PRESS RELEASE from the Commission on Presidential Debates

October 5, 2012 Contact: Janet H. Brown

For immediate release


The format for the first and fourth presidential debates calls for six 15‐minute segments on topics selected and announced in advance by the moderators. After the moderator asks a question, the candidates each have two minutes to answer. After their answers, the moderator’s job is to facilitate a conversation on the topic for the balance of the 15 minutes before moving to the next topic. The Commission on Presidential Debates’ goal in selecting this format was to have a serious discussion of the major domestic and foreign policy issues with minimal interference by the moderator or timing signals. Jim Lehrer implemented the format exactly as it was designed by the CPD and announced in July.

More information, including the July 2012 format announcement, is on the CPD’s website at