Presidential debate formats announced

Barack Obama and John McCain participate in a presidential debate at Hofstra University on October 15, 2008 in Hempstead, New York. GARY HERSHORN/AFP/Getty Images

Barack Obama and John McCain participate in a presidential debate at Hofstra University on October 15, 2008 in Hempstead, New York.
GARY HERSHORN/AFP/Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the formats of this fall's presidential and vice presidential debates.

The first presidential debate, on Oct. 3 at the University of Denver, will focus solely on domestic issues. The debate will consist of six 15-minute segments with questions selected by the moderator. Each candidate will get two minutes to respond to each question and the remainder of each segment will be a discussion of a specific issue. The third and final presidential debate will take place Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., and will focus on foreign policy. The format will be identical to the first domestic policy debate.

The second presidential debate on Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will be a town meeting-style format in which undecided voters, selected by the Gallup Organization, will ask the candidates questions.

The vice presidential debate, covering both domestic and foreign topics, will take place Oct. 11, at Centre College in Danville, Ky. The debate will consist of nine 10-minute segments and the format will be similar to the first and third presidential debates.

Each debate will be 90 minutes.

Moderators will be announced by the commission in August. In 2008, PBS' Jim Lehrer, CBS News' Bob Schieffer and NBC News' Tom Brokaw moderated the presidential debates, and PBS' Gwen Ifill moderated the vice presidential debate.

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