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Presidential Debates

October 2nd, 2012

Caricatures of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Image credit: Flickr user DonkeyHotey via Creative Commons

Millions of people will be tuned to their TV’s tomorrow night to watch what’s been likened to a kind of Super Bowl of American politics — the upcoming presidential debates.

The first debate is tomorrow (Wednesday, October 3rd, from 9 pm – 10:30 pm).

It may be past your bedtime, but it’s a big deal for adults.

Many think tomorrow’s debate will be the most important event between now and the election on November 6.

It’s the first time the two candidates for president — President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney — will be side-by-side talking to each other directly and comparing their positions for the voting public.

The debates help some Americans make up their mind about who to vote for … and because the election is still considered to be close, every vote could make a difference.

There are three debates in total that take place in different parts of the country, but all are shown live on national TV.

Each debate has its own topic. The first debate is about “domestic policy” within the United States — including the economy, jobs, health care, and how big government should be and what role it should have in our lives.

The topic for the second debate will be a “town hall” format where citizens ask the questions. The third debate will be on “foreign policy” — what the U.S.’s role in world events should be.

Journalists moderate the debates. They ask the questions and make sure the candidates stay within their time limits for each question. A very respected journalist, Jim Lehrer, will moderate the first debate. He has moderated 11 presidential debates over 24 years — the most of anyone.

Both Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama have been spending a lot of time lately practicing for the debates. The candidates have compared it to doing homework … or cramming for a very big test that takes place on TV!

What would you ask the presidential candidates?

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