CNBC's Shepard Smith complimented his former Fox News colleague Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceYarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' NIH director expects booster shots to be expanded, despite recommendation MORE in an interview with "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon on Monday night, saying Wallace is "not a partisan guy" and will hold both President TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE and Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Biden to tap law professor who wants to 'end banking as we know it' as OCC chief: reports MORE accountable during their first debate on Tuesday night.
“I expect Chris Wallace to be prepared,” Smith said. “Nobody who has watched Chris Wallace thinks anything other than that he is a very tough, very thoroughly prepared journalist. And he has said repeatedly over the years, to me and publicly, ‘My job is to stay out of the way and be unnoticed as much as possible.’”
Smith, who left Fox News in October last year after 23 years at the network, said Wallace will not "let a falsehood or a misrepresentation or a ‘look over here’ kind of shiny object thing just slide.”
“He will hold them [accountable]. Both of them. He’s not a partisan guy. He’s searching for truth. He’s trying to speak truth to power and trying to get information to the public. That’s what all journalists want to do,” Smith said.
Wallace has said he wants to stay as "invisible as possible" to avoid becoming the story going into the debate that is expected to be watched by 80 million people.
"I’m trying to get them to engage ... to focus on the key issues ... to give people at home a sense of why they want to vote for one versus the other,” Wallace has said. “If I’ve done my job right, at the end of the night, people will say, ‘That was a great debate, who was the moderator?’”
Smith, 56, begins his new nightly newscast with CNBC on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m.