The Commission on Presidential Debates reveals the formats for the fall’s four 90-minute debates.
From the release:
First presidential debate (October 3, 2012, University of Denver, Denver, CO)
The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.
The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.
Vice presidential debate (October 11, 2012, Centre College, Danville, KY)
The debate will cover both foreign and domestic topics and be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the question.
Second presidential debate (October 16, 2012, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY)
The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have two minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.
Third presidential debate (October 22, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL)
The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate and will focus on foreign policy.
These are pretty good formats. So far, unlike the last time there was an incumbent running, there is no indication that the Obama White House will try to blow up the formats, dates, etc.