WASHINGTON, D.C. - Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Michael D. McCurry, co-chairmen of the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), today announced the moderators for the 2012 general election presidential and vice presidential debates. The moderators, and the schedule and locations for the debates (as announced on October 31, 2011), are as follows:
Fahrenkopf and McCurry said that, "The new formats chosen for this year's debates are designed to focus big time blocks on major domestic and foreign topics. These journalists bring extensive experience to the job of moderating, and understand the importance of using the expanded time periods to maximum benefit. We are grateful for their willingness to moderate, and confident that the public will learn more about the candidates and the issues as a result."
The format for the debates, announced on July 25, 2012, will be:
First presidential debate
The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.
The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.
Vice presidential debate
The debate will cover both foreign and domestic topics and be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the question.
Second presidential debate
The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have two minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.
Third presidential debate
The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate and will focus on foreign policy.
All debates will take place from 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time. There will be no opening statements and two-minute closing statements in all the debates. In all the debates except town meeting, the CPD recommends that the candidates be seated at a table with the moderator.
The CPD is undertaking an innovative internet-based voter education program that will encourage citizens to become familiar with the issues to be discussed in the debates, and to share their input with the debate moderators in advance of the debates. The program, which will be announced later this month, will be led by a coalition of internet leaders.The CPD has sponsored and produced all the presidential and vice presidential debates since 1987, the year it was established. For more information, please visit www.debates.org.