MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

This document constitutes an agreement between Vice President Bush's representatives and Governor Dukakis' representatives regarding the rules that will govern any Presidential and Vice Presidential debates [sic] in 1988.

1. Number
There will be two (2) Presidential debates and one (I) Vice Presidential debate. The parties further agree that they will not issue and challenge for additional debates during the broadcast of any of the three debates.

2. Dates
The parties agree that the Presidential debates will be held on Sundav, September 25, 1988 and Thursday, October 13, 1988, unless there is a 7th game of the American League play-offs in which case the second Presidential debate will he held on October 14, 1988.
        The parties further agree that the Vice Presidential debate will he held on Wednesday, October 5, 1988.

3. Sponsorship
The first Presidential debate and the Vice Presidential debate will be offered to the Commission on Presidential Debates for their sponsorship. The second Presidential debate will be offered to the League of Women Voters for their sponsorship. Sponsorship will be conditioned upon agreement to all provisions of this Memorandum of Understanding. In the event that either the Commission or the League does not accept the conditions of sponsorship per this agreement, representatives of the two candidates will immediately use their best efforts to obtain a mutually agreeable alternate sponsor.

4. Location
The cities of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Omaha, Nebraska; and Los Angeles, California will be the sites of the first presidential debate, the Vice Presidential debate and the second Presidential debate respectively.

5. Times
The first Presidential debate will begin at 8:00 p.m. Washington. D.C. time. The Vice Presidential debate will begin at 8:00 p.m. Omaha time. The beginning time of the second Presidential debate will be either 6:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. Los Angeles time as determined by the sponsor.

6. Format
The parties agree that the following format will be in effect for both Presidential debates as well as for the Vice Presidential debates [sic]:

  1. Each debate will last for a total of ninety (90) minutes, including all questions, answers and closing statements subject to the provisions in 6(a) in this section.
  2. The moderator will open and close the debate and will he responsible for strictly enforcing all the time limits. The moderator will use his best efforts to ensure that the questions asked of the candidates will he approximately equally divided between domestic and foreign policy. In addition, the moderator will identify each topic before the questions are asked by the panelists and will ensure that the agreed upon format is adhered to. If mutually agreed upon by representatives of both candidates, the moderator may, if he chooses, ask the first question of each candidate.
  3. There will be no opening statement by either candidate.
  4. Each candidate will have the option to make a closing statement that will not exceed two minutes in duration. In the first Presidential debate the first closing statement will be made by President Bush and the second closing statement will be made by Gov. Dukakis. These positions will he reversed in the second Presidential debate.
  5. Irrespective of whether or not the debate broadcast runs beyond the planned ending time, each candidate will be entitled to make a closing statement not to exceed two minutes in duration. The sponsors will use their best efforts to ensure that the networks will carry the entire debate even if it runs past the specified ending time.
  6. The question and answer sequence will be as follows:
    1. The moderator will indicate the topic, such as "arms control."
    2. A panelist will ask a question of Candidate "A ". (NOTE: The questions asked by the panelists will not exceed 45 seconds in duration.)
    3. Candidate "A" will have 2 minutes to respond.
    4. Candidate "B" will have 1 minute to rebut.
    5. The same panelist will then ask a question on the same subject of Candidate "B".
    6. Candidate "B" will have 2 minutes to respond.
    7. Candidate "A" will have I minute to rebut.
    8. The moderator will then indicate a second topic for questioning and the process will continue. The order in which the candidates are asked questions will be reversed for the Second Round and so forth throughout the debate. For example, on all odd numbered topics the first question will be directed to Candidate "A" and on all even numbered topics the first question will be directed to Candidate "B."

      NOTE: A coin flip has determined that in the first Presidential debate Vice President Bush will he Candidate "A" and Gov. Dukakis will be candidate "B." In the second Presidential debate Gov. Dukakis will be Candidate "A" and Vice President Bush will he Candidate "B."

  7. A coin flip for the Vice Presidential debate wilt be held as soon as possible with representatives of each candidate present. The coin flip will determine which candidate will receive the first question. That same candidate will make the first closing statement.
  8. The order of questioning by the panelists will he determined by a draw supervised by the sponsor with representatives of each candidate in attendance.
  9. There will he no direct candidate-to-candidate questioning.
  10. It is further agreed that excerpts from the debate programs will not he used out of context and will not be used in a false or deceptive manner.
  11. Each candidate will determine the manner by which he prefers to he addressed by the panelists and the moderator and will communicate this to the sponsor.

