Bush is afraid of a debate format that might lead to unscripted questions:
President Bush may skip one of the three debates that have been proposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates and accepted by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Republican officials said yesterday.
The officials said Bush’s negotiating team plans to resist the middle debate, which was to be Oct. 8 in a town meeting format in the crucial state of Missouri.
The audience for the second debate, to be at Washington University in St. Louis, was to be picked by the Gallup Organization. The commission said participants should be undecided voters from the St. Louis area.
A presidential adviser said campaign officials were concerned that people could pose as undecided when they actually are partisans.