When are the 2012 presidential debates?

Paul Conner Executive Editor
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President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney are scheduled to meet in three debates in October, the Commission on Presidential Debates has announced.

Vice President Joe Biden and the Republican vice presidential nominee will square off once, also in October. The debates will come nearly a month before the November election, as each ticket seeks to sway the last remaining undecided voters.

Rather than having the candidates standing on a flashy stage, the commission — a nonprofit, nonpartisan group –recommended that the nominees sit around a table with a sole moderator. Moderators will be announced in August for each of the 90-minute debates.

The commission also said it plans to launch an “innovative Internet-based voter education program.”

“The debates are the most widely-watched political programs of any kind,” commission Co-Chairmen Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Michael D. McCurry said in a statement. “These format changes are designed to promote substantive dialogue before, during and between the debates about the major issues of the day. They will permit citizens and candidates to come prepared for a series of voter education forums that inform and engage the public.”

Read the 2012 debate schedule:

First presidential debate:

When: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 9 p.m. EDT

Where: University of Denver, Denver, Colo.

Topic: Domestic policy

Format: Six segments of approximately 15 minutes, with two-minute response times to each question

Vice presidential debate:

When: Thursday, Oct. 11, 9 p.m. EDT

Where: Centre College, Danville, Kent.

Topic: Foreign and domestic topics

Format: Nine segments of approximately 10 minutes each, with two-minute response times to each question

Second presidential debate:

When: Tuesday, Oct. 16, 9 p.m. EDT

Where: Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.

Topic: Foreign and domestic topics

Format: Town hall meeting, with undecided voters asking questions of the candidates, who have two minutes to respond. Moderator may use an additional minute to continue the conversation.

Third presidential debate:

When: Monday, Oct. 22, 9 p.m. EDT

Where: Lynn University, Boca Raton, Fla.

Topic: Foreign policy

Format: Six segments of approximately 15 minutes, with two-minute response times to each question

Will a third-party candidate like Libertarian Gary Johnson participate? He must be constitutionally eligible, appear on enough state ballots to have a mathematical chance to win a majority vote in the Electoral College and reach at least 15 percent in national polls of five polling organizations.

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