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June 24, 2024 3 min read

Joe Biden and Donald Trump will take the debate stage together for the first time in four years on Thursday as they gear up for a tight presidential rematch in November.

In the days leading up to the debate, the candidates have adopted dueling prep strategies. Biden has hunkered down at Camp David, surrounding himself with top advisers as he practices and homes in on themes the campaign hopes to emphasize during the debate.

Trump, on the other hand, hit the campaign trail on Saturday with a Faith & Freedom Coalition gathering in Washington and a rally in Philadelphia, where he polled the audience on whether he should be “tough and nasty” or “nice and calm” with Biden at the debate. Off the trail, allies and experts have engaged Trump in policy discussions.

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Here’s everything you need to know before the upcoming debate:

When is the debate?

The first 2024 presidential debate will be held on Thursday, June 27 at 9 p.m. EST. It will run for 90 minutes with two commercial breaks.

Where is the debate, and who’s moderating?

CNN is hosting the debate at its studios in Atlanta, with network anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash moderating.

How can I watch the debate?

The debate will air live on CNN, CNN International, CNN en Español and the streaming platform Max. Viewers who do not have a cable subscription can watch on CNN.com.

CNN is offering other networks a free simulcast of the debate with one main stipulation: The network’s on-air watermark must remain on screen. Fox News, ABC, NBC and C-SPAN have all agreed to CNN’s terms and will carry the broadcast.

What are the debate rules?

In a departure from debate tradition, there will be no studio audience — a demand Biden’s advisers felt could strip Trump of a major advantage and prevent a rowdy crowd of supporters from overtaking the event. Biden and Trump will get two commercial breaks to refresh, but they cannot confer with their campaign staff during this time.

The moderators will also have the ability to mute the candidates’ mics to avoid cross-talk and interruptions between turns, which plagued Biden and Trump’s first debate showdown in 2020. There will be no opening statements; candidates will dive straight into the moderators’ questions. Biden and Trump will have two minutes each for answers, one minute for rebuttals and one minute for responses to the rebuttals.

Candidates will be provided with a pen, pad of paper and water bottle. Props or pre-written notes will be prohibited on stage.

Biden’s campaign won the coin toss to decide either the order of the candidates’ closing statements or their podium position. The president selected the right podium, placing Trump to the left of viewers’ screens. Trump’s campaign opted to take the last word of the night, positioning Biden to deliver his closing statement first.

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What were the qualifications for making the debate?

To qualify for the debates, candidates first needed to satisfy the U.S. Constitution’s requirements to serve as president and file a formal statement of candidacy to the Federal Election Commission. Biden, Trump, independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., independent Cornel West and Green Party candidate Jill Stein all met these qualifications.

CNN also required that debaters appeared on enough state ballots to possibly win at least 270 electoral votes and received at least 15 percent of the vote in four separate national polls that met CNN’s standards. Kennedy did not qualify because he hit 15 percent in only three polls and fell short of the required number of electoral votes, according to CNN — although he called his exclusion from the debate “undemocratic, un-American, and cowardly.”

West and Stein also did not meet the necessary thresholds.

Source: Politico - What to know about the first 2024 presidential debate

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