Proposed Debates: A Startling Development 

Networks to Host Early Debates
CNN Studios
Atlanta, GA
June 27, 2024
Moderators: Jake Tapper and Dana Bash
ABC News
Sept. 10, 2024
Moderators: David Muir and Linsey Davis
(ema May 15, updated May 17, 2024)  Circumventing the Commission on Presidential Debates, on May 15, 2024 the Biden campaign proposed that presidential debates be held in June and September, and former President Donald J. Trump accepted.  CNN promptly announced a debate between the two will occur on June 27, and ABC News followed, announcing a debate on Sept. 10. 

According to news reports, on May 15 Biden's campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillion penned a letter outlining the Biden campaign's debate proposal, but most of the discussion unfolded on social media, starting with Biden's melodramatic "Make my day, pal" video.  Before May 15, Biden and Trump had been engaging in a back-and-forth which led observers to wonder if any debates would occur.  There is still no guarantee that the June and September meetings will take place. 


The vice presidential debate situation remains murky.  On May 16, CBS News announced the outlines of a vice presidential debate: "The Biden campaign has accepted CBS News' invitation to participate in a vice presidential debate.  The campaign says that either the proposed dates of July 23 or August 13 would be acceptable for Vice President Kamala Harris.  The Trump campaign has not yet publicly accepted the invitation and Donald Trump has not yet named a running mate."  Trump countered on May 17: "On behalf of the future Vice President of the United States, who I have not yet chosen, we hereby accept the Fox Vice Presidential Debate, hopefully at Virginia State University, the first Historically Black College or University to host a Debate - Date to be determined."

A June debate, if it indeed happens, would be unprecedented, occurring before the major party conventions. 
Additionally the June-September schedule, if adhered to, would mean no debates in the closing two months of the campaign.  The in-studio format rather than with a live audience should create a different, possibly less charged dynamic.  Having the debates broadcast by a individual networks may limit the viewing audience.

Meanwhile, the CPD, which has organized debates since 1988 and had planned three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate, appears to be boxed out, as do independent and third party candidates. 
Keep in mind that there is always a chance that the June and September debates will not happen; in campaigns at all levels over the years myriad debate proposals have been sidetracked in negotiations over the details.


Commission on Presidential Debates  |  Past Debates


PRESS RELEASES AND STATEMENTS ON THE GENERAL ELECTION DEBATES

ABC News
May 15, 2024

ABC News Announces 2024 Election Presidential Debate Between President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump Tuesday, Sept. 10, on ABC, ABC News Live and Hulu

ABC News announced today that a 2024 election presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 10. The primetime debate will air on ABC, the 24/7 streaming network ABC News Live and Hulu.

ABC News will make the debate available to simulcast on additional broadcast and streaming news networks in America.

To qualify for participation, candidates must fulfill the requirements outlined in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States; file a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission; appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency prior to the eligibility deadline; 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 ABC’s standards for reporting.

Information on moderators, format and additional details will be provided at a later date.

About ABC News
ABC News is America’s No. 1 news source, providing straightforward, fact-driven journalism across broadcast, streaming, digital and audio. ABC’s award-winning programs include “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight with David Muir,” “Nightline,” “20/20,” “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” “GMA3: What You Need to Know,” and “The View.” Other platforms include ABC News Live, ABC News Studios, ABC News Digital, ABC Audio, FiveThirtyEight, and NewsOne. Based in New York City, ABC News is comprised of three U.S. bureaus and eight international bureaus, with a presence in more than 20 countries around the world.

ABC News Media Relations
Jeannie Kedas
Van Scott
Brooks Lancaster

For more information, follow ABC News PR on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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CNN Communications

May 15, 2024

 CNN TO HOST 2024 ELECTION PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE BETWEEN PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AND FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP ON JUNE 27

Debate To Air Live on CNN, CNN International, CNN en Español, CNN Max and CNN.com
 
Washington, DC – (May 15, 2024) – CNN will host an election debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald J. Trump on June 27, 2024 at 9pm ET from the crucial battleground state of Georgia.     

The debate will be held in CNN’s Atlanta studios. To ensure candidates may maximize the time allotted in the debate, no audience will be present. Moderators for the debate and additional details will be announced at a later date.      

To qualify for participation, candidates must fulfill the requirements outlined in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States; file a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission; a candidate’s name must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency prior to the eligibility deadline; 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.      

Polls that meet CNN editorial standards and will be considered qualifying polls include those sponsored by: CNN, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Marquette University Law School, Monmouth University, NBC News, the New York Times/Siena College, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College, Quinnipiac University, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.     

The polling window to determine eligibility for the debate opened March 13, 2024, and closes seven days before the date of the debate.

PRESS CONTACTS:
Anna.Jager@cnn.com
Dylan.Rose.Geerlings@cnn.com

MEDIA CREDENTIALING INQUIRIES:
CNNDebates2024@cnn.com

###

About CNN Worldwide
CNN Worldwide is the most honored brand in cable news, reaching more individuals through television, streamingand online than any other cable news organization in the United States. Globally, people across the world can watch CNN International, which is widely distributed in over 200 countries and territories. CNN Digital is the #1 online news destination, with more unique visitors than any other news source. Max, Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming platform, features CNN Max, a 24/7 streaming news offering available to subscribers alongside expanded access to News content and CNN Originals. CNN’s award-winning portfolio includes non-scripted programming from CNN Original Series and CNN Films for broadcast, streaming and distribution across multiple platforms. CNN programming can be found on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español channels, via CNN Max and the CNN Originals hub on discovery+ and via pay TV subscription on CNN.com, CNN apps and cable operator platforms. Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with over 1,000 local and international news organizations around the world. CNN is a division of Warner Bros. Discovery.


