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Search GovSpot or Google |   Great Must-See sites   |   Read Articles and Lists | Find answers | Did you know?  
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The Great Debate

Presidential debates are usually held in the last couple months of the election cycle, after the political parties have nominated their candidates. The candidates meet in a large hall, often at a university, before an audience of citizens and journalists who often pose questions for the candidates to answer. The topics discussed in the debate are often the most controversial issues of the time, and some have said that performance at the debates are a key influence in who will win the election.

The nation's first-ever televised presidential debate was held in 1960, between Republican Vice President Richard Nixon and Sen. John F. Kennedy, D-Mass. The event drew more than 66 million viewers out of a population of 179 million, making it one of the most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history. From then, a number of debates between presidential candidates and their running mates have been televised, with the event now a mainstay in the election process. The first debate between current Presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain took place on Sept. 26, with an estimated 65 million Americans watching.

The 2008 Debate Lineup:

  • Watch the First Presidential Debate.
    Sept. 26 - University of Mississippi, Oxford.

  • Watch the Vice Presidential Debate.
    Oct. 2 - Washington University, St. Louis.

  • Watch the Second Presidential Debate.
    Oct. 7 - Belmont University, Nashville.

  • Watch the Third Presidential Debate.
    Oct. 15 - Hofstra University, Hampstead, N.Y.

     A History of Debates

    • 1960
      John Kennedy (D), Richard Nixon (R), (CNN)

    • 1976
      Jimmy Carter (D), Gerald Ford (R), (CNN)

    • 1980
      Jimmy Carter (D), Ronald Reagan (R), (CNN)

    • 1984
      Walter Mondale (D), Ronald Reagan (R), (CNN)

    • 1988
      George Bush (R), Michael Dukakis (D), (CNN)

    • 1992
      George Bush (R), Bill Clinton (D), Ross Perot (I), (CNN)

    • 1996
      Bill Clinton (D), Bob Dole (R), (CNN)

    • 2000
      George W. Bush (R), Al Gore (D), (Wake Forest University)

    • 2004
      George W. Bush (R) and John Kerry (D), (The Washington Post)

     Debate Resources


    Go to more resources on Election 2008
    Find out more about the Presidential candidates
    Find out more about the VP candidates
    Go back to GovSpot.com

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