Televised presidential debates have remained largely the same since the first one in 1960, the format consisting of one candidate from each of the major parties answering questions from a pre-selected moderator. Playbook reports that a group of political insiders is looking to change a lot of that:
Top officials from past presidential campaigns have quietly formed a group to push for major changes in the general-election debates, with recommendations expected by late spring. The working group is questioning the debates' format, moderator-selection process and location: Might a TV studio make more sense than a college town? Members said a major goal is to make more allowance for changing technology and the rise of social media. A likely recommendation is an earlier start for the debates, in response to the increase in absentee voting.
Members include the longtime lead debate negotiator for each party: Bob Bauer for Democratic nominees and Ben Ginsberg for the Republicans. So the Annenberg Working Group on Presidential General Election Debates could have a profound effect on the signature fall events of the race for the White House. The group's co-chairs were top debate-prep advisers to each of the 2012 nominees: Anita Dunn for President Obama, and Beth Myers for Mitt Romney.
Playbook also notes that part of the discussions is allowing the participation of candidates from non-major parties, like the Green Party, and independent candidates.