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Fall Debate Schedule Announced

By Anne E. Kornblut
RICHMOND, Va. -- The Obama and McCain campaigns announced this morning that they will participate in the standard number of general election debates -- putting to rest the "debate over the debates" that lurked at the edge of the race.

The schedule, as announced, is as follows:

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.

First 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.

By Web Politics Editor  |  August 21, 2008; 9:36 AM ET
Categories:  The Debates  
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Next: Dems Pounce on McCain Admission He Doesn't Know How Many Houses He Owns


What exactly is a per-debate, AK?

Posted by: ss | August 21, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible to get some new blood in the moderator position.? Lehrer is an old tired face and Brokaw will end up talking more than the candidates do. Ifill and Scheiffer might be OK.

Posted by: danielhancock | August 21, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Ever ask Cindy or John McCain what they pay for the price of arugula at Whole Foods? Where they shop? Do you know how filthy rich the McCain's are? Where the hell do you think they shop for their groceries? Walmart?! Costco?! Hell no. And do you really think they give a rat's ass about how much anything costs at the grocery store? They're filthy filthy rich! They send somebody out to buy the stuff for them. But Obama, he makes a comment about the price of arugula at Whole Foods and all of a sudden he becomes an elitist! Obama actaully makes a reference to the price of food going up and bam! Oh my God he's out of touch! And what's that makes John McCain? In touch? The guy can't even open an Email or rememeber how many houses he owns!!! Come on, there's good arguing points and bad arguing points, and this one is so ridiculously misleading and that it's like calling the color of the sun blue.

Posted by: Whole Foods Stock Boy, AZ | August 21, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The debates are really going to be interesting. In the church this Mccain never answered a question and was allowed to get away with just repeating memorized talking points from stump speeches. We have all seen what a complete screw up he is in the town hall meetings, the debates I have a feeling will be brutal. Mccain may be like the Bogart character in the "Cain Mutiny". This may be the "Mccain Mutiny", as he melts down in front of 90 million people.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

To Longtime DC Resident:

Are you suggesting that McCain ISN'T political scum that has been rotting Washington and our nation?

Remember when Lieberman had to correct him midspeech about the trouble in the middle east?

Remember when he admitted that he didn't know a lot about economic policy?

Remember when he admitted that he didn't know how many homes he owns?

Remember when he declared the war won in 2003?

You'd rather have that guy in the oval office?

Posted by: earl | August 21, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"Omitted from your schedule is the per-debate excuse/accusation Obama will have for losing."

Allow me to help:

Debate #1: McCain will cheat by having Karl Rove transmit the answers to him via a buzzer in his pocket that vibrates morse code against his thigh.

Debate #2: Obama will be blinded by a lamp precisely calibrated by the ghost of Lee Atwater to shine in his face when he does that rightward head-tilt look-up thing.

Debate #3: Pro-McCain questions selected in advance by an impossibly complicated conspiracy involving the Freemasons, the Trilateral Commission, Jeff Gannon, Alcoa, Scooter Libby, Fox News, and the Carlyle Group.

Posted by: AK | August 21, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

So from how many town hall meeting Obama had stated he would join McCain on, all we get is 3 debates and one VP debate?


Good for you Barack "I weasel myself out of more debates and town hall meetings" Obama.

YAY Change!
YAY to a new way of running your campaign!
YAY for a new way of politics.

You are nothing more than the same political scum that has been rotting Washington and our nation.

Posted by: Longtime DC Resident | August 21, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"Obama will come off as a cool, normal guy."

Yeah, nothing says "cool, normal guy" like a "community organizer" (whatever the hell that means) who complains about the price of arugula at Whole Foods.

Posted by: AK | August 21, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, right. McCain will come off as the @sshole he is. What a jerk. He's going to huff and puff and be smug, just like he was during the primaries, and Obama will come off as a cool, normal guy. After all, he doesn't own six houses or rock $500 shoes, does he?

Posted by: Jeff | August 21, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Dear Anne,

Omitted from your schedule is the per-debate excuse/accusation Obama will have for losing.

In the second-to-last debate, it was Stephanopolous accused of sandbagging Obama at the ABC News debate, when he pressed with questions about Rev. Wright that were on everyone's mind for weeks.

In the last debate ("forum"), it's McCain being accused of cheating -- in a forum where the candidates were asked to explain only themselves -- their own beliefs, ideas and defining personal experiences.

There should be at least tentative grievances/accusations entered for why Obama will lose the debates on the schedule. After all, he has won zero debates in 23 so far this election cycle!

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 21, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

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