1. First Presidential Debate:So the moderators are PBS, PBS, NBC and CBS. All TV, of course, no print journalists. No cable personalities, either.
* Date: September 26
* Site: University of Mississippi
* Topic: Foreign Policy & National Security
* Moderator: Jim Lehrer
* Staging: Podium debate
* Answer Format: The debate will be broken into nine, 9-minute segments. The moderator will introduce a topic and allow each candidate 2 minutes to comment. After these initial answers, the moderator will facilitate an open discussion of the topic for the remaining 5 minutes, ensuring that both candidates receive an equal amount of time to comment
2. Vice Presidential Debate
* Date: October 2nd
* Site: Washington University (St. Louis)
* Moderator: Gwen Ifill
* Staging/Answer Format: To be resolved after both parties’ Vice Presidential nominees are selected.
3. Second Presidential Debate
* Date: October 7
* Site: Belmont University (Nnashville)
* Moderator: Tom Brokaw
* Staging: Town Hall debate
* Format: The moderator will call on members of the audience (and draw questions from the internet). Each candidate will have 2 minutes to respond to each question. Following those initial answers, the moderator will invite the candidates to respond to the previous answers, for a total of 1 minute, ensuring that both candidates receive an equal amount of time to comment. In the spirit of the Town Hall, all questions will come from the audience (or internet), and not the moderator.
4. Third Presidential Debate
* Date: October 15
* Site: Hofstra University
* Topic: Domestic and Economic policy
* Moderator: Bob Schieffer
* Staging: Candidates will be seated at a table
* Answer Format: Same as First Presidential Debate
* Closing Statements: At the end of this debate (only) each candidate shall have the opportunity for a 90 second closing statement.
I anticipate we will see thoughtful responses from Obama and canned stump speech material from McCain, with the latter still being graded on the curve by the pundits. McCain's material will not be well tied together. Stump speeches are reflex and don't require much thought. I'll be watching the old man for signs of confusion, of course.