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CNN Drops Additional Rules For First 2024 Presidential Debate

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


CNN has dropped some new rules for the presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, including the possibility that a third-party candidate could be on stage as well.

Biden appeared to have gotten everything he wanted in the debate, which the former president has agreed to. The June 15 debate will be 90 minutes and have two commercial breaks, during which the candidates will not be allowed to interact with their staffs, CNN reported.

“Both candidates agreed to appear at a uniform podium, and their podium positions will be determined by a coin flip,” the network said.

“Microphones will be muted throughout the debate except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak. While no props or pre-written notes will be allowed on the stage, candidates will be given a pen, a pad of paper and a bottle of water.

“Some aspects of the debate – including the absence of a studio audience – will be a departure from previous debates. But, as in the past, the moderators “will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion,” according to the network,” it said.

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The network added, however, that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s participation in the debate is not impossible, though it’s also not considered likely at this point.

“All participating debaters must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency and receive at least 15% in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters that meet CNN’s standards for reporting. Polls that meet those standards are those sponsored by CNN, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Marquette University Law School, Monmouth University, NBC News, The New York Times/Siena College, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College, Quinnipiac University, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post,” it said of the requirements.

Kennedy received 15 percent in three qualifying polls and is on the ballot in 6 states, which would make him eligible for 86 Electoral College votes.

In May, Trump agreed to a new debate format for an upcoming showdown with Biden.

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Normally, the 45th president prefers to stand during his debates, but he has agreed to sit at a table with Biden after the 81-year-old commander-in-chief’s campaign requested it, the New York Post reported.

“I hear now we’re sitting at tables. I don’t want to sit at a table,” Trump told John Catsimatidis and Rita Cosby during an appearance on the “Cats & Cosby Show” on WABC 770 AM.

“I said, ‘No, let’s stand.’ But they want to sit at a table,” Trump said. “So we’ll be sitting at a table as opposed to doing it the way you should be, in my opinion, in a debate.”

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee went on to explain that his personal preference would be to “walk out to a podium” and “stand for an hour and a half or two hours.”

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“But they have [Biden] sitting at a table, so that’s not so good,” Trump said, calling the seated debate format “one of the many” requests the Biden campaign insisted on, likely because Biden’s people are well aware of his deteriorating mental and physical health.

“But I agree to their requests because I want to debate him,” the former president told Catsimatidis and Cosby, adding that at some point, he will press Biden on his chaotic and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. “If [Biden] gets through the debate, they’ll say it was brilliant,” Trump noted further.

The Trump and Biden campaigns have scheduled two debates, one hosted by CNN on June 27 and another with ABC News on Sept. 10. It’s unclear whether the seated format will be used for both debates. According to the Biden campaign’s request, there will be no live audience at either forum.

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