Q&A on 2nd US presidential debate

2012-10-16 22:20
Mitt Romney and US President Barack Obama during the first presidential debate before elections. (File, AP)

Mitt Romney and US President Barack Obama during the first presidential debate before elections. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Tuesday night's presidential debate between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has a different format than their previous face-off and the vice presidential debate that followed.

This time, the candidates and the moderator won't be the only people in the ring when the 90-minute debate begins.

Q. Why is that?

A. Continuing a format that began 20 years ago, this is the "town hall" debate where people representing a cross-section of America get to ask the questions.

Q. Can people in the audience simply raise their hands and be called upon at random?

A. No. That's one thing that changed since the first presidential town hall debate in 1992, when questions and questioners weren't screened beforehand.

Q. So how does the screening work?

A. The Gallup polling organization picks about 80 uncommitted voters. Those voters will work with moderator Candy Crowley of CNN, and she decides who in the group will get to ask a question. Crowley said she and a small team of helpers will try to get as broad a range of questions as possible and nobody else will know the questions in advance.

Q. How did Gallup choose the participants?

A. They were recruited as part of a random sample of all residents living in Nassau County, New York. Each resident contacted was asked a series of questions. Those who met the criteria as uncommitted voters were invited to participate.

Q. Will the candidates be seated?

A. They'll have chairs, but will spend most of their time as close as possible to the audience, walking around and looking directly at the questioner. Think of it as trying to connect with citizens who are there to represent millions of Americans watching on television.

Q. How will the audience be seated?

A. The group of 80 will be in three rows of circular risers facing the candidates, with an open space in the middle. Off camera, there will be a larger audience in the arena at Hofstra University in Hempstead on New York's Long Island.

Q. In the presidential and vice presidential debates so far, one candidate got the first question and the other candidate had the last word. Will that change Tuesday night?

A. Yes. There are no opening and closing statements. Romney gets the first question. Each candidate is supposed to have two minutes to respond, after which Crowley will facilitate a two-minute discussion. If the earlier debates are an indication, don't expect the candidates to stick to those strict time limits.

Q. Wasn't there an attempt to limit the moderator's role in this debate?

A. Yes. The two campaigns came to an understanding that Crowley's role should be limited, so that she wouldn't use the discussion period to introduce a new topic or rephrase a question.

Q. Will that affect the debate?

A. No. The campaigns left two crucial entities out of the agreement: Crowley and the Commission on Presidential Debates, which runs the debate programme. Frank J Fahrenkopf, Jr, co-chair of the commission, said: "I don't care what it says since we're not party to it."

Read more on:    barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  us  |  us elections 2012

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.