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10/22/2012 10:39 am ET

How Presidential Debates Become 'Made For TV' Events (VIDEO)

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Campaigns leave little to chance as candidates gear up to face one another, and no forum is more intensely planned than the presidential debates.

The "Today" show took viewers behind the debate prep curtain on Monday, detailing how candidates and campaigns prepare for such events. In addition to creating a "memorandum of understanding," (a rulebook-type manual that was hotly contested ahead of the second presidential debate), campaigns attempt to craft and control all parts of the debate story.

"It's really style over substance" host Jenna Wolfe said.

NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd described the kinds of questions campaigns mull over ahead of debates. "What are they going to wear? Do they sit or stand behind the podium? Do they get to walk around? Is it a bar stool? Is it a chair?" Todd asked.

For example, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was taught how to sit on a bar stool ahead of the second presidential debate. "This is a made for television event," the Washington Post's Chris Cilliza said.

"Just about every great line in a debate, was prepared ahead of time," Todd said.

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