The non-partisan, non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates ("CPD") announced today that it has applied its Non-Partisan Candidate Selection Criteria for 2004 General Election Debate participation to determine eligibility to participate in the presidential debate to take place at Washington University in St. Louis on October 8.
Pursuant to the criteria, which were publicly announced on September 24, 2003, those candidates qualify for debate participation who (1) are constitutionally eligible to hold the office of President of the United States; (2) have achieved ballot access in a sufficient number of states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority in the general election; and (3) have demonstrated a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate, as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations' most recent publicly-reported results.
The Board of Directors of the CPD convened today to apply the criteria with the assistance of the Editor-In-Chief of the Gallup Polling Organization, Dr. Frank Newport. Of the declared candidates, President George W. Bush and Senator John F. Kerry were found to have satisfied all three criteria. Accordingly, President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry qualify to participate in the October 8 presidential debate. No other candidates satisfied the criteria for inclusion in the October 8 debate.
The candidates who have qualified to participate today previously have committed to participate in the debates sponsored by the CPD.
As previously announced, on Tuesday, October 5, Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards will participate in a vice presidential debate sponsored by the CPD. The debate will take place on the campus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.