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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Obama And McCain Campaigns Agree On Format For Debates

The Obama and McCain campaigns just jointly announced that they've reached an agreement on the format for three presidential debates and one veep one.

The agreement features an interesting variety of staging choices, from open discussions to town-hall-style questions from the audience. All four debates will begin at 9 P.M. and last 90 minutes. A quick summary of the format:

* On September 26th, the topic will be foreign policy and national security, and the debate will be broken into nine, 9-minute segments. The presidential candidates will each get two minutes to comment after a moderator introduces a topic, followed by an open discussion of it for five minutes.

* On October 2nd, the veep candidates will debate, and the staging and answer format will be resolved after the veep wannabes are chosen.

* On October 7th, the presidential candidates will hold a town hall debate, taking questions from the audience and the Internet. The candidates will have two minutes to answer each question, after which the candidates will have a minute to respond to their opponent's previous answers.

* On October 15th, the topic will be domestic and economic policy, and the format will be the same as the first presidential debate, but the candidates will additionally have the chance to make a 90-second closing argument.

The campaigns' full agreement after the jump.

ARLINGTON, VA -- Today, the McCain and Obama campaigns released the following statement on the Presidential debates:

"The Barack Obama and John McCain campaigns have agreed to hold three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate in September and October sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The campaigns have come to the earliest agreement on presidential debates reached in any general election in recent history. This announcement reflects the presidential campaigns' agreement on dates, locations, and the formats for the fall debates. Campaign-appointed debate negotiators House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said they were pleased to have reached an early agreement to provide the American people with the opportunity to see and hear the candidates debate the critical issues facing the country. The two campaigns have accepted sponsorship of the debates by the Commission on Presidential Debates, subject to the debates being conducted under the terms of their agreement."

Summary Of McCain-Obama Debate Agreement:

The two campaigns agreed today on a framework for four General Election debates, to be sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Key elements of the agreement are:

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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