CPD Format: Sufficient Time For Third Party Candidates?

The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced the format and time allocations for the one Vice-Presidential and three Presidential debates. The first and fourth debates will be:

divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each . . . The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond.

The Vice-Presidential debate (the second of the four debates) is even more time constrained with 10 minutes allocated for the question by the moderator, 2 minute responses from each of the candidates, and the remainder set aside for “discussion.”

The third of the four debates will be a Town Hall format where citizens will have the chance to ask questions and:

Candidates each will have two minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion.

It would appear that the various formats as announced allow sufficient flexibility for a total of three or at most four candidates, but no more than that (the primary limitation being the 10 minute blocks announced for the Vice-Presidential debate).

IPR questions however whether debate format planners considered the possibility of more than two candidates participating in any of the debates.  The full announcement regarding the debate formats and time constraints is available here:


IPR readers are encouraged to contact the Commission on Presidential Debates to encourage the inclusion of all Third Party candidates who meet the first two of their three candidate selection criteria as outlined here:


IPR notes with regret, however, that while the names of CPD leaders are posted at:


and past sponsors at:


no contact information for any of the above, nor any “Contact US” link, phone number, email address or other method for contacting those in charge of the debates is provided anywhere on the CPD website.

IPR readers with information about how to best contact the CPD (and/or this year’s debate sponsors) directly to demand the inclusion of all legally qualified candidates for President of the United States (or at least those who have ballot status in states representing a majority of electoral college votes) are encouraged to post that information in the comments section below.

32 thoughts on “CPD Format: Sufficient Time For Third Party Candidates?

  1. Joe Buchman Post author

    IMO The near total lack of transparency on the CPD website, especially offering NO method for contacting the CPD itself, is OUTRAGEOUS.

    CONTACT information IS available to potential advertisers at:


    Which lists the following:

    Please select a debate location to view it’s (sic) rate card information:

    (NOTE from Joe: How did they allow a MISSPELLING on this website?!?! — note: most of the contact information below are for people with emails at the major universities where these debates will be held!)

    Denver University

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012 (1st Presidential Debate)


    Rate Card Information:

    Ed Henderson: (303)871-4200, edward.henderson@du.edu

    Bob McVeigh: (303)956-3171, robert.mcveigh@du.edu

    Centre College

    Thursday, October 11, 2012 (Vice Presidential Debate)


    Rate Card Information: http://debate.corecommerce.com/

    Ann Smith: (859)238-5459, ann.smith@centre.edu

    Hofstra University

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012 (2nd Presidential Debate – Town Meeting)



    Rate Card Information:

    Helen Stefanidis: (516)463-6842, helen.stefanidis@hofstra.edu

    Lynn University

    Monday, October 22, 2012 (3rd Presidential Debate)


    Rate Card Information:

    Chris Boniforti: (561)237-7163, cboniforti@lynn.edu

    Matt Chaloux: (561)212-4599, mchaloux@lynn.edu

    Laurie Levine: (561)237-7181, llevine@lynn.edu

  2. Elitist Greens

    Contacting the Universities where the debates are being held might also be a good idea. Quickly looking at Hofstra, I see they have a Community Standards department. I’d scour whatever policies they may have and try to find violations of their own policies they are committing by hosting this bi-partisan, discriminatory debate. If there are libertarian groups at these colleges they could petition their student governments to intervene on behalf of inclusive debates, and perhaps shut them down. Lawsuits against the colleges would really piss them off too, and cost them money they don’t want to spend.

    If only I had gotten that law degree…

    And Jill Stein shouldn’t be invited based on some arbitrary standard I decided to make up just like Rob Sherman. She’s not gong to be on the ballot in more than 45 states? Good enough, keep her out of the debates and follow Sherman’s warped logic about free democracy.

  3. Elitist Greens

    Hofstra P.R.I.D.E principles.

