Home / Series / US Presidential Debates / Official Order /

All Seasons

Season 1956

  • S1956E01 First Democratic Primary Debate

    • May 21, 1956

    On May 21, 1956 in Miami, FL, Former Illinois Governor Adlai E. Stevenson and Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee debated on the ABC Television network. It was moderated by Quincy Howe.

Season 1960

Season 1976

Season 1980

Season 1984

Season 1988

Season 1992

Season 1996

Season 2000

Season 2004

Season 2008

  • S2008E01 Saddleback Presidential Forum

    • August 16, 2008

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) discuss faith, values and leadership.

  • S2008E02 First Presidential Debate

    • September 16, 2008

    At the University of Mississippi-Oxford, candidates John McCain (R) and Barack Obama (D) discuss issues; Jim Lehrer moderates. Site: University of Mississippi Topic: Foreign Policy & National Security Moderator: Jim Lehrer Staging: Podium debate Answer Format: The debate will be broken into nine, 9-minute segments. The moderator will introduce a topic and allow each candidate 2 minutes to comment. After these initial answers, the moderator will facilitate an open discussion of the topic for the remaining 5 minutes, ensuring that both candidates receive an equal amount of time to comment

  • S2008E03 Vice Presidential Debate

    • October 2, 2008

    The eyes of the world were on Washington University Oct. 2 as it hosted the most anticipated vice presidential debate in U.S. history. Millions in the United States and around the world watched as Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska and Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware squared off on stage at the Field House in the University's Athletic Complex. Site: Washington University (St. Louis) Moderator: Gwen Ifill Staging/Answer Format: Debate will consist of both foreign and domestic policy questions asked by the moderator. Format will be similar to the presidential debates.

  • S2008E04 Second Presidential Debate

    • October 7, 2008

    Senators McCain and Obama meet at Belmont University in a town hall setting for the second of the 2008 presidential debates. Moderated by Tom Brokaw. Site: Belmont University Moderator: Tom Brokaw Staging: Town Hall debate Format: The moderator will call on members of the audience (and draw questions from the internet). Each candidate will have 2 minutes to respond to each question. Following those initial answers, the moderator will invite the candidates to respond to the previous answers, for a total of 1 minute, ensuring that both candidates receive an equal amount of time to comment. In the spirit of the Town Hall, all questions will come from the audience (or internet), and not the moderator.

  • S2008E05 Third Presidential Debate

    • October 15, 2008

    Presidential debate with domestic policy focus, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY Site: Hofstra University Topic: Domestic and Economic Issues Moderator: Bob Schieffer Staging: Candidates will be seated at a table Answer Format: Same as First Presidential Debate Closing Statements: At the end of this debate (only) each candidate shall have the opportunity for a 90 second closing statement.

Season 2012

  • S2012E01 First Presidential Debate

    • October 3, 2012

    Topic: Domestic policy Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time Location: University of Denver in Denver, Colorado (Tickets) Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney Moderator: Jim Lehrer (Host of NewsHour on PBS)

  • S2012E02 Vice Presidential Debate

    • October 11, 2012

    Topic: Foreign and domestic policy Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time Location: Centre College in Danville, Kentucky (Tickets) Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates Participants: Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan Moderator: Martha Raddatz (ABC News Chief Foreign Correspondent)

  • S2012E03 Second Presidential Debate

    • October 16, 2012

    Topic: Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time Location: Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York (Tickets) Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney Moderator: Candy Crowley (CNN Chief Political Correspondent)

  • S2012E04 Third Presidential Debate

    • October 22, 2012

    Topic: Foreign policy Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time Location: Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida (Tickets) Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney Moderator: Bob Schieffer (Host of Face the Nation on CBS)

Season 2015

  • S2015E00 Unknown

  • S2015E01 First Republican Primary Debate

    • August 6, 2015
  • S2015E02 Second Republican Primary Debate

    • September 16, 2015
  • S2015E03 First Democratic Primary Debate

    • October 13, 2015

    The first debate is scheduled for October 13, 2015, at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. It will air on CNN, and will also be broadcast on radio by Westwood One. Anderson Cooper will be the moderator of the debate, with Dana Bash and Juan Carlos Lopez asking additional questions and Don Lemon presenting questions submitted by voters via Facebook.

