DENVER – Presidential debates have a history rooted in prepared speeches that mirror those delivered on the campaign trail.
In many of the past debates voters heard talking points, sound bites and very little substance.
This year’s Presidential debate in Denver should be different.
The Commission on Presidential Debates changed the format of the debates to feature extended discussion of major issues. The 90 minute debate in Denver will focus on domestic issues and will be broken into six segments that will last approximately 15 minutes each.
“I think their thought is they have these large blocks of time they can make these candidates talk about the economy in detail,” Floyd Ciruli, 9News political analyst, said.
The Denver debate will be moderated by PBS anchor Jim Lehrer. This will be the 11th time Lehrer has moderated a Presidential or Vice Presidential debate. Lehrer will select the questions for the candidates and they will not be given those questions in advance.
“What my job will be strictly is to engage on those stark differences,” Lehrer said. “This is being done for the voters. This isn’t a television program. These are not people out there watching for ratings. These are people deciding for whom to vote for President of the United States.”
With the candidates being forced to go into greater detail about their plans and responding to each other’s proposals, it’s hoped the voters will gain a greater insight into the candidates.
“There is no doubt that people will leave this debate with a very, very enriched sense of who these two men are, both in terms of their ability to handle questions, handle each other and handle the substance of the material,” Ciruli said.