Election Connection

Everything's in Moderation

While the 2008 primaries allowed flexibility in debate format, with a larger number of debates and experimentation with events like the YouTube debates, the two-candidate presidential debates remain a traditional (and quite formal) exercise in American politics. In keeping with tradition, some familiar faces have been tasked with asking the tough questions of Sens. Obama and McCain.

NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer will host the first presidential debate, in Oxford, Mississippi on Sept. 26, and Senior Correspondent Gwen Ifill will host the vice presidential debate on Oct. 2 in St. Louis, Missouri. NewsHour details the focus of the three presidential debates and role of the moderators, who also include NBC's Tom Brokaw and CBS' Bob Schieffer.

To learn more about how to see a debate or how they are run, check out the Commission on Presidential Debates, which sponsors and coordinates the mandated presidential and vice presidential debates.

Take a quick quiz on presidential debates at the NewsHour's Debating Our Destiny project, and learn about the different types of debates.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications' exhibit on the history of televised presidential debates examines questions like "Has television reshaped politics?" and compiles spin and clips from the debates from 1960 through 2000.

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