Presidential debates

The first of three presidential debates between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama will be held this Friday, September 26th.  The Commission on Presidential Debates reports that the schedule is as follows:

  • First presidential debate: Friday, September 26
    Moderated by Jim Lehrer
  • Second presidential debate: Tuesday, October 7
    Moderated by Tom Brokaw
  • Third presidential debate: Wednesday, October 15
    Moderated by Bob Schieffer

The first debate will focus on domestic issues, the third on foreign policy, and the second will be town hall format featuring a variety of questions from citizens.  Conventional wisdom states that stakes are higher for Obama, whose campaign has been partly based on his ability to inspire people.  The two candidates have very different styles, as demonstrated at the Saddleback forum and the Public Service forum; both candidates spoke at both events, but did not share the stage.

Sarah Palin and Joe Biden will debate once, on Thursday, October 2nd.  Conventional wisdom is that Biden, a much more skilled and experienced politician, should outperform Palin, especially on foreign policy matters.  As with the first and third presidential debates, the candidates will be seated at a table with the moderator, Gwen Ifill.  All four debates will begin at 9pm EST and will last 90 minutes. 

The AP has an interesting story on notable presidential debates through history, “Hazards in a half century of presidential debates.”

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