What to Expect in the First Presidential Debate


This combination of photos taken in Columbia, S.C. shows former President Donald Trump, left, on Feb. 24, 2024, and President Joe Biden on Jan. 27, 2024. The clash between Biden and Trump on Thursday, June 27, may be the most consequential presidential debate in decades. Biden is desperately seeking momentum amid pervasive concerns about his age and leadership on key foreign and domestic policies. Trump will step onto the stage brimming with confidence, despite his status as the only presidential debate participant ever convicted of a felony. (AP Photo)
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(AURN NEWS) — The political world is buzzing with anticipation as preparations continue for the first presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Scheduled for Thursday night in Atlanta, the high-stakes event, hosted by CNN, is poised to be a pivotal moment in the extremely close 2024 presidential race. It also comes much earlier on the calendar than we would typically see a presidential debate. 

The format will mark significant changes from previous debates between these political heavyweights. According to CNN, “The 90-minute debate will include two commercial breaks…and campaign staff may not interact with their candidate during that time.”

President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speak during the debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. on Oct. 22, 2020. President Joe Biden and Trump have agreed to participate in two general election debates: One in June and one in September. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

CNN also says that microphones will be muted, except when it is a candidate’s designated time to speak. Trump and Biden will be prohibited from bringing props or pre-written notes. Each candidate will be provided with only the bare necessities: a pen, a pad of paper, and a bottle of water. Another notable aspect of this debate is the absence of a live audience, which for Trump tends to be a source of energy and support. 

Weeks ago, CNN outlined its strict qualification criteria for debate participation. “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,” the news organization said.

The debate airs live on Thursday, June 17, 2024, at 9 PM ET on CNN.

Click play to listen to the AURN News report from Jamie Jackson:

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