  • S2015E04 Third Republican Primary Debate

    • October 28, 2015
  • S2015E05 Fourth Republican Primary Debate

    • November 10, 2015
  • S2015E06 Second Democratic Primary Debate

    • November 14, 2015

    The second debate occurred on November 14, 2015, at the Sheslow Auditorium at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. It aired on CBS News and was also be broadcast by KCCI and The Des Moines Register. This was the first debate to be broadcast over nationwide network television, the previous debate having gone over cable. CBS News Political Director John Dickerson was the principal moderator, with participation by Kevin Cooney of KCCI. The day before the debate, November 13, was the day of the November 2015 Paris attacks, where nearly 130 civilians were killed by radical Jihadist terrorists - specifically, members of ISIS - across the city of Paris. As a result of the attacks, after initial speculation that the debate might be cancelled, CBS announced that, while the debate would go on as planned, the focus of the debate's content would be dramatically shifted over to foreign policy and terrorism. In addition, a moment of silence was held at the beginning of the debate in memory of the victims. One of the most memorable moments of the debate was when Clinton defended against claims that she had ties to Wall Street bankers, particularly when Sanders pointed out that some of Clinton's largest donors were from Wall Street. Clinton retaliated by claiming that, as the Senator from New York during the September 11 attacks, she had to work closely with Wall Street since the attacks were so close to Wall Street. Clinton immediately received scrutiny over these comments, including when Dickerson highlighted a Tweet from a viewer reading, "Never before have I heard someone use 9/11 to justify millions of Wall Street donations," which drew thunderous applause from the audience, and led to both Sanders and O'Malley also attacking Clinton for those comments. Post-debate criticisms arose from all across the political spectrum, from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus, to Clinton's own former campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, who said that t

  • S2015E07 Fifth Republican Primary Debate

    • December 15, 2015
  • S2015E08 Third Democratic Primary Debate

    • December 19, 2015

    The third debate occurred on December 19, 2015, in Goffstown, New Hampshire at St. Anselm College. It aired on ABC News and was moderated by journalist David Muir, anchor of “World News Tonight”, and Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz. On December 11, 2015, the DNC had announced that it would revoke the sponsorship of the debate by WMUR-TV because of a labor dispute with its unionized employees. The topics covered during the debate included Sanders' campaign's breach of Clinton's campaign data, strategy for defeating ISIS, gun control, the issue of whether to depose President Assad of Syria, if Wall Street favored each candidate, stability in the Middle East enforced by dictators and whether regime change was necessary, and the role of the First Spouse.

Season 2016

  • S2016E01 Sixth Republican Primary Debate

    • January 14, 2016

    On December 8, 2015, it was announced that Fox Business Network would host an additional debate two days after the State of the Union address.[128] The debate was held in the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina. The anchor and managing editor of Business News, Neil Cavuto, and anchor and global markets editor, Maria Bartiromo, reprised their roles as moderators for the prime-time debate, which began at 9 p.m. EST. The earlier debate, which started at 6 p.m. EST, was again moderated by anchors Trish Regan and Sandra Smith.[

  • S2016E02 Fourth Democratic Primary Debate

    • January 17, 2016

    With less than two weeks until the Iowa Caucus, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sharpened their attacks in the NBC News-YouTube Debate Sunday night.

  • S2016E03 Seventh Republican Primary Debate

    • January 28, 2016

    The seventh debate was held in Iowa, which holds the first caucuses, and was the second debate to air on Fox News Channel. As in Fox's first debate, the moderators were Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, and Chris Wallace. It was the last debate before actual voting begins with the Iowa caucuses on February 1, 2016 The debate was, again, divided into undercard and primetime rounds; to qualify for the primetime debate, candidates must have, in polls recognized by FNC, either placed in the top six nationally based on an average of the five most recent national polls; place in the top five in Iowa, based on an average of the five most recent Iowa state polls, or place in the top five in New Hampshire, based on an average of the five most recent New Hampshire state polls. In order to qualify for the first debate, candidates must have registered at least one percent in one of the five most recent national polls

  • S2016E04 Fifth Democratic Primary Debate

    • February 4, 2016

    On January 26, NBC News and the New Hampshire Union Leader announced plans to hold an unsanctioned debate in New Hampshire on February 4, to be moderated by Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow.[50] Clinton, Sanders, and O'Malley all received an invitation to the debate, with O'Malley being the first to confirm his participation.[51] On January 31, the DNC officially sanctioned the debate but removed the Union Leader as a sponsor, and each major Democratic candidate confirmed their attendance.[52][53] O'Malley suspended his campaign after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, thereby leaving Clinton and Sanders as the remaining participants. The debate aired on February 4, 2016, from 9 to 11 pm ET on MSNBC. Commentators of the debate cited the elevated discourse between the candidates. There was discussion on the death penalty (federal versus state), money in politics, and assessing Russia, Iran, and North Korea as threats to national security. Clinton demanded that Sanders explain his "artful smears" of Clinton receiving campaign donations. Sanders responded by critiquing the inherently "quid-pro-quo" nature of Wall Street campaign donations. The exchange between the two candidates was called by Eric Levitz one of the best 10-minute exchanges in the history of American political debates.

