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Commission on Presidential Debates Announces Moderators

Aug 13, 2004



Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., and Paul G. Kirk, Jr., co-chairmen of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), today announced moderators for the 2004 general election debates. The moderators, and the schedule and locations for the debates (as announced on November 6, 2003), are as follows:

First presidential debate:
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL
Thursday, September 30
Jim Lehrer
Anchor and Executive Editor, The NewsHour, PBS

Vice presidential debate:
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH
Tuesday, October 5
Gwen Ifill
Senior Correspondent, The NewsHour, and Moderator, Washington Week, PBS

Second presidential debate:
Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO
Friday, October 8
Charles Gibson
Co-Anchor, ABC News Good Morning America

Third presidential debate:
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ
Wednesday, October 13
Bob Schieffer
CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent, and Moderator, Face the Nation

Each debate shall begin at 9:00 p.m. EDT.


Format

The format for the debates, as announced on June 17, 2004, shall be as follows:

  • Each debate shall have a single moderator and last for 90 minutes.
  • In the first and third presidential debates and the vice presidential debate the candidates shall be seated with the moderator at a table.
  • The first presidential debate shall focus primarily on domestic policy and the third presidential debate shall focus primarily on foreign policy. The second presidential debate shall be held as a town meeting in which citizens will pose questions to the candidates. The vice presidential debate shall cover both foreign and domestic policy topics.
  • There shall be no opening statements; there shall be two-minute closing statements.
  • The order of questioning and closing statements shall be determined by coin toss.
  • The moderator's job in the first and third presidential debates and the vice presidential debate will be to introduce and change topics, to ensure that the participants have equal time, and to encourage some direct exchange among the candidates. The moderators will select all topics and questions.
  • In the second presidential debate, the town meeting participants will pose their questions to the candidates. The town meeting participants will review their questions with the moderator before the debate for the sole purpose of avoiding duplicate questions. The participants in the town meeting, to be chosen by the Gallup Organization, will be undecided voters from the St. Louis, Missouri, standard metropolitan statistical area.
  • The moderators will have discretion to ask follow-up questions in all debates.
  • Each debate shall take place before a live audience.


Participants

The CPD's 2004 Nonpartisan Candidate Selection Criteria, announced September 24, 2003, shall be the exclusive means of determining the candidates to be invited to participate in the debates.



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