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These are the rules Trump and Biden agreed to follow in CNN presidential debate

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will duke it out on the debate stage on Thursday, but in the first 2024 presidential debate, there will be some adjustments to previous debate rules. The debate will be hosted by CNN rather than the Commission on Presidential Debates, which had organized the general election debates […]

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will duke it out on the debate stage on Thursday, but in the first 2024 presidential debate, there will be some adjustments to previous debate rules.

The debate will be hosted by CNN rather than the Commission on Presidential Debates, which had organized the general election debates since the 1988 campaign. With the new organizer comes some changes from the traditional debate format seen in years past.

Here are the rules to expect for Thursday’s debate:


Response time

Both Biden and Trump will have two minutes to answer questions, and one minute to respond or rebut claims. Tapper and Bash will have the option to allow an additional minute at their own volition for follow-ups and clarifications.

Microphones

One of the biggest changes to the debate rules has to do with microphones for each candidate. CNN has said microphones will be muted except during the allotted time for each candidate.

During the 2020 debates, Trump’s interruptions of Biden caused the latter’s campaign to push for the ability for moderators to mute interruptions. CNN’s plan to mute the candidates’ microphones is a slight departure from the method in 2020, when microphones were unmuted by default.

Trump and Biden will be able to tell how much time they have left to speak through “timing” lights the network has set up throughout the studio and in the candidates’ field of vision. When the lights are yellow, they have 15 seconds left, and when they flash red they have five seconds. When the light is solidly red, their time is up and their microphone will be turned off.

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On the candidates’ podiums will be two green lights as well, signaling when the microphone is on. When they are off, the candidate will know their microphone is off as well.

Lack of audience

The debate will also be quieter than previous debates in a different way because it will take place in CNN’s Atlanta studio and will have no audience. In past years, the commission had typically staged debates at universities across the country with an audience.

The request for no audience came from Biden’s campaign, which argued in a letter declining debates by the Commission on Presidential Debates that “building huge spectacles with large audiences at great expense simply isn’t necessary or conducive to good debates.”

Length

The debate will be roughly 90 minutes long, keeping with the traditional length, but unlike in years past, it will include two commercial breaks. Debates sponsored by the commission had not included commercial breaks, but primary debates hosted by networks like CNN have traditionally had commercial breaks.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden exchange points during the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

During the two commercial breaks, candidates will not be permitted to interact with campaign staff.

Other rules

Both candidates will be standing at a podium, with Biden at the right podium and Trump at the left podium. Biden will give the first closing statement, while Trump will have the second closing statement — and therefore will have the final word.

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CNN has outlined that candidates will not be allowed to have props or notes brought on the stage, but a pen, paper, and water bottle will be provided at the podium.

The network has also said it will allow moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash to “use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

The first presidential debate will begin at 9 p.m. from Atlanta and will air on CNN, along with various other networks and cable channels.

Biden and Trump have agreed to a second presidential debate in September, which will be hosted by ABC News and will likely have a similar set of rules, as agreed upon by the campaigns.

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