Jim Lehrer, executive editor and former anchor of the "PBS NewsHour," said in a statement released through the Commission on Presidential Debates that the first half of the debate Oct. 3 would be a discussion of the economy and the second half would be dedicated to "healthcare, the role of government, and governing."
"We are dismayed that the outline for the Oct. 3rd debate omits any mention of Social Security and Medicare. Any meaningful discussion of the economy and this year's election has to include the future of these critical retirement security programs," Nancy LeaMond, executive director of the AARP, said in a statement.
"Our research shows that voters age 50-plus are driven by economic anxieties that extend well beyond the single issue of jobs. For these voters, 'retirement security' and 'financial security' are largely the same thing.
The Commission on Presidential Debates said the campaigned agreed to the 90-minute debate divided into six 15-minute segments that would focus on domestic policy.
The second debate, Oct. 16, at a 5,000-seat sports and exhibition complex at Hofstra University near New York City, is to be a "town meeting" format moderated by CNN "State of the Union" host Candy Crowley.
Crowley is the first woman to moderate a presidential debate in 20 years. Carole Simpson of ABC News moderated a town-meeting style debate in 1992 in Richmond, Va., among George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.
The third Obama-Romney debate, Oct. 22, at a 750-seat performing arts center at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., is expected to focus on foreign policy and be moderated by CBS News "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer.
Vice President Joe Biden and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan are expected to debate domestic and foreign policy Oct. 11 at Centre College's 1,470-seat Newlin Hall in Danville, Ky. That debate is expected to be moderated by ABC foreign correspondent Martha Raddatz.
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