Biden and Trump Qualify for 1st Presidential Debate

The two presumptive nominees are the only candidates to meet the requirements in time to make the debate stage on June 27.

President Joe Biden will face former President Donald Trump in the earliest presidential debate in history during an election year, as the window to qualify closed on June 20.

The CNN-hosted event, which will be held in Atlanta on June 27, is the first time that a sitting president will debate a former president. Dana Bash and Jake Tapper will moderate as the two candidates spar on the debate stage for the first time since 2020. No other candidates met the qualification requirements by June 20, the network announced.

To secure a spot in CNN’s debate, candidates had to garner 15 percent of support in at least four national polls while earning viability on enough state ballots to reach the 270 delegates required to clinch the electoral college. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running as an independent, was unable to meet the requirements.

A coin toss to determine podium placements and who gets the last word during closing statements was conducted, and President Biden won by choosing tails, according to the network.

That gave the president the choice to either select his podium position or determine who gets to make the first and last closing argument. President Biden opted to select the right podium position, putting him on the right side of viewers’ televisions and his opponent on the left.

President Trump’s campaign then chose for their candidate to make the final closing statement in the debate, giving the first to President Biden.Although the debate is a preamble to a likely rematch between President Biden and President Trump, who are the presumptive nominees of their respective parties, there are several differences with this early presidential debate.

For one, the June 27 matchup will have no studio audience, unlike previous debates hosted by universities.

Candidates also agreed to microphone muting throughout the 90-minute debate. Whenever a candidate is speaking, the other candidate’s microphone will remain muted.

According to the rules, moderators will also have the power to “use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure civilized discussion,” as previous debates between the two presidents were mired with name-calling and frequent interruptions.

There will be no props or prewritten notes allowed, but each of the candidates will have a pad of paper, a pen, and a bottle of water at his disposal.

Both President Biden and President Trump agreed to the rules in May, and the second debate will be hosted by ABC on Sept. 10.

A Quinnipiac poll released after the debates were announced found that 72 percent of Americans said they would likely watch the rematch between the two candidates, and 27 percent said they likely would not tune into the early debate.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who previously ran for president in the 2016 election, said that she has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that she has been unfairly excluded from CNN’s debate; she suggested that voters should hear from all candidates.

“We know that the American people are really hungry for real debate and discussion, and I think they are owed that, and we need to have that,” Ms. Stein said in a June 19 interview with Scripps News.

In national polls averages on RealClearPolitics, Ms. Stein has earned only about 1 percent support.


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