Campaigns Agree on Debate Dates, Formats

Obama, McCain agree to three presidential debates Sept. 26, Oct. 7 and Oct. 15, one VP debate Oct. 2.

The campaigns of Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) agreed to hold three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate, calling it the earliest time “in recent history” that two sides in a presidential campaign have reached agreement.

The first presidential debate will be Sept. 26 at the University of Mississippi. The topic will be foreign policy and the moderator will be Jim Lehrer, host of PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. The format will be two-minute comments from each candidate on various topics raised buy the moderator, followed by a five-minute open discussion on each.

The second will be the VP debate Oct. 2 at Washington University in St. Louis, moderated by Gwen Ifill, a senior correspondent for PBS and host/moderator of Washington Week. The format will be decided after the VP picks are announced.

The second presidential debate will be Oct. 7 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. NBC’s Tom Brokaw, the former Nightly News anchor currently serving as interim host of Meet the Press, will moderate and the format will be a town hall-style discussion.

The final debate will be Oct. 15 at Hofstra University in New York. Bob Schieffer, CBS’ chief Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation, will moderate and the format will be the same as the first debate.

All of the debates will be 90 minutes in primetime, 9 p.m.-10:30 p.m.