FRANKFORT — Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace said his goal is to give Kentucky U.S. Senate candidates Jack Conway and Rand Paul "a fair shake" during their first debate Sunday on national television.
"That's all I care about at the end, that both sides got the opportunity to express their views and that it was fair," Wallace said Thursday during a telephone interview.
Wallace, who has never met either candidate, said his job moderating the discussion should be easy.
"There couldn't be a sharper contrast between Paul and Conway on almost every issue," Wallace said. "It should be easy to get them talking and expressing their differences on a variety of issues."
The show, to be aired live at 9 a.m. on most Fox affiliates and again at 2 and 6 p.m. on Fox News, will broadcast from the studios of WDRB-TV in Louisville. The show will air live on WDKY-TV in Lexington.
Conway, a Democrat who is Kentucky's attorney general, and Paul, a Republican and Bowling Green eye surgeon making his first bid for public office, have agreed to five debates before the Nov. 2 general election.
Fox News Sunday is the only debate scheduled for national television. Paul has declined Conway's challenge to debate on NBC's Meet the Press. Wallace said the format of Sunday's show will be "me at a desk with the two candidates."
"It will be a normal Sunday show," he said. "There will be no rules, no time limits. I will keep the conversation going. When I think they have discussed enough, we will move on.
"If I think one person is monopolizing the conversation, I will cut them off. There won't be those minutes to restrict conversation. It will be a normal, free-flowing conversation."
Conway and Paul will appear on the first half of the show, for about 27 minutes, Wallace said.
Wallace, who has been with Fox News since 2003 and was a moderator on Meet the Press, declined to give a preview of his conversation topics with Conway and Paul.
"There won't be surprises," he said. "It's not a game of 'Gotcha.' I want to get them talking about each other. Obviously there are huge national issues and very pressing state issues. We will talk about all of that."
Asked whether he feels any pressure from people who think Fox News is right-wing and will not be fair to a Democratic candidate in a debate, Wallace said, "No, because that is not true.
"Look at my history. I ask probing questions of all my guests."
The four other debates scheduled between Conway and Paul will be Oct. 11, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in Covington; Oct. 14, Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce; Oct. 17, University of Louisville/WHAS-TV on the University of Louisville Belknap Campus; and Oct. 25, KET in Lexington.