President Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney will face off in three televised debates this coming October: one on domestic policy, one on foreign policy, and a third town-hall-style event where undecided voters will quiz the candidates.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the 2012 debates format on July 25 in a press release.
The first debate will be held October 3 at the University of Denver and will be divided into six 15-minute segments. The moderator will be announced a few weeks before the debate. The first debate will focus on domestic policy and the candidates will have two minutes to answer each question from the moderator.
The second debate, to be held October 16, will be conducted in a townhall-style format. The polling firm Gallup will choose an audience of undecided, likely voters who will be charged with asking the candidates questions. Candidates will have ten minutes to answer. The debate will be held at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York.
The third event will be centered on foreign policy and will be held on October 22 at Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida.The foreign policy debate will be conducted in the same style as the first debate.
A fourth debate for the vice presidential candidates will be held on October 11 at Centre College, Danville, Kentucky.
"The debates are the most widely-watched political programs of any kind," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Michael D. McCurry, co-chairmen of the CPD, in a statement released to the press. "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."
The CPD has sponsored all the presidential debates since 1987.