CBS News to Host First Debate; ABC News Sets Another

CBS News is close to finalizing plans for its first debate of the 2008 presidential campaign, according to network sources.

The debate would be held in North Carolina, which has its primary May 6 along with Indiana.

Katie Couric would moderate with chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer.

The network is considering several dates including April 19, the Saturday before the April 22 Pennsylvania primary. But while Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) agreed to a pre-Pennsylvania debate in North Carolina, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) did not, so a date closer to the May 6 North Carolina/Indiana primaries -- where 218 delegates are up for grabs -- is the likely scenario.

Couric is the only nightly-news anchor not to host a debate during a presidential campaign packed with them. She was to host a Democratic debate Dec. 10 in Los Angeles, but it was scuttled due to concerns over Writers Guild of America picket lines.

Both candidates agreed to an ABC News debate April 16 in Philadelphia with Charles Gibson the likely moderator.

ABC hosted back-to-back primetime debates in January days before the New Hampshire primary. The Democratic portion of the debate is still the highest-rated of the record-breaking 2008 campaign with 9.36 million viewers tuning in.