Final Presidential Debate tonight at 9PM ET / 6PM PT

The final presidential debate between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain will take place tonight, Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 at 9pm eastern time, 6pm pacific time. The debate will be broadcast from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

Watch the entire, unedited debate video here: Video: Final Presidential Debate from Hofstra University

We will have the entire, unedited debate video available here once it airs. Tonight’s format will be a traditional debate, however, each candidate will be seated at a table with the moderator for a much more personal appearance.

Time: 9PM ET / 6PM PT
Channel: CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS, C-SPAN
Web Stream: Available below at 9PM ET / 6PM PT
Location: Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
Length: 90 minutes
Format: Domestic/Foreign Policy Traditional Debate
Moderator: Bob Schieffer from CBS News

The Seattle Times has a dire outlook for voters hoping to get some specific details tonight:

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama and John McCain get their last chance Wednesday night to debate before tens of millions of voters about how they differ over remedies for the nation’s most vexing issues: the economy, health care and the future of Medicare and Social Security.

But few experts expect much new insight from their 90-minute debate at 6 p.m. Seattle time.

Not only does the format discourage talk about details, but also on the stump, on their Web sites and in their ads, the campaigns have shown little desire to get too precise.

“I’ve been very disappointed in both of them for the lack of vision,” said William Shughart, professor of economics at the University of Mississippi.

He and others don’t expect much depth.

“The debate format doesn’t lend itself to detail or complexity,” said Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., is the site of the third and final debate. McCain and Obama will answer questions from moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS.

The debate is to focus on domestic issues. It will include two-minute answers and then five minutes of discussion.

Schieffer says he’ll press for specifics, but historians say he’s got a tough job, because candidates tend to be vague, even in tough times.

“Franklin Roosevelt in the 1932 campaign was famously known for promising bold, persistent experimentation,” without being too specific, said John Geer, editor of the Journal of Politics.

The recent model for substantive campaigning was probably 1992, when candidates spent months debating the economy and offered books laying out their proposed programs.

Here’s to hoping Schieffer presses them both on details, never mind the so-called “debate rules” both campaigns may have agreed on.

Another view from CNN on whether it’s McCain’s last stand:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The third and final presidential debate is shaping up to be a make-or-break appearance for both Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, one of the last chances to get their message out to undecided voters.

The 90-minute face-off will undoubtedly focus on the economic crisis plaguing the country.

And unlike at the other two debates, the candidates will sit at a table facing one another.

CBS News’ Bob Schieffer, host of “Face the Nation,” will moderate the debate and told The Associated Press on Sunday that he will be seeking more on what each will bring to the presidency.

“By now, we’ve all heard their talking points,” he said. “We’ve heard the general outlines of what they are talking about. The time has come to be a little more specific.”

Schieffer said he’s not reluctant to get both candidates to stick to the question.

“It will not embarrass me, if they go off in a different direction, to say, ‘excuse me, could you focus on the question that I just asked?’ ” he said.

The veteran journalist last moderated a debate in the 2004 presidential race between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry.

A Hofstra University official said Tuesday that both candidates have made interesting demands.

Both campaigns, for example, have requested that an air-conditioning vent be placed above their candidate in order to prevent sweating, and the Nixon-Kennedy debate could be the reason.

In the 1960 presidential debate with John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon’s excessive perspiration and 5 o’clock shadow became fodder in the media and arguably one of the more memorable moments in debate history.

Another demand cited by the official: Both candidates are demanding a water glass, and not just any glass. They want an exact replica of water glasses used at the previous debates.

As the clock ticks down to the debate, both candidates are in full preparation mode.


Video from Fox 5 in New York about the Hofstra preparations:

We’ll be eagerly awaiting kick-off at 9pm eastern time. More on this story as it develops.


Watch the entire, unedited debate video here: Video: Final Presidential Debate from Hofstra University