NIE Tampa Bay Times Election 2012

2012 Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates

There will be three presidential and one vice presidential debate during the 2012 general election.

"The mission of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is to ensure, for the benefit of the American electorate, that general election debates are held every four years between the leading candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States. The CPD was established in 1987, and has sponsored all presidential and vice presidential general election debates since 1988." CPD,

Three criteria are used to determine which candidates qualify to participate in one or more of the CPD’s debates:

  1. 1. Constitutional eligibility
  2. 2. Ballot access (candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College)
  3. 3. Electoral support (candidates must have a level of support of at least fifteen percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations' most recent publicly-reported results at the time of the determination)

Candidates must meet all three criteria before being invited to debate.

User Guide: How to Watch NewsHour's Coverage of the Presidential Debate"

The Debates

  • First presidential debate:
  • Wednesday, October 3
  • University of Denver, Denver, CO
  • Moderator: Jim Lehrer, Executive Editor of the PBS NewsHour

  • Vice presidential debate:
  • Thursday, October 11
  • Centre College, Danville, KY
  • Moderator: Martha Raddatz, Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent, ABC News

  • Second presidential debate (town meeting format):
  • Tuesday, October 16
  • Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Moderator: Candy Crowley, Chief Political Correspondent, CNN and Anchor, CNN's State of the Union

  • Third presidential debate:
  • Monday, October 22
  • Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
  • Moderator: Bob Schieffer, Chief Washington Correspondent, CBS News and Moderator, Face the Nation

All debates will take place from 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time.