What Time is Tonight's Debate: Schedule, Where to Watch Presidential Debate 2012


As Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney continues to gain momentum in national and swing state polls, President Obama is already preparing for the second presidential debate of 2012, a town hall-style affair to be held this Tuesday from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley in front of a live audience of undecided voters selected by Gallup.  

The debate will begin at 9:00 p.m. (ET), and last for 90 mins, until 10:30 p.m. All eyes will be on Romney and Obama who will rematch at a town hall-style debate from Hofstra University, moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley.

For the president, there are both good and bad news. The bad news is that, as it's almost universal by now, Obama fared poorly in the first presidential debate against Romney. The Republican candidate was seen as more assertive during the Denver face off, which has been reflecting both in national and swing states polls where the former governor of Massachusetts erased the lead the president enjoyed coming out of the national conventions. Additional pressure has been added by the fact that Vice President Joe Biden was unable to decisively beat Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan in the one and only VP debate from Kentucky last Thursday. 

However, since the Hosftra University debate will be held in a town hall-style, Obama should have the upper hand given that this format allows for more relatability with voters. It's not a secret that the president continues to beat Mitt Romney in who middle class voters would better relate to. Despite his win in Denver, Romney continues to be perceived as stiff and out of touch. If Obama follows Bill Clinton's "I feel your pain" playbook, as opposed to Biden's abrasive showing against Paul Ryan, he should be walking home with a much-needed win under his belt. 

Romney, on the other hand, comes to Hofstra with the overhead of having the momentum on his side. He needs not to get complacent though, as Obama did leading into the first debate, as the race's margins are slim and there is no room for error. If the former CEO avoids any major gaffes (such as betting $10K or saying he likes to fire people) he should be OK. However, this could be an opportunity for him to connect with voters in a genuine way once and for all and show the American electorate he is not indeed a robot

Unfortunately for the Obama supporters who want the president to come strong against Mitt Romney, they are going to have to wait until the third debate in Florida. Tuesday's debate is a town hall where the candidates will be taking questions from an audience of 100% non-partisan and independent voters. Any attempt by either candidate to be overly aggressive will surely turn off the audience at the debate and at home. 

As Election Day nears, both Romney and Obama should use the Hofstra University town hall debate to convey a message of unity and bipartisanship. For Romney, it will be easier to achieve as he can point to his record as a Republican governor in the blue state of Massachusetts. Obama, on the other hand, needs to leave confrontational attitudes to Joe Biden and other campaign surrogates, and try to rescue some of the hope, change and unity spirit that propelled him to the White House in 2008 with the support of voters from across the political spectrum.

Where to Watch PolicyMic's team of live bloggers, including our Pundits and editors, will be bringing you live coverage, analysis, and real-time play-by-play of the debate, starting at 7:00 pm EST. The debate begins at 9:00 pm and you can stream it live on PolicyMic's homepage. For real-time coverage and updates, follow along here.