Bush, Gore reach agreement on debate formats
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Ending weeks of haggling, officials for the Bush and Gore campaigns announced Saturday that they had agreed on a variety of formats for three upcoming presidential debates.
The first presidential debate will follow the traditional two-podium format; the second will have the candidates seated at a table; and the third will be conducted in a town-hall format. During the one vice presidential debate, the candidates will be seated at a table.
The 90-minute debates will be October 3 in Boston, October 11 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and October 17 in St. Louis. Vice presidential candidates Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman will face off in Danville, Kentucky, on October 5.
The two camps had agreed Thursday to participate in the debates sponsored by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, but were still hashing out the details. After three days of meetings, the two sides emerged late Saturday afternoon and announced the agreement on formats.
PBS newsman Jim Lehrer has agreed to moderate all three presidential debates. The moderator for the vice presidential debate is expected to be announced next week.
"In all of the debates there will be an opportunity for a very free-flowing, substantive, real and genuine discussion of the issues," said Don Evans, chairman of the Bush campaign.
"The American people will have a unique opportunity to see in different formats both of these candidates, one of whom will be the next president of the United States," said William Daley, chairman of the Gore campaign.
Earlier Saturday, Bush said in an interview with CNN's "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields" that he was looking forward to debating Gore on a variety of issues.
"Look, I want to debate the man," Bush said. "Now I understand that he's a great debater, but I've got something to say."
Bush had originally agreed to just one commission debate and had pushed for more informal debates that would have been aired on individual networks, one on CNN and another on NBC. Gore had insisted on adhering to the commission's timetable and proposal for three debates, which will be carried by all the networks and reach a larger audience.