US elections

CNN rules for first US presidential debate: no props, muted microphones


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CNN rules for first US presidential debate: no props, muted microphones

HEAD-TO-HEAD. Combination picture showing former US president Donald Trump attending the Trump Organization civil fraud trial, in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., November 6, 2023, and US President Joe Biden participating in a meeting with Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, March 1, 2024.

Brendan McDermid and Elizabeth Frantz via REUTERS

'Microphones will be muted throughout the debate except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak,' CNN says

WASHINGTON, USA – The first US presidential debate between incumbent Joe Biden and Republican rival Donald Trump on June 27 will include two commercial breaks, no props, and muted microphones except when recognized to speak, CNN said Saturday, June 15.

In May, the candidates agreed to face off in two debates including one this month that will be moderated by CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash in Atlanta, while the other on September 10 will be hosted by ABC DIS.N.

CNN said Saturday both candidates will 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.

CNN, a division of Warner Bros Discovery WBD.O, said the moderators “will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion.”

During the two commercial breaks, campaign staff may not interact with their candidate, and there will be no studio audience.

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

CNN said it is “not impossible” Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running as an independent, could 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.

Debates, which will draw a US live television audience in the tens of millions, are fraught with risks for both candidates, who face a close race.

Biden has three preferred debate topics, according to a campaign memo viewed by Reuters: abortion rights, the state of democracy, and the economy.

Trump refused to debate his rivals during the Republican nominating race. His team has pointed to immigration, public safety, and inflation as key issues ahead of the debate. –

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