. Jim Lehrer

Debate #1 moderator Jim Lehrer devoted a segment to the national debt. The discussion turned to Medicaid.
Debate #1 moderator Jim Lehrer devoted a segment to the health care law. Here are some of the highlights.
When debate #1 moderator Jim Lehrer devoted a segment to Social Security and Medicare, the discussion focused on Medicare. Here are some of the highlights.
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If you've watched a few presidential debates over the years, you've probably been a bit puzzled by some of what takes place. Why do the candidates stand stiffly at podiums, instead of relaxing in chairs? Since it's supposed to be an argument, why don't they actually just talk to each other? Who writes the questions, and are they a surprise to the candidates, or do they get to see them in advance? Why are the Democratic and Republican candidates invited, but not the third-party candidates who may be on the ballot in your state?
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With President Obama  holding a narrow lead in the polls and looking to close the sale, and challenger Mitt Romney searching for a game-changing big play, the stakes in this year's presidential debates are probably even higher than usual. The initial debate, which will focus on domestic policy, takes place on Wednesday at 9 p.m. (Eastern Time) in Denver, with PBS NewsHour host Jim Lehrer moderating. From PBS, here's a preview of the debate.
As a lifelong political junkie, I'm looking forward to next week's presidential debates like a sports fan looks forward to a playoff game. Now that I'm in my 50s, watching the televised debates won't be quite the party occasion that it might have been 30-odd years ago, when friends and I would liven things up by taking a swig of beer every time one of the candidates mentioned the word "jobs" or "taxes." Still, it should be fun to see President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney really face off on the issues - instead of just attacking each other in stump speeches and campaign ads.
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