The Debate Rules

Scott Conroy previews the presidential debates, which are scheduled for October. One change: "the first and last presidential debate this year will feature six 15-minute topic 'pods,' in which the focus will remain on a single issue":

The topics for each pod will be announced in September by the moderators, whom the CPD commissioners will select and reveal in mid-August. [Commission on Presidential Debates co-chairman Frank] Fahrenkopf said that he expects the pods in the first debate — which will focus on domestic policy — to address major topics like unemployment, education, and the deficit.

"We’re revealing that in advance, so the candidates know they’re going to have to be prepared to do 15 minutes of heavy discussion on a certain topic with the moderator," he said. "In many ways, it helps the candidates. They’re not going to be asked who the president of Kyrgyzstan is or whether they wear [Jockey underwear]."