The Obama and Romney campaigns, in addition to the public rules laid down by the Commission on Presidential Debates, have agreed to other secret rules to keep things from getting out of hand.
Mark Halperin of Time magazine made the rules public. The agreement begins with this rule, which among other things effectively freezes out Jill Stein, Gary Johnson or any other third-party candidate from appearing on radio or TV with Obama or Romney.
“The parties agree they will not (1) issue any challenges for further debates, (2) appear at any other debate or adversarial forums except as agreed to by the parties and (3) accept any television or radio time offer that involve a debate format or otherwise involve the simultaneous appearance of more than one candidate.”
Here are some more rules.
“To the best of the Commission’s abilities, there will be no TV cut-aways to any candidate who is not responding to a question while another candidate is answering a question or to a candidate who is not giving a closing statement while another candidate is doing so.” …
In the town hall debate tonight, Candy Crowley “shall select the questioners, but she may not ‘coach’ the questioners.” Questioners must submit questions in advance, and ask the questions exactly as submitted. If a questioner tries to ask a follow-up, they will cut off his or her microphone.
“No props, notes, diagrams or other writing or other tangible things may be brought into the debate by any candidate, and, prior to the beginning of the debate, the Commission shall verify as appropriate that the candidates have complied… “
“The candidates may not ask each other direct questions… “
“The Commission shall use best efforts to maintain an appropriate temperature as agreed to by the campaigns.”
Click on The 2012 Debates: Memorandum of Understanding Between the Obama and Romney Campaigns for the complete memorandum revealed by Mark Halperin of Time magazine.
Click on The lame rules for presidential debates for Glenn Greenwald’s reaction. [Added 10/17/12]
Click on The Secret Debate Rules Obama and Romney Agreed To for Elspeth Reeve’s summary on The Atlantic Wire.