Fall presidential debate details finalized

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Barack Obama and John McCain have finalized the details and formats of three planned presidential debates and this fall, including one at Hofstra University. There is also one vice presidential debate scheduled.

In a joint statement, they said the campaigns “have come to the earliest agreement on presidential debates reached in any general election in recent history.” The events will be sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Details after the jump:

1. First Presidential Debate:
– Date: September 26
– Site: University of Mississippi
– Topic: Foreign Policy & National Security
– Moderator: Jim Lehrer
– Staging: Podium debate
– Answer Format: The debate will be broken into nine, 9-minute segments. The moderator will introduce a topic and allow each candidate 2 minutes to comment. After these initial answers, the moderator will facilitate an open discussion of the topic for the remaining 5 minutes, ensuring that both candidates receive an equal amount of time to comment

2. Vice Presidential Debate
– Date: October 2nd
– Site: Washington University (St. Louis)
– Moderator: Gwen Ifill
– Staging/Answer Format: To be resolved after both parties’ Vice Presidential nominees are selected.

3. Second Presidential Debate
– Date: October 7
– Site: Belmont University
– Moderator: Tom Brokaw
– Staging: Town Hall debate
– Format: The moderator will call on members of the audience (and draw questions from the internet). Each candidate will have 2 minutes to respond to each question. Following those initial answers, the moderator will invite the candidates to respond to the previous answers, for a total of 1 minute, ensuring that both candidates receive an equal amount of time to comment. In the spirit of the Town Hall, all questions will come from the audience (or internet), and not the moderator.

4. Third Presidential Debate
– Date: October 15
– Site: Hofstra University
– Topic: Domestic and Economic policy
– Moderator: Bob Schieffer
– Staging: Candidates will be seated at a table
– Answer Format: Same as First Presidential Debate
– Closing Statements: At the end of this debate (only) each candidate shall have the opportunity for a 90 second closing statement.

All four debates will begin at 9pm ET, and last for 90 minutes. Both campaigns also agreed to accept the CPD’s participation rules for third-party candidate participation.

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  1. What’s wrong with having no moderator questions at all. What’s wrong with having the candidates frame the debate with their own questions? All you need is a time keeper. I distrust all moderators: they are also running for public approval and amount to distractions from the candidates themselves.