The next Democratic debate on Nov. 14 is approaching, which means it's time to start asking about the team who will be in charge. The moderator is an integral part of the debate — ideally, they act as a guide for conversation and a voice for people's concerns (although, as seen by the backlash from the last CNBC debate, this does not always work the way it is supposed to). So far, CBS has announced only one moderator for the upcoming debate, a departure from the moderating teams that we've seen in previous debates. The network may decide to add correspondents to the list of contributors for the night, but so far there is just one moderator. So, who is John Dickerson?
A Washington, D.C. native, Dickerson was born to C. Wyatt Dickerson, a real estate developer and investor, and Nancy Dickerson, a pioneering journalist who was the very first female reporter ever hired by CBS News. It seems Dickerson's future in journalism was predetermined from a young age. His specialty in politics was also foreshadowed in his childhood — he grew up in the same childhood home as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, a gigantic 36-room estate in McLean, Virginia, called Merrywood Estate.
Dickerson earned a bachelor's in English from the University of Virginia with a concentration in American studies, and went to work for TIME in 1993, serving as its White House correspondent for four years during the second Bush administration. He also coauthored George W. Bush's "Person Of The Year" stories in 2000 and 2004. In 2006, he published a book about his mother's life and accomplishments entitled On Her Trail, detailing her numerous groundbreaking contributions to the field of journalism. Dickerson was appointed CBS News political director in 2011, and most recently, he took over for Bob Schieffer as the host of CBS' Face The Nation, which has covered public policy in America since 1954.
He's famous in political journalism for asking tough questions and even earned a catchphrase during time in the White House Press Corps — his ability to knock people off guard with cutting and cunning political questions was called "Dickersonian." Dickerson once asked Bush during a press conference about what his biggest mistake after 9/11 was, to which the Dubya responded, "I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it."
That bodes well for the captain of the next debate, since CNBC came under fire for its overly antagonistic interrogation style. Dickerson is practiced at asking difficult, revealing questions without showing bias. In contrast to that professional intensity, his Facebook page is filled with pictures of his kids, lots of dad jokes, and an awesome video of his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Dickerson is one to watch. His journalistic pedigree, sharp intellect, extensive experience, and likable personality seems to add up to the perfect combination for a media monolith. If he shines at the debate on Saturday, he could not only shift the Democratic presidential field, but could also solidify his standing as one of the greatest political journalists.