Saint Louis University

Plan a Debate Watch

What is Debate Watch?

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established in 1987 to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners. Its primary purpose is to sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates. The organization, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) corporation, sponsored all the presidential debates in 19881992,199620002004, 2008, and 2012. To learn more about the Commission on Presidential Debates, its debate history and voter education resources, go to

Debate Watch Resources

League of Women Voters Debate Watching 101

How to Plan Your Own Debate Watch

Guide to Hosting a Debate Watch

Quick Tips About Hosting a Debate Watch 

  • Anyone can host a DebateWatch! Just pick a place with a television, pick a group of people, and pick a discussion leader.
  • Organize a DebateWatch by yourself or in conjunction with your professor, classmates, RA,  floormates, teammates, or student organization.
  • If you can't hold a DebateWatch when a debate is aired, simply record it and hold the discussion the next day.
  • Leading a DebateWatch does not require any special skills or expertise. Your main role is to pose discussion questions to the group members after they watch the debate. In the process you will make sure everyone gets a chance to speak and you will settle any disagreements among participants. 
  • Use DebateWatch to talk about issues important to students, such as the student loans, tuition increases, and jobs
  • Be sure to consider what to do before the debate and the night of the debate.
  • Throw a DebateWatch party by viewing a debate on a large screen or multiple televisions. Then, break into smaller groups of 6-12 to talk about candidates and issues. Solicit local pizza places or restaurants to provide free food. Invite entertainment, like local bands, to play before the debates.
  • Tap campus media (student newspaper, television/radio stations)

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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