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CNN sets first Biden-Trump presidential debate for June 27 in Atlanta

(Credit: Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Images)

Ariana Figueroa, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
May 15, 2024

WASHINGTON — CNN announced on Wednesday morning that it will host a debate between President Joe Biden and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the network’s Atlanta studios on June 27.

CNN said there would be no audience present for the debate and moderators will be announced later.

A second debate will be hosted by ABC News on Sept. 10 in which both candidates have agreed to partake, according to ABC News

Biden earlier Wednesday had called for two debates to be held before early voting for the November election begins — and Trump responded that he would do it.

On X, formerly Twitter, Biden wrote that he had accepted an invitation from CNN for a debate on June 27.

“Over to you, Donald,” Biden wrote. “As you said: anywhere, any time, any place.”

Trump has also accepted to participate in the June debate, according to CNN.

Biden started Wednesday’s exchanges over debates when he wrote to the Commission on Presidential Debates saying he would not agree to a three-debate schedule laid out earlier by the nonpartisan organization, which has been organizing presidential debates since the 1980s. The first would have been Sept. 16.

“President Joe Biden believes the interests of the American people are best served by presidential debates that offer timely and relevant information to help inform voters before they make their choices — and that allow a head-to-head comparison of the two candidates with a chance of winning the election,” Jen O’Malley Dillon, the chair for the Biden campaign, wrote in a letter to the commission.

Trump then accepted Biden’s proposed debates, one in June and another in September, on his social media site, Truth Social. “I am Ready and Willing to Debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September,” Trump wrote.

“Crooked Joe Biden is the WORST debater I have ever faced – He can’t put two sentences together!,” he also wrote.

Trump added that he wants to debate with Biden on immigration policy, electric vehicles, inflation, taxes and foreign policy. He also called for more than two debates.

Breaking with precedent

By notifying the Commission on Presidential Debates that the president would not partake in its debates, the Biden campaign broke precedent and instead said that news organizations should host the debates.

The Biden campaign proposed that the hosting broadcast news organizations be any that held a Republican primary debate in 2016 that Trump participated in and any news organization that hosted a Democratic primary debate in which Biden participated in 2020.

That is so that “neither campaign can assert that the sponsoring organization is obviously unacceptable,” according to the letter.

The campaign proposed that the first debate be held in late June, “after Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial is likely to be over and after President Biden returns from meeting with world leaders at the G7 Summit.”

The second debate should be at the start of early September, the campaign argued, so that it is “early enough to influence early voting, but not so late as to require the candidates to leave the campaign trail in the critical late September and October period.”

The Biden campaign is also proposing that a vice presidential debate be held in late July, after the GOP nominee and running mate are selected at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

One unknown is whether an independent candidate such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. might also qualify for debates.

CNN said in a press release that to qualify for participation in its debate, ”a candidate’s name must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency prior to the eligibility deadline; agree to accept the rules and format of the debate; and receive at least 15% in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters that meet CNN’s standards for reporting.”

The statement added that acceptable polls will include 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.

“The polling window to determine eligibility for the debate opened March 13, 2024, and closes seven days before the date of the debate,” the statement said.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.