  • S2016E05 Eighth Republican Primary Debate

    • February 6, 2016

    The eighth debate was held in New Hampshire, the first state to hold primaries, was organized by ABC News and the Independent Journal Review. It was scheduled to be held in the St Anselm's College Institute of Politics. The eighth debate was the first to not feature an undercard event for minor candidates. David Muir and Martha Raddatz were moderaters, along with WMUR political director Josh McElveen and Mary Katherine Ham. To participate in the debate, a candidate had to have either placed among the top three candidates in the popular vote of the Iowa caucus, or placed among the top six candidates in an average of New Hampshire or national polls recognized by ABC News. Only polls conducted no earlier than January 1 and released by February 4 were included in the averages. On February 4, 2016, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump were invited to the debate.[158] Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore were not invited as they did not meet the criteria

  • S2016E06 Sixth Democratic Primary Debate

    • February 11, 2016

    A sixth debate was held at 8:00 PM CST on Thursday, February 11, 2016, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. It aired on PBS and was simulcast by CNN. Two anchors of PBS NewsHour, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, moderated for the two candidates. The debate preshow ran for 30 minutes before the debate. Clinton noted it was a new milestone among presidential debates owing to the fact that more women were on the debate stage than men (3:1). After opening statements with Sanders going first, each candidate had 90 seconds to answer and then the other was given a 30-second response. There were two short breaks. During a break, highlights of the debate were shown by Hari Sreenivasan with political commentary from Lisa Desjardins, Amy Walter, and Tamara Keith weighing in on what had been said. The candidates debated on race relations, the size of government, funding their goals, Medicaid/Medicare, campaign contributor's influence, the prospect of a first woman president, affordable college, reducing areas of government, readiness for an attack on America, Henry Kissinger, Russian relations, the U.S. role with respect to refugees, influential leaders on foreign policy, and criticism of President Barack Obama. In closing statements, Sanders talked about bringing people together to create a representative government. Clinton's closing talked about not being a single issue candidate and taking on all barriers to people achieving their individual potentials. After the debate, the commentators were asked if the candidates did what they needed to do. Then Sreenivasan interviewed journalists David Brooks and Mark Shields in the postdebate coverage.

  • S2016E07 Ninth Republican Primary Debate

    • February 13, 2016

    The ninth debate was held in another early primary state, South Carolina, and aired on CBS News. The debate was moderated by John Dickerson in the Peace Center in Greenville, started at 9 pm ET and went for 90 minutes. Major Garrett of CBS and Kimberley Strassel of WSJ also asked questions.[165] To participate in the debate, a candidate had to have either (1) placed among the top five candidates in the popular vote of the New Hampshire primary, (2) placed among the top three candidates in the popular vote of the Iowa caucuses, or (3) be among the top five candidates in an average of national and South Carolina polls over the four weeks beginning January 15 (that are recognized by CBS) and have received at least 3% in Iowa or New Hampshire or the South Carolina or national polls. The day before the debate, Ben Carson was invited to join the other participants: Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump.

  • S2016E08 Tenth Republican Primary Debate

    • February 25, 2016

    After the caucus in Nevada, the tenth debate was held at the University of Houston in Houston and broadcast by CNN as its third of four debates, in conjunction with Telemundo. The debate aired five days before 14 states vote on Super Tuesday, March 1. While the debate was to be held in partnership with Telemundo's English-language counterpart NBC, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced on October 30, 2015, that it had suspended the partnership in response to CNBC's "bad faith" in handling the October 28, 2015, debate. On January 18, 2016, the RNC announced that CNN would replace NBC News as the main host of the debate, in partnership with Telemundo and Salem Communications (CNN's conservative media partner). The debate was shifted a day earlier at the same time. National Review was disinvited by the Republican National Committee from co-hosting the debate over its criticism of GOP front-runner Donald Trump. On February 19, the criteria for invitation to the debate was announced: in addition to having official statements of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission and accepting the rules of the debate, candidates must have received at least 5% support in one of the first four election contests held in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. By these criteria, all five remaining candidates, Carson, Cruz, Kasich, Rubio, and Trump, qualified for invitation to the debate. This was the tenth and final debate appearance of Carson, who skipped the following debate on March 3, and dropped out of the race the following day.

  • S2016E09 Eleventh Republican Primary Debate

    • March 3, 2016

    The eleventh debate was held on March 3, 2016, at the Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit, Michigan. It was the third debate to air on Fox News Channel. Special Report anchor Bret Baier, The Kelly File anchor Megyn Kelly and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace served as moderators. It led into the Maine, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho, and Hawaii contests. Fox announced that in order for candidates to qualify, they must have at least 3 percent support in the five most recent national polls by March 1 at 5 pm. Ben Carson said on March 2 he would not be attending the debate. The debate drew controversy for an allusion Trump made to his penis in response to Rubio's comment about the size of his hands.

