Top 5 Things to Know about the Presidential Debate
Get the latest intel on Washington's fiscal woes.Close
The first presidential debate is this evening – here are the five things you need to know in advance of the discussion:
- The Particulars. The debate begins at 9 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. CT and will last 90 minutes. It will be carried on most major networks. According to CNN, “Moderator Jim Lehrer will open each segment with a question, after which both candidates will have exactly two minutes to respond. Lehrer is expected to use the remaining time in each segment for quick follow ups and discussion time. The candidates are not permitted to ask each other questions. President Obama will take the first question and the candidates will alternate after that.” This debate will focus only on domestic policy.
- Can Debates Affect The Election? Definitely, according to Chuck Todd of NBC News, who looked back at some key gaffes made in presidential debates past. Todd says debate comments from Gerald Ford, Michael Dukakis and George H.W. Bush all “cemented” the voters’ inclinations to vote against them in the election. Todd also says after the 1960 presidential debate – the first ever general election debate and the first ever televised – more than half of voters said they debates mattered to their vote.
- Who Decides What Questions To Ask? The short answer the moderators chosen by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Tonight that is PBS’s Jim Lehrer. The second presidential debate will be in a town hall format with questions asked by “undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.” CBS’s Bob Schieffer will moderate the third debate between President Obama and Gov. Romney while ABC’s Martha Raddatz will handle the debate between the vice presidential candidates.
- What Questions Are Likely To Get Asked? President Obama is likely to be asked about a persistently high unemployment rate, low growth, his 2010 health care bill and rising debt. We also think the President might be asked to explain his July 2012 comments telling small business owners they “didn’t build that” and Vice President Biden’s remarks yesterday saying the middle class has been “buried” for the last four years. Mitt Romney will be asked to flesh out details for his tax and entitlement reform plans. He’s also likely to be asked about the health care reform legislation he passed in Massachusetts, his plans to cut Medicare and to clarify his comments that “47 percent” of Americans would not vote for him because they are too dependent on government.
- When Is The Next Debate? The two vice presidential candidates will meet Thursday, Oct. 11 for their one and only debate. The two candidates at the top of the ticket will meet again on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 9 p.m. ET and on Monday, Oct. 22, also at 9 p.m.