7. Selection of a Moderator

  1. Representatives of each candidate will submit a list of one (I ) to two (2) possible moderators to each other. Each side will then have the opportunity to approve or delete names from the others proposed list. When one (1) or more possible moderators on each side are agreed upon, then these two (2) or more names will be submitted to the sponsor who will then select one of these individuals to be the moderator for the first Presidential debate. If necessary, this process will be repeated until the agreed upon number of names are submitted to the sponsor.
  2. This same process will be followed for the second Presidential debate.
  3. There will be a different moderator for each of the three debates.
  4. As indicated in 6 (b), the role of the moderator will be to open the program, introduce the panelists, keep time on the length of' answers, identify each topic before the questions are asked and close the program. The moderator can ask the first question of each candidate if this is mutually agreed upon by representatives of the two candidates. The moderator will also use his best efforts to ensure that the questions asked of the candidates will be approximately equally divided between domestic and foreign policy.

8. Selection of Panelists

  1. Representatives of each candidate will submit a list of at least 6 (six) and not more than ten (10) possible panelists to each other. Each side will then have the opportunity to approve or delete names from the other's proposed list. When two (2) or more possible panelists are agreed upon from each list, these final two (2) names on each list will be submitted to the sponsor who will then select one from each list to be a panelist for the first Presidential debate. If, necessary, this process will be repeated until the agreed upon number of names are submitted to the sponsor.
  2. To select the third panelist, the sponsor will submit a list of ten (10) possible panelists to representatives of each of the candidates. These representatives will then mutually agree on two (2) or more possible panelists from the sponsor's list. The sponsor will then pick one (1) panelist From this list and that individual added to the two (2) selections from the process indicated in the previous paragraph will constitute the three (3) panelists for the first Presidential debate.
  3. The same process will be followed for each of the three debates.
  4. There will be different panelists for each of the three debates.
  5. All discussions, lists, or other writings between the parties regarding the inclusion or exclusion of potential moderators and/or panelists shall remain confidential between representatives of the candidates.

9. Staging (see attached diagram)

  1. After the debate program goes on the air the candidates will proceed simultaneously onto the stage from opposite wings per a verbal cue (to be determined) from the moderator.
  2. The candidates will each stand at a separate podium for both Presidential debates as well as for the Vice Presidential debate.
  3. The sponsor will construct podiums identical to view for the candidates to use. These podiums will be constructed in a style mutually agreed upon by representatives of both candidates. Specifically the Vice President's podium will measure 48 inches from the stage floor to the outside top of his podium facing the audience. Gov. Dukakis' podium will not exceed 48 inches when measured from the stage floor to the outside top of his podium facing the audience. Neither candidate's height will exceed 74 inches above the stage floor when the candidates are standing at their podiums. Other requirements for these podiums will be verbally transmitted to the sponsor by representatives of the two candidates. There will he no writings or markings of any kind on the front of these podiums.
  4. The microphones for each candidate will be attached to the podium. In no case will any microphone be physically attached to either candidate.
  5. For both Presidential debates, the Vice President will be standing at the stage right podium and Governor Dukakis will he standing at the stage left podium. For the Vice Presidential debate, Senator Bentsen will be standing at the stage right podium and Senator Quayle will he standing at the stage left podium.
  6. The candidates' podiums will he equally canted to the center of the stage at a degree to be determined by the producer and will not he more than 10 feet apart. (see attached diagram)
  7. Camera placement shall be as indicated on the attached diagram unless changed by mutual agreement.
  8. All cameras shall be locked into place during all three debates. They can, however, tilt or rotate as needed.
  9. TV coverage will he limited to shots of the candidates, panelists or moderator during the question and answer period of each debate. In no case shall any television shots be taken of any member of the audience (including candidate's family members) from the time the first question is asked until the conclusion of the closing statements.
  10. All members of the audience shall be requested by the moderator before the debate goes on the air and by the moderator after the program goes on the air not to applaud or otherwise participate in the debate by any means other than by silent observation.
  11. Each camera to which a candidate will direct his answer shall be outlined with a distinctively lighted color so that each candidate can clearly determine where he should direct his remarks if desiring to do so into the camera.
  12. The moderator and the panelists shall be seated so as to be positioned between the candidates and the cameras to which the candidates may direct their answers.
    (see attached diagram)
  13. A green light, clearly visible to the candidates, will be on when the candidates are asked their question. It will be a constant light and not a blinking one. The time cue given to indicate 30 seconds remaining for a candidate's answer shall be an amber light that will go on when that time remains. It will be a constant light and not a blinking one. Similarly, a red light shall go on at the same location as the green and amber lights 15 seconds before a candidate's time has expired. It will be a constant light and not an blinking one. There shall be two sets of these lights (one for each candidate) and these lights shall be large and in each candidate's direct line of sight to the camera to which he is giving his answer. The candidates shall not be required to look up, down or sideways to see these lights.
  14. Each candidate shall be permitted to have a complete production and technical briefing at the location of the debate on the day of the debate. Each candidate can have a maximum of one hour for this briefing. Production lock down will not occur for either candidate until that candidate has had his technical briefing and walk-through.
  15. There will be no taping allowed during the candidates' technical briefing at the location of the debate on the date of the debate.
  16. All of Vice President Bush's representatives shall vacate the debate site while Governor Dukakis has his technical briefing and vice versa.
  17. No press will be allowed into the auditorium where the debate will take place during the candidates production briefing.
  18. Each candidate may use his own makeup person.
  19. The candidates can take notes during the debate on the size, color and type of paper each prefers. Neither candidate will be permitted to take any notes or other material into the debate.
  20. Neither candidate shall have any staff member in the wings nor backstage later than five minutes after the debate has begun nor sooner than five minutes before the program concludes.
  21. Other than security personnel not more than 2 aides will accompany each candidate to the stage before the program begins.
  22. There will be no cut-aways to the candidate who is not responding to a question while his opponent is answering a question nor to the candidate who is not giving his closing statement while his opponent is doing so.
  23. The color of the backdrop will be mutually determined.
  24. The set will be completed and lit no later than 3 p.m. on the day before the debate will occur.
  25. There will he no tally lights lit on any of the cameras during the broadcast of the debate.

