight news anchors.

Baier has also hosted several Fox News documentaries and specials, including “13 Hours At Benghazi” and “The Unauthorized History of Socialism.”

Who is Martha MacCallum?

Like Baier, MacCallum was born in New Jersey and majored in political science in college. (She went to St. Lawrence University in the North County of New York.)

Early on in her career, MacCallum worked as an associate in corporate relations at Dow Jones & Company before bouncing around to gigs including Wall Street Journal Television and NYC’s short-lived WBIS-TV.

She eventually found a home at NBC and CNBC, co-anchoring the latter’s “Morning Call program” and fronting the War on Terror-focused evening show “Checkpoint.”

MacCallum joined Fox News in 2004, hosting the weekday afternoon show “The Live Desk” from 2006 until 2010 when she joined Bill Hemmer as the co-anchor of “America’s Newsroom.”

Fox News
After Fox News hosts the first GOP debate, Fox Business will host the second.
Getty Images

After Kelly’s departure from Fox in 2017, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” moved to the 9 p.m. ET slot held by her former show, “The Kelly File”.

To take Carlson’s place in the 7 p.m. slot, MacCallum was picked to anchor a new show called “The First 100 Days” that focused on the newly inaugurated Trump administration.

At the end of the first 100 days of Trump’s tenure, the show was rebranded “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”

In January 2021, “The Story” was shifted to 3 p.m. ET to make way for “Fox News Primetime,” since rebranded “Jesse Watters Primetime” and moved to 8 p.m. ET.

In addition to her political coverage, MacCallum is also the face of Fox News’ coverage of the British Royal Family.

In recent years, she has traveled to London to report on the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the birth of their son Prince George, the Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II, the funeral of Elizabeth II, and the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

In February 2020, MacCallum published the best-selling book “Unknown Valor: A Story of Family, Courage, and Sacrifice from Pearl Harbor to Iwo Jima” and will host a documentary debuting next month on the Fox Nation streaming service titled “The Fall of the House of Murdaugh.“

During the debate, Fox News is expected to forgo the bell which has traditionally been used in debates to notify candidates when they are running over their allotted time.

Looming over the debate will be the absence of former President Donald Trump, who will reportedly release an interview with former Fox News star Carlson as counter-programming.

Trump has dominated the 2024 field, holding a whopping 40.9 percentage point lead over his nearest GOP rival, per the latest RealClearPolitics polling average.

He has cited his edge as a reason to skip the “debates,” though he has not publicly divulged how many he intends on missing.

The second GOP debate will be hosted by Fox Business Network and held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Sept. 27 in Simi Valley, Calif.


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