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Presidential Debate 2024. Everything You Need to Know About the First Biden vs Trump Debate

For the first time in nearly 40 years, the Presidential Debate Commission is not involved in the organization of the debates

The political stage is set for the first presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, which will unfold on Thursday at CNN’s studios in Atlanta.

This event marks an early start to the debate season, scheduled much ahead of the traditional late September or October timelines. This strategic timing aligns with the onset of early voting, providing voters an opportunity to evaluate the candidates before casting their early votes.

Presidential Debate 2024 Format

The debate is structured to run for 90 minutes starting from 9:00 PM Eastern Time, with two commercial breaks included.

This year, the debate will be held without a live audience, a stipulation from Biden’s team aiming to avoid distractions that could arise from live audience reactions such as cheering or booing.

One notable change in the debate protocol is the muting of microphones when it is not a candidate’s turn to speak, ensuring a more orderly discussion. The candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, will be the only two participants on the stage, with independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., failing to qualify.

The positioning of the candidates has Biden on the right and Trump on the left from the viewer’s perspective, determined by a coin toss won by Biden. Trump, however, will have the last word during the closing statements, a detail also decided by a coin toss.

ALSO READ. What Time Is the Presidential Debate Tomorrow? The Most Searched About Biden vs. Trump


The moderators for the evening will be CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, promising a dynamic and possibly intense moderation style given the stakes of the debate.

Differences from Previous Debates

This debate breaks from tradition in several ways. For the first time in nearly 40 years, the Presidential Debate Commission is not involved in the organization of the debates, following dissatisfaction expressed by both Trump and Biden regarding the commission’s process. Additionally, the debates are occurring before the formal nomination conventions of both parties, which is another departure from the norm.

Despite both candidates having secured their party nominations in March, Trump plans to formally accept the Republican nomination at a convention in July in Milwaukee, whereas Biden will do the same for the Democratic nomination in August in Chicago.

Broadcast Information

For the first time in decades, CNN will exclusively host the debate, which will be broadcasted simultaneously across almost all major channels and numerous news websites. This setup is likely to capture the nation’s attention, particularly as a survey conducted this month indicated that 65% of registered voters plan to watch all or most of the debate.

CNN will broadcast the debate across all its platforms, including its main cable channel, CNN International, CNN in Spanish, and CNN Max. The debate will also be available on, and there is no requirement for viewers to log in or subscribe to watch the debate live.

Potential Impact

The early scheduling of the debate could significantly impact voter perceptions and decisions, especially as it coincides with the start of early voting. The exclusive broadcast by CNN across multiple platforms ensures extensive coverage and accessibility, allowing a broad audience to tune in and hear directly from the candidates. This debate not only serves as a critical platform for the candidates to outline their policies and address national issues but also as a pivotal moment in shaping the forthcoming electoral decisions.




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