Joe Biden

President Joe Biden will face his Republican rival, Donald Trump, in their first televised debate on June 27. CNN, which will host the debate, said there would be two commercial breaks and no props.  Microphones will be muted except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak.

The rules are designed to reduce interruptions and cross-talk that have marred televised showdowns between opposing candidates in recent presidential elections.

CNN, a division of Warner Bros Discovery, said debate moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash “will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion” during the 90-minute broadcast from Atlanta.

Another Biden-Trump face-off will be hosted by ABC anchors David Muir and Linsey Davis in September.

The debates are being organized outside the aegis of the  Commission on Presidential Debates following years of complaints.

90-minute debate, no studio audience

CNN said both candidates would appear at a uniform podium during the 90-minute debate. Podium positions will be determined by a coin flip and candidates will be given a pen, a pad of paper and a bottle of water but cannot use props.

“Microphones will be muted throughout the debate except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak,” CNN said.

In another rule, campaign staff wil not be allowed to interact with their candidate during the commercial breaks,

Moreover, unlike in previous debates, there will be no studio audience.

The debates come at a crucial time.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll earlier this month, Biden is losing support among voters without college degrees, a large group that includes Black people, Hispanic women, young voters and suburban women.

A campaign memo viewed by Reuters shows Biden has three preferred debate topics: abortion rights, the state of democracy and the economy. The key issues for Trump, on the contrary, are  immigration, public safety and inflation.

CNN and ABC want to ensure that the debates this time run more smoothly than in 2020, when moderator Chris Wallace had to intervene and  remind the candidates that he was asking the questions.

While Biden accuses Trump of being unhinged and a danger to democracy, Trump accuses Biden of being senile and corrupt.

CNN said that,  to take part in the debate, candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to win the election and receive at least 15% in four separate national polls.

It said it was “not impossible” that independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr, could still qualify, saying he has received at least 15% in three qualifying polls to date and has qualified for the ballot in six states, making him eligible for 89 electoral college votes.

Source: The Guardian

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