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Presidential debate schedule finalized

The Bush and Clinton campaigns jointly announced Saturday a final, intensive schedule of three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate between Oct. 11 and 19.

The two campaigns agreed to invite the independent ticket of Ross Perot and retired Adm. James Stockdale to join the major-party candidates in the debates. The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which will sponsor the events, is expected to issue the official invitation to Perot and Stockdale today.

The evening debates, which will be 90 minutes in length, will be conducted before audiences and will be open to all subjects, the negotiators said.

The schedule presents some potential conflicts with professional football games and the upcoming major league baseball playoff and World Series games.

Here is the schedule and format, worked out in telephone conferences Saturday between teams led by Clinton-Gore campaign chairman Mickey Kantor in Little Rock, Ark., and Bush-Quayle chairman Robert Teeter in Washington:

Sunday, Oct. 11 _ Presidential debate in St. Louis. A panel of journalists, to be agreed upon from lists submitted by each side, will do the questioning, as President Bush originally had wanted for all debates.

Tuesday, Oct. 13 _ Vice-presidential debate in Atlanta. A single moderator will question the three candidates, as proposed by the commission and originally accepted for all debates by Gov. Bill Clinton. The moderator is to be agreed upon by the candidates.

Thursday, Oct. 15 _ Presidential debate, Richmond, Va. A single moderator will solicit questions from an audience and "ask appropriate follow-up questions," the joint Clinton-Bush statement declared.

Monday, Oct. 19 _ Presidential debate, East Lansing, Mich. A single moderator will preside over the first half, with a panel of journalists asking questions in the second half.

"The campaigns believe that this unique combination of presidential debates in a nine-day period is in the interest of the public, which desires an extensive and intensive discussion of the issues facing the country," the statement said.

Clinton won a major point in getting the Republicans to give up their demand for a debate as late as Nov. 1, only two days before the election and too late to recover from a televised misstep.

The Republicans won a point in denying the commission a role in controlling the format.