Republican presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman are getting ready for their 'in-depth' debate.

Both the candidates will be meeting up Dec. 12 at St Anselm College in New Hampshire for a debate modeled on historic 1858 tussle between Abraham Lincoln and Senator Stephen Douglas. This has opened up a public debate on the traditional structure of current U.S. presidential poll debates that are tailor-made for televisions.  

The Republican presidential campaign has seen 12 poll debates so far and the next debate is scheduled for Dec. 15 at Sioux City in state of Lowa. These televised debates serve as the best platforms for the candidates to reach out to the voters. They have game-changing potential. They expose the candidates' drawbacks, campaign errors and boost one's image while seriously damage the other's chances.

The biggest beneficiary so far from the debates is former house speaker Newt Gingrich. His strong oratory and presentation skills in televised debates have boosted his image and helped him emerge as lead challenger at least in three states. While the never ending 'oops' statements from Texas Governor Rick Perry has left a serious damage on his poll prospects.   

Newt Gingrich, the current republican front runner, had been critical of current presidential poll debate models which are more or less modeled on television sound bite format.

The current system is highly moderator-dominated and hardly gives any chance for in-depth discussions. With the candidates getting just a few minutes in turns to express their thoughts, these debates end up at throwing jibes at each other or limit the scope of issues discussed to a peripheral level.

The candidates don't get a real chance to explain or justify their stands. Thus the viewers might get a chance to know what a candidate's stand is on an issue but hardly get a chance to learn what makes him take that stand. The in-depth policy discussions, which would really help the voters to assess a candidate, hardly happen in the traditional debates.

The duel between Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman is expected to be a lengthy one giving sufficient scope and time for serious discussion on the selected topics.

Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman target to bolster their public image with in-depth, one-to-one discussions on the U.S. public- foreign policy, in their New Hampshire duel. Newt Gingrich, confident of his strong oratory skills and strong performances in this year's debates, will attempt to showcase his expertise in public policy matters.

For Jon Huntsman, who couldn't grab much media attention in traditional debates, this opportunity will provide the best chance to exhibit his strengths and experience in government and private sector.

The scheduled debate will also pose a greater challenge to the candidates as the arguments or allegations they make will have to be well-substantiated and any baseless comments can go awfully wrong. This kind of debate will also expose the real knowledge a candidate has on various topics.

The actual format for the debate is not revealed yet, but it is expected to go on a shortened version of the Lincoln-Douglas model.