The 2012 Presidential debate schedule has been set. President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will debate three times ahead of the November election, focusing on a different topic each time. In addition, Vice President Joe Biden will face off once against Congressman Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate on the Republican ticket. The full debate schedule is below, as well as information regarding time, place, subject matter, and why each is worth watching.
October 3, 2012: Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney
Time: 9 to 10:30 PM EST
Moderator: NewsHour host Jim Lehrer
Place: University of Denver
Topic: Domestic Policy
Why it’s important to watch: Lehrer will begin each of the six time segments with a question, and the candidates will each have two minutes to respond. The remainder of the time will be used for discussion, and here, you can bet they’ll talk about the economy, jobs, government spending, and health care. These are pressing issues affecting all Americans, and anyone with an opinion on Big vs. Small government—or concerns that Romney and the Republicans might try to overturn “Obamacare”—should tune in.
Why it’s important to watch: Come January 2013, either Biden or Ryan will be a heartbeat away from the presidency. With this debate, they’ll use nine 10-minute segments to tackle a wide range of topics—everything from homegrown economic issues to America’s role in the Middle East, where troubles with Iran and violence in Syria remain vexing.
Topic: Town Meeting on Foreign and Domestic Policy
Why it’s important to watch: Here, regular Americans—undecided voters picked by Gallup, to be precise—will get to ask the candidates questions about the issues they believe matter most. This will be a chance to see how Obama and Romney relate to everyday folks. Look for Romney to tone down his rhetoric about how 47% of the U.S. population feels entitled to government services and—by virtue of having already decided to vote for Obama—doesn’t matter to his campaign.
Why it’s important to watch: Following the same format as the first debate, Schieffer will ask Obama and Romney about overseas matters, and there is no shortage of them. How will America handle Afghanistan? Iraq? Syria? Egypt? We’ve also got continuing border troubles with Mexico, and Europe’s economy is a mess. Ninety minutes won’t be enough to address all the world’s problems, but this will give voters a sense of where each candidate would lead the nation in the next four years.
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