Presidential Debates

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has announced the dates and times of the upcoming debates (see schedule below). The first one is on Friday of this week.

The CPD’s website has this to say about the “breakthrough” format for discussion:

“Both campaigns, without public controversy, with quiet cooperation and with minor revisions, have agreed to CPD’s proposal that each debate will be divided into issue segments allowing time for each candidate to comment on that issue followed by a free-flow conversation/ discussion between the candidates including the possibility of direct exchange between the candidates.

“These formats are an historic breakthrough in the history of televised debates. Televised debates have been hampered by restrictive time limits resulting in scripted, poll-tested, bumper sticker responses. In 2008, when stakes are higher than ever, issues more complex than ever, voter interest more intense than ever, voter education calls for a more expansive discussion between the leading candidates for president and vice president of the United States on the issues confronting America. The Commission commends Senators Obama and McCain for their understanding and acceptance of this need.”

First presidential debate: foreign policy and national security, moderated by Jim Lehrer
Friday, September 26, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss.

Vice presidential debate: all topics, moderated by Gwen Ifill
Thursday, October 2, Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

Second presidential debate: all topics in town meeting format, moderated by Tom Brokaw
Tuesday, October 7, Belmont University, Nashville, TN

Third presidential debate: the economy and domestic policy, moderated by Bob Schieffer
Wednesday, October 15, Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.

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