    Diversity and Community: Hofstra students will appreciate the unique perspective of each individual based on his or her diverse experiences, while also respecting the responsibility to the broader community. They will demonstrate the awareness, knowledge and skills necessary to effectively engage with a diverse community. They will develop into good global citizens, as well as showing a commitment to service to one’s own community.

    Expression and Free Exchange: Hofstra students understand and demonstrate the importance of respectful free expression and exchange for learning. Participation in these practices leads to the development of critical and integrative thinking, and the ability to apply knowledge across different contexts. Through dialogue and engagement, students clarify their sense of purpose, including their academic and career goals, as well as learn effective decision making, communication, and technological skills.

    But its fine to discriminate against anyone who isn’t an R or D at Hofstra.

  4. Tom Blanton

    The Commission on Presidential Debates will never allow anyone other than Obama and Romney into their debates.

    The Commission was created to prevent Non-Republicrats from appearing in the debates. They will ignore your pleas and protests to include any outside candidates as will the sponsors.

    The media will ignore protests and pleas for Non-Republicrat candidates to be included just as they ignored the arrest of Badnarik and Cobb at the St. Louis debates in 2004.

    Wake up, folks. This is Amerika. Love it or shut the fuck up is the deal now.

  5. Richard Winger

    The only way to crack open the general election debates is to persuade the Democratic or Republican presidential candidates (or at least one of them) to support more inclusive debates. Rock the Debates did a very good job in 2007 and early 2008, asking each major party contender about this. Unfortunately no similar effort was made in 2011 and early 2012. Some people believe Governor Andrew Cuomo is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2016. It’s not too early to start asking him, if he is the Democratic nominee in 2016, will he break with the Policy of the Commission?

    Remember, in 1992, the Commission didn’t want to invite Perot, and Perot wasn’t at 15%. But because both Bill Clinton and President George H. W. Bush wanted Perot invited, he was invited.

  6. DSZ

    I thought the commission didn’t formally exist in 1992? Or at least not the 15% rule, I thought that came about after 1992 as a reactionary way of locking out minor party candidates.

  7. Richard Winger

    The CPD was founded in 1987. But, it is true the 15% rule didn’t exist in the period 1987-1993. The old rule was even worse; it said the person had to have a realistic chance of winning.

  8. Zeleni

    Any chance of a COFOE or a similar organization advertising during the debates about the lack of inclusion? Probably very costly and it could get rejected, but it would be quite interesting.

  9. Steven R Linnabary

    I would suggest a planned boycott of the corporations that sponsor these so called “debates”.

    I have personally been boycotting Anheuser-Busch products for years. I even got into a heated argument with a Budwieser salesman when he offered me a free beer when he came into the bar where I was.

    Sadly that isn’t enough. Boycott’s can have an effect, but only if the corporations feel it. I think it’s time for them to feel it good and hard.

    All the corporations involved in sponsoring the “debates” have regulatory business with the Feds, so it isn’t really much of a stretch to consider these sponsorships to be little more than thinly veiled contributions. Maybe a few FEC complaints would be in order.


  10. Ad Hoc

    G/L/C debates + chickensuits at podiums for “Romney” and “Obama” with “designated cluck time” + heavy use of facebook, youtube and twitter to spread them = win

    G/L/C debates with answers to videoed D/R debates to make it look like the G/L/C candidates are “there” + heavy use of facebook, youtube and twitter to spread them = win

    Tell a friend or two and tell them to tell a friend or two …

  11. Kevin Knedler

    @ # 11
    Steve is it true you have a chair with your name engraved on it at the Garden Inn on Cleveland Avenue in Columbus?

  12. Rob

    Obama and Romney will not want Gary Johnson, Virgil Goode or Jill Stein or whoever else up there at the stage with them.

    If you put a gun to my head, the best way to set up presidential debates would be to include all candidates who are on the ballots in enough states to get 270 electoral college votes. Yes it hurts candidates who are forced to rely on write in status in some states but I think you have to draw the line somewhere. If they are on enough ballots to win, they should be in.