  • S2016E10 Seventh Democratic Primary Debate

    • March 6, 2016

    The seventh debate was conducted on March 6 at 8.00 pm EST, in Flint, Michigan at the The Whiting at the Flint Cultural Center. The city chosen was the epicenter of the ongoing Flint water crisis. It aired on CNN and was moderated by Anderson Cooper He was joined by CNN's Don Lemon in asking questions. The debate ran for almost two hours. At the end of the debate, Cooper announced a labor union fund had committed $25 million in low-interest loans towards repairing the water system. The Michigan Democratic Party claimed the organization had no tickets to distribute leading up to the debate for the general public, party volunteers & major party donors, however sent out open public emails with links to open invites for any person interested in attending a pre-debate reception and dinner on March 5, combined with debate tickets for March 6, that would be willing to purchase tickets for $1,000 to $20,000 per package via EventBrite Candidates were given 75 seconds to respond and 30 seconds for follow-ups. Members of the audience, made up of democrats and independents, were also given the chance to field questions, which were screened to avoid overlapping in content. Sanders and Clinton were given 60 seconds for opening statements and for closing statements at the end of the debate. Sanders attracted controversy when he quoted a Black Lives Matter advocate who said "When you are white, you don't know what it's like to be living in a ghetto. You you [sic don’t know what it’s like to be poor," when answering a question in the debate Commentators and supporters criticized Sanders for being insensitive and racially inflammatory.

  • S2016E11 Eighth Democratic Primary Debate

    • March 9, 2016

    The eighth debate took place on March 9, 2016, at 9:00 PM Eastern Standard Time in Building 7 of the Kendall Campus of Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida. It was broadcast through a partnership between Univision and The Washington Post. The debate was discussed during a job interview conducted in early 2015 between the Democratic National Committee's then-Communications DirectorMo Elleithee and future Hispanic Media Director Pablo Manriquez. After starting at the DNC in April 2015, Manriquez "talked about the idea for a debate for Democratic candidates on Univision to anyone who had ears to listen." The debate was officially announced on November 2, 2015.

  • S2016E12 Twelfth Republican Primary Debate

    • March 10, 2016

    The twelfth debate will be the fourth and final debate to air on CNN, and will lead into the Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Missouri and Ohio primaries on March 15. The moderator will be Jake Tapper. The debate was scheduled considering the unlikelihood that a Republican candidate would have clinched by then due to the overall size of the field. The Washington Times will cohost the debate.

  • S2016E13 Stossel Libertarian Debate Part 1

    • April 1, 2016

    This is the first Libertarian Party forum to be live broadcast on national television. The three candidates invited; Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, cybersecurity guru John McAfee, and Libertarian Republic founder Austin Petersen.

  • S2016E14 Stossel Libertarian Debate Part 2

    • April 8, 2016

    Part 2 of the Libertarian Presidential Forum, the three leading Libertarian candidates: Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, tech entrepreneur John McAfee, and The Libertarian Republic founder, Austin Petersen answer questions about drugs, gambling, prostitution, security, and immigration.

  • S2016E15 Ninth Democratic Primary Debate

    • April 14, 2016

    The Democratic Party's ninth presidential debate ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election was held on April 14, 2016 at the Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn Navy Yard. The debate was aired on CNN and NY1. Wolf Blitzer of CNN served as moderator.

  • S2016E16 Las Vegas Libertarian Debate

    • May 20, 2016

    Gary Johnson, Austin Peterson, John McAfee. Hosted by Penn Jillette on The Blaze network. With questions asked by GREG GUTFELD CLAY AIKEN of AMERICAN IDOL RATSO DEE SNIDER of TWISTED SISTER DREW CAREY CARROT TOP GLENN BECK FRANK MIR LAWRENCE KRAUSS

  • S2016E17 First Presidential Debate

    • September 26, 2016

    The First Presidential Debate was held on September 26, 2016 at 9PM EDST. It was moderated by NBC's Lester Holt and located at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

  • S2016E18 Vice Presidential Debate

    • October 4, 2016

    Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence met face-to-face for the first time Tuesday October 4, 2016, as the running mates took part in the only vice-presidential debate of the 2016 election.

  • S2016E19 Second Presidential Debate

    • October 9, 2016

    The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which half of the questions will be posed directly by citizen participants and the other half will be posed by the moderator based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources. The candidates will have two minutes to respond and there will be an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate further discussion. The town meeting participants will be uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

  • S2016E20 Third Presidential Debate

    • October 19, 2016

Season 2020