McCain and Obama Reach Agreement on Debates

By Natalie Gewargis

Aug 21, 2008 9:42am

The campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and John McCain, R-Ariz., today announced they’d agreed to the general framework for three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate this Fall.

A joint statement issued by both camps claims the "campaigns have come to the earliest agreement on presidential debates reached in any general election in recent history." The terms were negotiated by Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Illinois, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC.

None of the presidential debates are taking place in a battleground state, which seems dumb. Two are taking place in the South, but none in New Orelans, despite the pleas of local officials.

Two of the moderators will be from PBS, and nome will be from ABC News, which also seems quite idiotic to me.

All four debates will begin at 9pm ET, and last for 90 minutes.  The sked, format, etc. etc., is as follows:

Sept 26: First presidential debate:
*Site:  University of Mississippi
*Topic:  Foreign Policy & National Security
*Moderator:  Jim Lehrer, PBS
*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

Oct 2:.Vice Presidential debate
*Site:  Washington University (St. Louis)
*Moderator:  Gwen Ifill, PBS
*Staging/Answer Format:  To be resolved after both parties’ Vice Presidential nominees are selected.

Oct 7:.Second presidential debate
*Site:  Belmont University (Nashville, Tenn.)
*Moderator:  Tom Brokaw, NBC
*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.

Oct 15:.Third presidential debate
*Site:  Hofstra University (Long Island, NY)
*Topic:  Domestic and Economic policy
*Moderator:  Bob Schieffer, CBS
*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. 

- jpt

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