More details released on Dayton presidential debate format

When the presidential candidates duke it out at the first 2016 debate at Wright State University, they’ll be going at each other for six, 15-minute rounds.

The format for three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate, which lead off Sept. 26 at the Nutter Center, were announced this week by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). All the debates are 90 minutes long.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit commission revealed that the WSU debate will be divided into six segments of about 15 minutes each. Sections will be devoted to major topics selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate.

Though the debate moderator won’t be named until later this summer, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump almost assuredly will be standing on the Nutter Center stage that Monday at 9 p.m. unless party nominating conventions later this month fly wildly off script.

To be invited to the debate, a candidate must be polling at 15 percent of the national electorate. Two recent polls have Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson polling at or above 10 percent in a three-way contest with Trump and Clinton. That number could rise if Johnson can peel away support from Trump and Clinton in the next two months.

When the WSU debate goes live across the nation, the moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other.

“The CPD has a simple mission, to ensure that presidential debates help the public learn about the positions of the leading candidates for president and vice president,” commission co-chairs Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Michael D. McCurry said. “These formats will allow an in-depth exploration of the major topics in this year’s election.”

In an interview with this newspaper last week, Wright State President David Hopkins said the school hopes to borrow a replica Wright Flyer to display at the debate.

“We couldn’t think of a better way to promote the region,” he said.

The other debates:

Vice presidential debate

Oct. 4

Longwood University in Farmville, Va.

The debate will be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond.

Second presidential debate

Oct. 9

Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo.

The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which half of the questions will be posed directly by citizen participants and the other half will be posed by the moderator based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources.

Third presidential debate

Oct. 19

University of Nevada-Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev.

The format will be identical to the first presidential debate.

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