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21 August 2008

McCain, Obama Accept Fall Debate Schedule

Today, the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Barack Obama announced that they have agreed to hold three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate in September and October sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

According to a joint statement released by the two campaigns, the two candidates have come to the earliest agreement on presidential debates reached in any general election in recent history.

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.

Below is a summary of the McCain-Obama debate agreement

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
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.
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.
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.