August 21st, 2008
09:54 AM ET
10 years ago

Campaigns reach final agreement on presidential debates

(CNN) - The McCain and Obama campaigns said Thursday that they have nailed down the details for this fall’s three 90-minute presidential debates.

As announced two weeks ago, Jim Lehrer of PBS’s The NewsHour will moderate the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain September 26 at the University of Mississippi. The faceoff will focus on foreign policy and national security issues.

Thursday’s announcement laid out the debate format: each candidate will get two minutes to respond to a question, followed by an open discussion for another five minutes.

The second debate, moderated by NBC’s Tom Brokaw, will be held October 7 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The format will be town-hall style; all questions will come from members of the audience or queries sent in over the Internet.

The Presidential Debate Commission said earlier this month that Gallup will choose undecided voters from in or around the Nashville, Tennessee area to participate in the town hall, and Brokaw will review each question before it is posed to avoid duplication.

The final presidential debate – which will cover domestic and economic policy issues - will take place October 15 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer will moderate.

The Hofstra faceoff will be the only debate where each candidate will have the chance to make a 90-second closing statement.

Details of the vice presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, which will be hosted by NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill, will be released after both candidates name their running mates.

soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Should be very interesting.........."the change challenging the past."

    August 21, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. Ndalio

    Lets get ready to rumble!!! We'll hear more Czechoslovakia hehehehehe hahahahahaha hohohohohoho

    August 21, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |

    WADE – University Student – If you get your way and McCain becomes President I hope you haven't made any long term plans. McCain repeated last night August 19th, in one of his town meeting that he supports re-instituting the DRAFT. Bon voyage "my friend" you're of drafting age.

    August 21, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  4. Debby

    If John McCain is anything like he was in the forum Obama doesn't have a prayer. McCain is excellent in town halls, Obama dance's around the question for 10 minutes because he doesn't have the answer.

    August 21, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. Bulldog

    Obama is the more ethical and integral canidate. Obama will be able to restore this nation to pre-Bush much more than the McCain who will only take us down the same path as Bush.

    Enough with all of the lies about Obama, let's talk about issues and quit the personal smear attacks.

    August 21, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Stop playing the "POW" CARD!


    August 21, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. Janey/Michigan

    Too bad Obama would only agree to 3 debates. Can't wait to see JM show how much better he is at everything, including speaking. I hope there will be no teleprompters on hand.

    August 21, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. Anonymous

    McCain can't even say "Let me be clear: I am not questioning his patriotism, I am questioning his judgment" without looking at note cards. Check the video.

    He can't give a simple clarification of his own opinion without reading it so he doesn't get it wrong.

    What can we expect from a candidate who isn't allowed to speak for his own campaign.

    How he expects to perform in a real debate is a mystery. I can't believe this guy is running for president.

    August 21, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. Filipina

    Still for Hillary August 21st, 2008 10:08 am ET
    Obama is going down!!!!!!!!!!

    Did you donate to pay off HC debt yet?

    August 21, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. Bobby Digital

    Prediction: Obama will give thought-out, intelligent responses, filled with his trademark "uh's" and verbal tics, and McCain will repeat his talking points from his stump speech, complete with a a smarmy, self-satisfied, yellow-toothed smile.

    The press will say Obama was too "nuanced" and intellectual, and that McCain was "direct" and "decisive"-

    The left will be proud of their candidate, and the right will make excuses for theirs, then we FINALLY vote.

    August 21, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. Brent, Fort Wayne, Indiana

    McCain will resort to bitter old attacks and fear in his answers at this debate, then he will chuckle and tell everyone he was just trying to lighten the mood. How did my party nominate this bitter bitter old man who suffers from PTSD, and has a black illigitimate child in SC per the W Bush campaign in 2000. Obama will shine, always does. Obama is a thinker, a leader something this nation yearns for after the cowboy the last 7.5 years.


    I believe in Change.

    August 21, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. David

    I don't understand how people can openely give up your freedoms to the government and all the marxist based programs that Obama has proposed.

    Please check out what he really stands for, his ideas are based in Marx not in Jefferson and as American's I think that we are sort of going the wrong way with this guy. I still can't get past the fact that this guy has close ties to such radicals, I mean if you went to an organization for 20 or so years and the message is down with America, then you come out and say don't question my patriotism, that doesn't make sense.

    I also don't understand how he finds it okay to end the life of a child after it had survived and abortion. That's not the morals I want for the leader of the free world.

    August 21, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. PG

    What comes to mind when one sees Panamanian McCain?


    America this fraud McCain is dangerous, very dangerous for America!

    Let's debate this issue and his entire military record now!

    August 21, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. Stop playing the "POW" CARD!





    August 21, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  15. NW Dem

    @ Rodham Democrat:

    "I don't like these Southerners dominating the audience for the first two debates b/c the South does not represent America"

    No one part of the country completely "represents America." The South is just as representative as any. Besides, isn't Hillary a Southerner?

    August 21, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. vic nashville,Tn

    Three debates not enough
    We need more
    One debate moderate by CNN Wolf Blitzer
    Hillary 08 or Mc Cain 08

    August 21, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Hakim Rasheed

    This is where Senator Obama will pull away from John McCain. he's more intelligent, better spoken, and is a REAL leader advocating REAL change!

    Obama/ Reed 08-12

    August 21, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. anon

    Too bad Obama went back on his word to hold more town hall type meetings with McCain. I'd like to see both answer more questions off the cuff rather than reciting memorized catch phrases.

    August 21, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. Scott

    It’s so typical how the Liberals resort to name calling, I guess we will have to listen to it for another 4 years. BUT they are getting good at it.

    August 21, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. Ex-Republican

    Three Debates is Enough – If handled correctly by Leher & Brokaw. If you want detailed info on the candidates' platforms – Go to their individual web sites.

    The debates should be fair – same line of questioning and time limits adhered to by both candidates. Without being biased, The TYPES of questions should be diversified enough to reflect most all of our society – THIS IS WHERE THE RICK WARREN FORUM FAILED. Both Leher and Brokaw need to keep both McCain and Obama under their control at all times.

    August 21, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. RFP

    is 2 minutes enough time to give an answer to something? wouldn't we benefit from hearing more from the candidates on the issues?

    August 21, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. William, from Cali!

    "Debates"- three more chances, for both candidates to "flip-flop 'round the Real issues"; we face everyday and one for the VP's................. Just more "Just words", more "lies", more "kissing babies", more "maybes", and more "more lies"........haven't we heard enough? My ears are ringing! Let's "just vote"!...........................and get this "Soap opera" over!

    August 21, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  23. BxGrrl

    I can't wait – McSame will be reduced to channelling Capt. Queeg within 15 minutes.

    August 21, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. Mike, TX

    High risk for Obama to agree to anything without a teleprompter present. He's too shallow to understand what he is talking about. Look for a receiver in his ear with a direct line to Soros, NARAL and the wacky radical left fringe of the democratic party.

    August 21, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. Worst...Resume...Ever....

    Obama keeps running away from the town hall meetings. Less opportunities to not have responses that are written by other people, that are scripted, and are rehearsed the better, I guess.

    This guy is a con artist.

    August 21, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
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