  13. Steven R Linnabary

    @ 13

    No, that’s a nasty rumor. There IS a chair engraved with the name “Steve”, but that is for the owner.

    I started going into that place back in 2004, just a few days after the 2004 LP convention. I overheard 5 or 6 people at the other end of the bar talking about Russo, then Nolan…and didn’t think much of it. Then Badnarik’s name came up…I HAD to introduce myself.

    Here was a group of people that I didn’t know, talking knowledgeably about LP politics! And they were aware of Dena and most of the others (even knew who *I* was, though we had never met).

    Since that time I have come to the conclusion that most libertarians never bother to get involved, but they DO keep up with events.

    A few years later we took Gary Nolan in there when we were fighting the smoking ban. He loved the place, said it reminded him of his family’s bar in Cleveland.

    About the same time, we arranged with the bar owner to have Bob Barr (who was at the LP office across the street) come in and light a cigar in front of TV cameras, but local LP leaders didn’t want him going into a “dive” bar. Go figure.


  14. Ad Hoc

    G/L/C only? Why is that different than the D/R only CPD BS?

    Enough ballots to win the presidency.

    What criterion would you use, or do you want so many candidates that each only gets a minute to speak?

  15. Ad Hoc

    Obama and Romney will not want Gary Johnson, Virgil Goode or Jill Stein or whoever else up there at the stage with them.

    Probably not, unless they decide it is to their advantage (for example if Obama thinks Johnson helps him). But most likely not.

  16. Starchild

    Of course there isn’t “sufficient time for third party candidates”! There’s rarely *any* time for candidates other than those of the two parties of the ruling cartel!

    The whole debate process is rigged. What else can we do but try to get enough people speaking out against the injustice of it to force change?

    To succeed at this, we must get the public’s attention. And it seems that to get the public’s attention, we must get the media’s attention.

    How can we best get the media’s attention? I suggest a mass public arrest of all alternative party candidates and their supporters. At the first debate venue, we all get arrested.

    Ideal would be for the candidates to refuse to leave jail until they are allowed to debate. Then there would be a campaign to flood the jail with letters, packages, people sitting outside and demonstrating, etc.

    Can you imagine some of the potential international headlines?

    “U.S. jails presidential candidates”
    “Supporters of jailed U.S. candidates besiege prison”
    “Iran lectures U.S. regime on democracy”
    “U.S. credibility in tatters over debate scandal”

    The U.S. government is already a fairly unpopular entity in the world. Large numbers of the 95% of the earth’s humans who live outside the United States would like to see it change some of the same policies that libertarians in the U.S. would like to see it change:

    (1) Curb the military interventions in other countries and remove U.S. government troops to the United States
    (2) Let more people emigrate to and work in the United States
    (3) Legalize drugs
    (4) Stop manipulating and endangering the money supply via your “reserve currency” power
    (5) Reduce trade barriers
    (6) Reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal
    (7) Make it easier for Americans to travel to and invest in other countries

    People outside the U.S. have a great interest in what the United States (i.e. the U.S. government) does because of its military and economic power.

    We can use the common ground of the points listed above to appeal to them to make common cause with libertarians and other alternative party dissidents who would change these policies.

    When the U.S. government starts to get embarrassed on the world stage to where it becomes a major media story in the U.S., this will help the American public see the exclusionary debates in a new, less favorable light.

  17. Starchild

    Eric @19 – That is a very valid point, and rather embarrassing to the Libertarian Party should Republicans or Democrats choose to bring it up.

    When we do not follow within our own organization the policies we urge on government and the polity at large, it also deservedly costs us credibility with the public to the extent they are aware of it.

    Some feel that the best way to address that is to practice secrecy. I think the best way to address it is to change our policies so that we practice what we preach.

