The campaigns of John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL) have agreed to the debate schedule put forth by the Commission on Presidential Debates. They will run from 9/26/08 through 10/15/08, with three presidential face-offs and one featuring the as-yet-unnamed VP candidates. PBS will handle one of three presidential debates and the only VP face-off, with one presidential confrontation each for NBC and CBS, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. Kicking off will be PBS’s Jim Lehrer, 9/26/08 at The University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. The veeps meet 10/2/08 at Washington University in St. Louis with PBS host Gwen Ifill in the questioner’s chair. NBC’s Tom Brokaw is next, 10/7/08 at Belmont University in Nashville. Finally, CBS’s Bob Schieffer will close out the schedule 10/15/08 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.
Meanwhile, the two campaigns are about even at the moment in the cash-on-hand department, kind of. Obama spent $57.2M in July, with $33M going to advertising, and reported $65.8M in the bank. McCain’s comparables are $32.4M, $18.7M and $21.4M. The difference comes when comparing the DNC, with $28.5M, to the RNC, with $75.1M. Total the numbers and the Republicans have a slight edge.
RBR/TVBR observation: Supposedly, neither political committee can coordinate their expenditures with the candidates. So the difference here is that Obama has more money to spend on messages he can control directly, while McCain will have to have faith in the RNC’s ability to decipher his message and deliver positive results. This comes down to issues on where to spend as well. The committees may also decide to divert funds to other lower-level campaigns. But these numbers indicate an interesting tight battle ahead.