Concept

2004 United States presidential debates

Summary
The United States presidential election debates were held in the 2004 presidential election. Three debates were held between Republican incumbent George W. Bush and Democratic candidate John Kerry, the major candidates, and one debate was held with their vice presidential running mates, incumbent Dick Cheney and John Edwards. All four debates were sponsored by the non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which has organized presidential debates since its establishment in 1987. The vice presidential debate was held on October 5 at Case Western Reserve University. The presidential debates were held on September 30 at the University of Miami, October 8 at Washington University in St. Louis, and October 13 at Arizona State University, ahead of the November 2 Election Day. Different moderators and debate formats were used in each debate. An alternative was proposed by the Citizens' Debate Commission, but was not carried out. There were several third-party candidate debates also held independently from the CPD-sponsored debates. The debates were the latest in a series of presidential debates first held during the 1960 presidential election and held every four years since the 1976 election. Post-debate polls generally suggested that the 2004 presidential debates were a positive factor for John Kerry's candidacy, as CNN/USA Today/Gallup immediate post-debate polls showed that Kerry clearly won the first and third debates in the eyes of the American television audience, and he tied with Bush in the second. In the follow-up polls taken days after the first two debates, Kerry's perceived positive performance in the debates increased, so that the public then saw Kerry, rather than Bush, as the winner of all three debates. According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the predetermined criteria for selecting candidates to participate in its 2004 presidential debates are based on evidence of eligibility as defined in Article Two of the United States Constitution), evidence of ballot access, and evidence of electoral support based on national public opinion polls.
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