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Following weeks of objections, mudslinging and
shifting blame, presidential hopefuls George W. Bush
and Al Gore finally reached an agreement on the
The debates, held over a two-week period in
October, are sponsored by the Commission on
Presidential Debates. The nonpartisan organization
has sponsored the forums since 1988. The schedule
includes three debates between Bush and Gore and
one between their respective running mates, Dick
Cheney and Joseph Lieberman . The 90-minute
debates, held on college campuses across the nation,
will be broadcast on all major broadcasting networks.
The Commission on Presidential Debates pro
posed the debate schedule several months ago. Vice-
President Gore quickly agreed to the schedule but
Gov. Bush rejected the Commission’s plan. Instead,
Bush devised an alternate schedule including only
one of the Commission debates and two 60-minute
forums that would air on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and
CNN’s “Larry King Live.” Gore refused the Bush plan
and debate scheduling appeared to be at a standstill.
Speculation arose over Bush’s objections to the
proposed Commission debates. According to a recent
article in the Washington Post, GOP strategists
viewed the reluctance of Bush as a means to divert
attention away from the issues and focus more on the
personalities and character of the candidates.
Democrats accused Bush of trying to avoid the wide
audience reached by the Commission’s debates.
Bush aimed “to replace debates that would reach a
wide audience with debates that would cut down the
audience by 80%,” said Christopher Brook, president
of the UNC Young Democrats.
By April Bethea
“Bush aimed to replace
debates that would
reach a wide audience
with debates that would
cut down on the audi
ence by 80%”