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President Obama and Mitt Romney will face off in three debates this October in formats mirroring those used four years ago.
"There are serious issues facing this country, and the public has the right to expect a serious examination of those issues during this fall’s debates," the Commission on Presidential Debates said in a statement Wednesday announcing the debate formats.
Round one will take place on October 3 at the University of Denver in Colorado. The moderator, to be selected in August, will facilitate conversation about domestic issues in six 15-minute segments. The third debate, slated for October 22 at Lynn University in Florida, will focus on foreign policy and take the same format, except that candidates will sit at a table with the moderator rather than stand at lecterns.
The second presidential debate, on October 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will take a town hall meeting format. Undecided voters, selected by Gallup, will pose questions and a moderator will facilitate. In 2008, the town-hall-style debate attracted some 63.2 million viewers, the New York Times reports.
Joe Biden and whoever Romney picks to be his running mate will face off in a debate on October 11 at Centre College in Danville, Ky. A moderator will select questions to steer a conversation on domestic and foreign issues.
The format was a success four years ago, Time points out, and it looks promising it will work well this time around. The Obama campaign isn't likely to flex its muscles to alter the schedule, as happened the last time an incumbent ran for the White House.