CNN to host the inaugural 2024 debate between Trump and Biden without an audience

CNN plans to ‍host the first 2024 debate between​ Joe Biden and Donald Trump in Georgia with no audience. Candidates must meet specific criteria to ⁤participate, including appearing on enough ⁣state ballots to‌ reach​ 270​ electoral votes. Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. might qualify. Polling ⁤for eligibility started on ‍March 13, with rules and moderators to⁣ be announced later. CNN​ is set to host⁤ the⁤ inaugural 2024 debate ​between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in Georgia. Candidates must meet stringent criteria, such as being on sufficient state ballots for 270 electoral votes. Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could qualify. Polling‍ for eligibility commenced on March 13, with specifics on rules and moderators to follow.

On Wednesday, shortly after President Joe Biden challenged former President Donald Trump to a pair of debates on his terms, CNN announced that it would hold the first event in late June with no audience in the battleground state of Georgia.

CNN said in a press release the debate would be held in the cable network’s Atlanta studios at 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, embracing the proposal from Biden’s campaign to have the first event in the latter part of that month.

“To ensure candidates may maximize the time allotted in the debate, no audience will be present,” the press release said, adding that moderators for the debate and other details would be announced at a later date.

CNN said that the qualifications required to participate in the debate included a candidate’s name appearing on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency before the eligibility deadline.

That would leave an opening for independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to make it into the debate stage, though his inclusion would reject one of the stipulations made by Biden’s campaign to have a one-on-one contest with Trump.

CNN also said candidates must 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 polling window to determine eligibility for the debate, according to CNN, opened on March 13 and closes seven days before the date of the debate. CNN also listed a number of polls that meet its editorial standards.

While some see Kennedy as running a potential spoiler campaign, the third-party candidate has been working to get on the ballot in all 50 states and has reached double-digit support in some polls. Kennedy said in a post to X that keeping “viable candidates off the debate stage undermines democracy.”

Trump’s team released a memo addressed to Biden’s campaign that said the former president had accepted CNN’s debate invitation and noted that he approved Biden’s proposal for a debate in September.

In addition, Trump’s aides said, their boss proposed two more debates — one in July and another in August to “allow voters to have maximum exposure to the records and visions of each candidate” — in addition to the vice presidential debate.


Biden’s campaign, which made other demands, including “firm” time limits for answers and turning off a candidate’s microphone when it is not that person’s time to speak, did not immediately respond to the counter-offer, but the president did accept CNN’s plan.

“I’ve received and accepted an invitation from @CNN for a debate on June 27th. Over to you, Donald. As you said: anywhere, any time, any place,” Biden said in a post to X.

Both Trump and Biden later announced they had accepted an invitation to participate in a second debate on Tuesday, September 10, which would be hosted by ABC News.

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