How many questions will there be, and who chooses them? In this first, 1-1/2-hour debate, there will be just six questions, all focused on domestic issues. Moderator Jim Lehrer, of PBS Newshour, has already outlined what their basic thrust will be: three questions on the economy, one on health care, one on governing, and one on the role of government. Mr. Lehrer chooses the questions. This is a change from past years, in which debates have typically had more questions and shorter discussion times. Lehrer, in part, advocated for the new format, and pushed to reduce the number of questions from nine to six, in the hopes that it would encourage more of a television talk-show approach, in which the candidates engage in discussion rather than just deliver talking points. What are the rules of the debate? Each question will have a 15-minute period devoted to it. After Lehrer asks the question, each candidate will get two minutes to respond. After that initial response, Lehrer can ask follow-up questions to provoke discussion between the two. The candidates will also have two minutes for closing statements. The candidates cannot ask each other questions. Presidential debate: what you need to know about Jim Lehrer's rules - CSMonitor.com If they cannot ask each other questions I wonder if they will even talk to each other?? The rules seem so different from past debates.