10.Ticket Distribution & Seating Arrangements

  1. Each candidate shall directly receive one-third of the tickets with the remaining one-third going to the debate sponsors.
  2. The candidates' families and supporters shall be given seats on the side of the auditorium from which their candidate is speaking. Each candidate shall have the first four rows for his personal use and succeeding rows will be made available for supporters of that particular candidate.
  3. Any press seated in the auditorium can only he accommodated in the furthest two rows of the auditorium. Two still photo pool stand's can be positioned near either side of the TV camera stands located in the audience. (A press center with all necessary feeds will be otherwise available.)
  4. Tickets will be delivered by the sponsor to the Chairman of each candidate's campaign by 12 noon on Monday, September 19 preceding the first Presidential debate unless other arrangements are made between each candidate and the Commission. Tickets for the succeeding two debates will be made available in a similar mariner no later than six days before each debate.

11. Dressing Rooms/Holding Rooms

  1. Each candidate shall have a dressing room available of adequate size so as to permit private seclusion for that candidate and adequate space for whatever number of staff that candidate desires to have in this area. An equal number of other backstage rooms will be available for other staff members of each candidate. All of these rooms can be furnished as deemed necessary by the candidate's representatives. The number of individuals allowed in these rooms shall be self-imposed by each candidate. Backstage passes (if needed) will be issued to the candidate's representatives as requested. The sponsor will not restrict the issuance of these passes.

    The rooms mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall be available at least 84 hours in advance of each debate. For example, if the first debate is held at 8 p.m. on September 25 then these rooms shall be available to the candidate representatives no later than 8 a.m. on Thursday September 22.

  2. Each candidate shall have dressing and staff holding rooms on opposite sides of the stage from those designated for the opposing candidate. If sufficient space is not available, the sponsor will rent a trailer of agreeable size for each candidate to use as desired by representatives of the candidates.

12. Miscellaneous

  1. Each candidate shall be allowed to have a photographer present on stage before the program begins, in the wings during the debate as desired, and on the stage immediately upon conclusion of the debate. Photos taken by these photographers may or may not be distributed to the press as determined by each candidate.
  2. Each candidate shall receive not less than 30 passes for The Press Center and more if mutually agreed upon.
  3. Each candidate shall be allowed to have an unlimited number of people in The Press Center upon the conclusion of the debate.
  4. The sponsor of each debate shall be responsible for all press credentialing.
  5. The sponsor will invite from their allotment (two tickets each) an agreed upon list of office holder's such as tile U.S. Senate and House Majority and Minority Leaders, the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor of the state holding the debate, that state's congressional delegation, appropriate state legislative representatives and the Mayor and City Council members of the city holding the debate.

13. Announcement of Agreement
This agreement shall not be announced publicly until signed by all parties and until a time for an announcement is mutually agreed upon.

 

                                                                                                                              
James A. Baker, III           Date                        Paul P. Brountas                     Date