Bell Ringers

Bell Ringer: Presidential Election Debates

Presidential Election Debates

Frank Fahrenkopf previewed the 2016 presidential and vice presidential debates. Topics included possible candidate qualification rule changes, and the Commission on Presidential Debates' financial and organizational structure. ** This clip is part of C-SPAN Classroom's FREE resources for teachers and students. Visit for more info. **


Frank Fahrenkopf discussed presidential debates, their history, candidate qualification rules, and the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Bell Ringer Assignment

  • Describe the history of presidential debates and how they have changed over time.
  • Explain what happened in the 1984 presidential debates with its moderators. What was created in response to this situation?
  • Describe the organizational structure of the Commission on Presidential Debates.
  • What are the criteria for candidate participation in presidential debates? What challenges is the commission facing regarding these requirements?
  • Describe some of the format changes of the debates in the past twenty years.



  • 501(c)(3) Organization
  • Commission On Presidential Debates
  • Debate Moderator
  • League Of Women Voters
  • Political Action Committee
  • Veto


Campaigns & ElectionsExecutive BranchPolitical Parties


Middle SchoolHigh School