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How Presidential Candidates Practice For Debates

Binders full of zingers.

Posted on September 23, 2016, at 5:42 p.m. ET

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

Debate prep takes many forms: studying, rehearsing, testing applause lines in front of an audience of your closest advisors.

On this episode of the BuzzFeed politics podcast, we talk with Democratic consultant Lis Smith about how that process works. She worked on Governor O'Malley's debate prep team this year and on the rapid response team during President Obama's 2012 campaign.

And we talk with Jim Lehrer, the "dean of moderators," about the particular challenges moderators are facing this year.

He says it shouldn't be up to moderators to fact check candidates, even in Donald Trump's case. "The voters aren't stupid," he says, "and the moderator's job is to make sure it is all revealed for the people to see and make their own judgments about all of this. It isn't playing God."

Listen to the full episode here, or subscribe on iTunes

Update: This article previously misstated Lis Smith's role on President Obama's 2012 campaign.

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