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Presidential Debate Contract, 'Memorandum Of Understanding,' Released

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Time's Mark Halperin has released the full-length, previously secret, contract governing the presidential debates.

Every four years, the two campaigns sign a contract that establishes the rules of the debate, from the time allotment for candidates' answers to the type of chairs Joe Biden and Paul Ryan were allowed on October 11. Halperin released the "Memorandum of Understanding" on Monday after both campaigns raised concerns about moderator Candy Crowley's comments about her role in the debate.

This is only the fourth time that the contract has been made available to the public. Good governance and media watchdog groups recently called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to release the MOU earlier this month.

Highlights from the contract include:
  • "At no debate shall the moderator ask the candidates for a 'show of hands' or similar calls for response."
  • "The moderator shall select the questioners, but she may not 'coach' the questioners."
  • The candidates' "dressing rooms shall be comparable in size and in quality and in proximity to the debate stage."

Below, see the full text of the memo (obtained by Halperin):

The 2012 Debates - Memorandum of Understanding Between the Obama and Romney Campaigns

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