    ((( starchild )))
    At-Large Representative, Libertarian National Committee

  18. NewFederalist

    Ad Hoc @ 17… my criterion is non-exclusionary. Just as the L/G/C complain that they are not taken seriously unless they get to debate the D and R, all other alternative party nominees or independent candidates will complain that by not being able to debate the “major minor” nominees they cannot hope to gain enough exposure to get on more state ballots. It just all depends on one’s perspective.

  19. NewFederalist

    paulie @ 24… it would be but I suspect most would not have the bus fare to get to where ever the “debate” would be held. I am not advocating for a debate which includes every whacko who decides to run for president. I am just making the point that a line gets drawn some place and we might not like where the cut off happens to be. As I said earlier, it depends on one’s perspective.

  20. Stuart Simms

    I recall a representative of the CPD stating that they now had a standard that wasn’t arbitrary when they introduced the 15% rule. What a crock, why not 20% or 10%?

    A standard that permits inclusion based on being on enough state ballots to theoretically win is arbitrary as well. However, in my view, it is more reasonable because control on inclusion would be in the hands of candidates and minor parties and not the CPD and polling organizations.

  21. Darcy G Richardson

    “I’d love to see 200 people on stage all given a minute to speak, LOL”

    Letting Mitt Romney have the stage to himself for 200 minutes would have the same effect.

  22. Joe Buchman Post author

    Starchild @21

    PLEASE run for office. Yours is a LIBERTARIAN voice that needs to be heard.

    LIBERTARIANS to not pander to polling data. And we will win NOTHING if that argument by others on the LNC carries the day.


  23. Tom Blanton

    Starchild’s ideas @21 sound great and there was a time when they might have worked. If the ruling elite were normal people instead of sociopathic criminals, these type of activities might work.

    Our leaders can’t be embarrassed. This is obvious. They simply don’t care because the citizens are powerless to change the system. They don’t care if you protest. They don’t care what activists in other nations think – they obviously don’t care what activists and dissidents in America think.

    If they become annoyed at protests, they crush them. We’ve certainly seen a lot of that lately. The truth is that shaming the shameless is probably not going to be a successful strategy.

    Most likely, more aggressive actions and/or non-actions would only create more aggressive backlash from government. Short of committed civil disobedience, non-compliance, non-payment of taxes, etc. that would likely put activists in danger of facing severe consequences from their government, I truly don’t think the ruling establishment cares what goes on.

    I don’t see middle-class middle-aged suburban libertarians with houses, kids and jobs sticking their necks out very far. As a consequence, there is no threat to the ruling class from that quarter.

    Maybe after another 40 years of working within their system to attempt to make the marginal reforms that most libertarians call for, there will be the opportunity for freedom in our great-great-grandchildren’s time.

  24. Michael H. Wilson

    If someone or group can hack the Pentagon then why not hack the broadcast signal?

    I’ll probably see the JTTF at my door any minute.

  25. Starchild

    Steven Linnabary @16 writes, “About the same time, we arranged with the bar owner to have Bob Barr (who was at the LP office across the street) come in and light a cigar in front of TV cameras, but local LP leaders didn’t want him going into a ‘dive’ bar. Go figure.”

    That’s just the kind of guerilla campaigning and standing up for freedom we need! Your idea would have been newsworthy and likely gained appreciation and votes. It is a shame that neither Bob Barr nor your local LP leaders “got it”.

    If candidate training sessions and materials emphasized this type approach, they would be a lot more useful than they typically are.

    Joe @29 – Thank you for your kind words. I have run for public office five times so far, and expect to do so again! Also thanks to you as well as “give-me-liberty” @6 for the Commission on Presidential Debates contact info. I’ll be calling/emailing them.

    And speaking of guerilla campaigning, more good ideas for “crashing” the establishment debate party from “Elitist Greens” @2, Steven @11, and “Ad Hoc” @12!

    I hope that Gary Johnson and Jim Gray are in touch with their Green Party and Constitution Party counterparts, and are actively thinking about ideas like these and how to best put them into effect.

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