Negotiators yesterday reported making "some progress" in arranging televised campaign debates, and a top White House official said President Reagan is considering more than one encounter with his Democratic rival, Walter F. Mondale.
Both sides indicated that they were close to reaching an agreement after a 90-minute meeting that included White House chief of staff James A. Baker III and Mondale campaign chairman James A. Johnson.
"We made some progress," Baker told reporters as he emerged from what he termed "a very useful meeting."
"I think it's safe to say there will be at least one presidential debate," he said, adding that the White House is "giving serious consideration to more presidential debates and a vice-presidential debate."
Mondale has been calling for six presidential debates, while Reagan has countered with an offer to meet him once.
Johnson told reporters, "We think we made some progress today," but he said, "We certainly have some differences on the timing" of any debates.
The White House would like to hold such exchanges early, while Mondale forces would like them fresh in the minds of voters as they go to the polls Nov. 6.
The negotiators said they also need to work out the format that would be used.