Opening Speeches Or Closing Statements - CNN Announces Rules for Biden-Trump Presidential Debate

“Opening Speeches” Or “Closing Statements” – CNN Announces Rules for Biden-Trump Presidential Debate


President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will square off in Atlanta on Thursday night for the first general election debate of 2024.

Certain rules and formatting elements are normal; for example, candidates may take notes during the debate but may not bring prepared notes. Other rules and formatting elements, however, will be less common.

Below is a summary of the guidelines that CNN, the host for the event, and the two campaigns have agreed upon.

What’s the duration of the debate?

Ninety minutes, with two commercial breaks, beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Although it is typical for a presidential discussion, the commercial breaks are interesting: They were absent from previous cycles’ general-election debates, which were organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates rather than a specific news outlet.

Though they won’t be able to speak with their assistants during the commercial breaks, the contenders will have more time than in previous years to relax and gather themselves.

Will the audience be there in person?

No. The contenders will square off in front of a live-only CNN studio audience.

Opening Speeches Or Closing Statements - CNN Announces Rules for Biden-Trump Presidential Debate

The Biden campaign made this demand, most likely realizing that Trump enjoys and thrives on enthusiastic audiences.


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This is different from most previous election cycles, when there were sizable live crowds for the debates. However, the arrangement will resemble that of the last presidential election, but for distinct reasons: Due to the epidemic in 2020, debating places could only accommodate small gatherings of individuals.

What will be the positioning of the candidates?

They’ll be positioned at lecterns. After a coin flip, Biden was chosen to be on the right side of the TV screens for the audience.

Are there going to be introductions and conclusions?

No, for opening speeches; yes, for closing statements.

A coin flip decided the sequence in which the concluding speeches would be made. In the debate, Biden will speak first, and Trump will finish last.

How much time will the candidates have to respond to inquiries?

CNN will give each response two minutes, and rebuttals one minute. The CNN hosts Dana Bash and Jake Tapper, who serve as moderators, have the authority to extend the time limit at their discretion.

How will the moderators stop the pauses?

When a candidate’s time comes, their microphones will be muffled. That was yet another request made by Biden to prevent Trump from talking over and interrupting his opponents during debates.

Moderators frequently have the authority to turn off a contender’s microphone at their discretion if the candidate is not adhering to the time limit.

However, automated muting is less frequent. During the opening remarks made by each contender in each of the 15-minute segments of the 2020 debate, the opponents’ microphones were muffled, but not at other times.

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