presidential debate rules

there has been a great deal of discussion in the media about the impending presidential debates, specifically regarding the 32 pages of rules that govern the debates. i have found some media commentary on these rules to be highly biased (in one direction or another).

for your reference, the following link leads to a PDF containing the 2004 presidential debate rules (as posted on john kerry’s web site, but apparently scanned from the original document):

2004 Presidential debate rules

for further reference regarding the selection criteria for the debates, please refer to the following:
CPD Debate Selection Criteria

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2 thoughts on “presidential debate rules

  1. rebecca green

    i didn’t read the rules, yet (probably never will), but i was a tad confused about why some questions merited a rebuttal to the rebuttal, and others ended after each candidate spoke once. (maybe if i’d watched on tv rather than listening to npr i’d know.) i only care because bush set himself up for such a great rebuttal and i was terribly disappionted when kerry didn’t get to give one. when bush defended avoiding international treaties (such as kyoto) by poining out his avoidance of the international criminal court as a good thing, it was time to say “why? because you’re afraid of being prosecuted by it?” bush wanted to protect americans from prosecution by this court, but they way i see it – no international court with 97 members is going to string people up for no good reason. but no, kerry didn’t even get a chance to come back with a line like that…i wonder if he would have?

  2. Andrew

    Thanks for posting this, Ryan. Big Press and Talking-Head TV never broach the glaring problems and calculated emptiness of the current debate formats and their inclusivity (or lack thereof). As mentioned here, here, and here, debates have been anything but since the League of Women Voters balked at snitty demands from the 2 Parties. After about 10 years of presenting fascinating discussions between national candidates, the League declined to facilitate any more debates, i.e., to coddle unreasonable participants. The horrid CPD took over, and we’ve enjoyed scripted press conferences ever since. Manure-rich fields for creaky memes and highbrow lies.
    I still think California’s recent gubernatorial recall debates remain a highlight in high-profile political contest. Peter Camejo, Tom McClintock, Arianna Huffington, that guy who used to own a sports team, and the Democrat’s Palpatine — Cruz Bustamante — revealed a fairly transparent range of differences. A range you do not see in the current presidential or vice-presidential debates.
    The CPD document hews to two tangible participant requirements and a third, which is misguided because of its adherence to the church of unofficial polling — never an indicator of anything more meaningful than your morning dump (you think I’m being sarcastic). That the third provision of the CPD’s debate policy, which defines it unequivocally as exclusive, has not come under 1st Amendment attacks is as perplexing as it is sad. If you want to run for President, can raise the money to do so, and can prove that you have a statistical chance of winning, then why in the world are you AUTOMATICALLY excluded from national debate? It stinks in Denmark.
    The first two rules, on their face, are reasonable. We talked on Friday about the unwieldiness of the second rule, which requires state-level registration of candidates to correspond to some mathematically feasible chance of winning an electoral majority. As long as we’re bound and gagged by the electoral college, the requirement is contextually sound.
    It’s interesting, though, because according to those rules, only one additional 2004 debate participant is eligible: the Libertarian Party’s Michael Badnarik. Even St. Ralph, with recognition in 35 states, could not mathematically win the election (based on electoral votes). We talked about nutcases coming out of the woodwork if the third rule is abolished or relaxed. Not likely. It takes a LOT of money and work to become recognized officially in the correct configuration of delegate-heavy states. I’m comfortable with the burden that puts on contenders, and the risk when a well-financed, well-oiled nutcase surfaces. Ross Perot, anyone? His participation in the national debates was important and in some regards devastating. That’s a GOOD thing.


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