As the longest running program on television, NBC's "Meet the Press" has a proud history of presenting its viewers with the very best in political debate. This election year will be no exception.

Starting September 3rd and continuing throughout October 2006, "Meet the Press" will again devote a portion of the broadcast to a special series of Senate Debates with candidates from some of the most interesting and competitive races in the country. The debates will be moderated by Tim Russert and will originate live, from the NBC Studios in Washington, D.C.

The debate series will kick off Sunday, September 3rd, with one of the most closely watched races this year -- Pennsylvania. Tim Russert will moderate the live debate between Senator Rick Santorum (R) and State Treasurer Bob Casey (D).

The complete schedule is as follows:

September 3rd - PENNSYLVANIA Incumbent Senator Rick Santorum (R) vs. State Treasurer Bob Casey (D)

September 17th - VIRGINIA Incumbent Senator George Allen (R) vs. former Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb (D)

October 1st - OHIO Incumbent Senator Mike DeWine (R) vs. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D)

October 8th - MISSOURI Incumbent Senator Jim Talent (R) vs. State Auditor Claire McCaskill (D)

October 15th - MINNESOTA OPEN SEAT - Sen. Mark Dayton (D) is retiring. Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar (D) vs. Rep. Mark Kennedy (R)

October 29th - MARYLAND OPEN SEAT - Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D) is retiring. Rep. Ben Cardin (D) vs. Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R).

"Meet the Press" created its "Senate Debate Series" in 2002, hosting debates from Colorado, South Carolina and Louisiana. The series was well received and went on to win the prestigious USC Annenberg Walter Cronkite Award for "Excellence in Television Political Journalism."

In 2004, "Meet the Press" continued the Debate Series with much success featuring the Senate races from South Dakota, Oklahoma, Colorado and South Carolina.

Betsy Fischer is the executive producer of "Meet the Press with Tim Russert." Michelle Jaconi and Rebecca Samuels are the producers.

Now you can watch "Meet the Press" wherever and whenever you want. With our "Meet the Press Webcast", You can now watch the show in its entirety, free of charge, on-demand and online beginning at 1:00 p.m., ET on Sunday afternoons at www.mtp.msnbc.com.  You can also get the latest "Meet the Press Podcast" downloaded for free to your computer or MP3 player at: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8132577/#mtp .

"Meet the Press" is regularly seen from 9-10 a.m. ET, except in Washington D.C. and New York City where the broadcast is seen from 10:30-11:30 a.m ET. Please check local listings or the "Meet the Press" Web site for airtimes in your area.

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