The Future of Presidential Debates

The Future of
Presidential Debates


Written by Stephen Bates
Senior Fellow

Based on a meeting convened by
Clifford M. Sloan


Based on a conference held on February 19, 1993
Cosponsored with the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center
on the Press, Politics and Public Policy
at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government

Contents

Preface
Introduction
Institutionalizing Presidential Debates
Making Room for Third Parties
Structuring Debates
Covering Debates
Involving Citizens Between Elections
Conclusion
For Further Reading
Conference Participants

About the Author
Stephen Bates is a Senior Fellow of The Annenberg Washington Program. A former Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, he has also held positions as a law clerk to Judge James L. Buckley, United States Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, and as Massachusetts Press Secretary to the George Bush 1980 Presidential Campaign. He is the author of Battleground: The Religious Right, Its Opponents, and the Struggle for Our Schools (Poseidon Press/Simon and Schuster, forthcoming); If No News, Send Rumors: Anecdotes of American Journalism (St. Martin's Press, 1989; Henry Holt paperback, 1991); The Media and the Congress (Publishing Horizons, 1987); and The Spot: The Rise of Political Advertising on Television (with Edwin Diamond) (MIT Press, 1984; revised editions, 1988 and 1992). Bates has written widely for the popular press on the topics of journalism, political advertising and First Amendment issues. He received his B.A. in Government, magna cum laude, from Harvard University, and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

About the Conference Convener
In February 1993, Clifford M. Sloan convened a conference cosponsored by The Annenberg Washington Program and the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center at Harvard University to examine the current status and potential future of presidential debates. Sloan is a partner in the law firm of Mayer, Brown & Platt where his law practice emphasis is Supreme Court and appellate litigation. Sloan has previously served as Assistant to the Solicitor General, Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel (Iran-Contra), Law Clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and Executive Assistant to Congressman Sidney R. Yates (D-IL). In 1986, he directed the Presidential Debates Project of the Twentieth Century Fund and Harvard University's Institute of Politics, and in 1987, he co-authored For Great Debates (with Newton N. Minow) (Twentieth Century Fund, 1987). Sloan is an alumnus of Harvard University and Harvard Law School.

Copyright 1993 by The Annenberg Washington Program in Communications Policy Studies of Northwestern University

Permission is granted for the not-for-profit reproduction or distribution of multiple copies of this report or portions thereof, provided that (1) proper copyright notice is affixed to each copy; and (2) no alterations are made to the content of any file. The Annenberg Washington Program would appreciate notice of such use.

Recommended citation
Stephen Bates, The Future of Presidential Debates (Washington, D.C.: The Annenberg Washington Program in Communications Policy Studies of Northwestern University, 1993).

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Annenberg Washington Program in Communications Policy Studies of Northwestern University.

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