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2012 Presidential Debate Schedule: Commission On Presidential Debates Names Sites Of Official Contests

10/31/11 04:15 PM ET  AP

US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (L) and Republican John McCain greet each other at the end of their third and final presidential debate at Hofstra University on October 15, 2008 in Hempstead, New York. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- The committee that sponsors presidential debates during the general election has chosen Denver, Hempstead, N.Y., and Boca Raton, Fla., as the sites for three debates in October 2012.

One vice presidential debate will be held in Danville, Ky., the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday.

The debates between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger will take place Oct. 3 at the University of Denver, Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. The vice presidential debate is set for Oct. 11 at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

Washington University in St. Louis will serve as a backup site.

The commission was established in 1987 and has sponsored the official presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988.

To participate in the debates, candidates must have the support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate according to the average of polls conducted by five national polling organizations and appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning the majority of the Electoral College. The candidates must also be eligible under the Constitution.

Two of the locations have hosted previous debates. Centre College held the 2000 vice presidential debate and Hofstra was the site of the final presidential debate in 2008.

Formats for the four debates will be announced in the beginning of 2012, along with plans for "Internet-based initiatives," the commission said. Moderators will be chosen next summer.

The three presidential debates in 2008 were moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS, Tom Brokaw of NBC News and Bob Schieffer of CBS News. Gwen Ifill of PBS moderated the vice presidential debate.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said the president looks forward to the debates, and once Republicans have selected their candidate, they will work through the debate details with the Republican candidate's campaign and the commission.

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Filed by Chris Gentilviso  |