About Warner Bros. Discovery
Warner Bros. Discovery is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates and distributes the world’s most differentiated and complete portfolio of branded content across television, film, streaming and gaming. Available in more than 220 countries and territories and 50 languages, Warner Bros. Discovery inspires, informs and entertains audiences worldwide through its iconic brands and products including: Discovery Channel, Max, discovery+, CNN, DC, TNT Sports, Eurosport, HBO, HGTV, Food Network, OWN, Investigation Discovery, TLC, Magnolia Network, TNT, TBS, truTV, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group, Warner Bros. Television Group, Warner Bros. Pictures Animation, Warner Bros. Games, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, Discovery en Español, Hogar de HGTV and others. For more information, please visit www.wbd.com.



The back-and-forth between the campaigns over debates unfolded on social media...

in reverse chronological - most recent at top -



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Biden-Harris 2024
May 15, 2024

Statement from Jen O'Malley Dillon

The following is a statement from Jen O'Malley Dillon, Biden-Harris 2024 Chair, on Donald Trump continuing to play games with presidential debates:

 "Donald Trump has a long history of playing games with debates: complaining about the rules, breaking those rules, pulling out at the last minute, or not showing up at all - which he's done repeatedly in all three cycles he's run for president. He said he would debate President Biden anytime, anywhere, anyplace. In fact, he's said and posted it dozens of times with varying degrees of comprehension and basic grammar. President Biden made his terms clear for two one-on-one debates, and Donald Trump accepted those terms. No more games. No more chaos, no more debate about debates. We'll see Donald Trump on June 27th in Atlanta - if he shows up."

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Donald J. Trump post on TruthSocial May 15, 2024 at 5:43 AM
Crooked Joe Biden is the WORST debater I have ever faced - He can’t put two sentences together! Crooked is also the WORST President in the history of the United States, by far. It’s time for a debate so that he can explain to the American People his highly destructive Open Border Policy, new and ridiculous EV Mandates, the allowance of Crushing Inflation, High Taxes, and his really WEAK Foreign Policy, which is allowing the World to “Catch on Fire.” I am Ready and Willing to Debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September. I would strongly recommend more than two debates and, for excitement purposes, a very large venue, although Biden is supposedly afraid of crowds - That’s only because he doesn’t get them. Just tell me when, I’ll be there. “Let’s get ready to Rumble!!!”

________

14-second video posted @JoeBiden May 15, 2024 at 5:00 AM
BIDEN: Donald Trump lost two debates to me in 2020, and since then he hasn't shown up for a debate. Now he's acting like he wants to debate me again. Well, make my day, pal. I'll even do it twice. So let's pick the dates, Donald. I hear you're free on Wednesdays.





Commission on Presidential Debates Proposed Debates
First Presidential
Texas State University
San Marcos, TX
Sept. 16, 2024
Vice Presidential
Lafayette College
Easton, PA
Sept. 25, 2024
Second Presidential
Virginia State University
Petersburg, VA
Oct. 1, 2024
Third Presidential
The University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
Oct. 9, 2024




Commission on Presidential Debates
May 1, 2024   

CPD Statement on 2024 Debate Schedule 

The non-partisan, non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced sites and dates for the 2024 debates in November, 2023. The first debate, scheduled for September 16, will be the earliest televised general election debate ever held. As it always does, the CPD considered multiple factors in selecting debate dates in order to make them accessible by the American public. These factors include religious and federal holidays, early voting, and the dates on which individual states close their ballots.

Yesterday, it was claimed that the CPD’s schedule does not begin until after “millions of Americans will have already cast their ballots.” The CPD purposefully chose September 16 after a comprehensive study of early voting rules in every state. On September 6, 2024, North Carolina county boards of elections will begin to mail absentee ballots to citizens who have requested them. Once those ballots are received, they can be returned to a board of elections office in person or via mail. In-person early voting in North Carolina does not begin until October 17.

On September 16, the day of the first debate, Pennsylvania voters can receive, complete and return ballots at their county boards of elections.

Every other state starts early voting later, as of the most recently published information.

Equally importantly, federal law requires any general election debate sponsor to have pre-published, objective criteria by which to decide who qualifies to participate in the debates. Nomination by a major party is not sufficient in and of itself. The CPD’s 2024 Candidate Selection Criteria, published in November, 2023, include the requirement to appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have an arithmetic chance of winning the Electoral College. Three states do not close their ballots for independent candidates until September 6.

The CPD has only one mission: to sponsor and produce general election debates that inform and educate the public. Our schedule is designed with that single mission in mind. The colleges and universities preparing to host these debates look forward to being part of an historic 2024 series of forums.

Donald J. Trump for President 2024, Inc.
April 30, 2024

Statement from Trump Campaign on Presidential Debate Commission’s Decision To Delay Debates

In response to the Commission on Presidential Debates:

“The Presidential Debate Commission’s schedule does not begin until after millions of Americans will have already cast their ballots. This is unacceptable, and by refusing to move up the debates, they are doing a grave disservice to the American public who deserve to hear from both candidates before voting begins. President Trump has stated he will debate Joe Biden anytime, anywhere, anyplace, and Joe Biden himself just agreed to debate.

“We are committed to making this happen with or without the Presidential Debate Commission. We extend an invitation to every television network in America that wishes to host a debate, and we once again call on Joe Biden’s team to work with us to set one up as soon as possible. The American people deserve it.”

— Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles

 
Read the story by Fox News here.

National News Organizations
April 14, 2024

Joint Statement from News Organizations on Presidential Debates

With the contours of the 2024 general election now coming into clear focus, we – the undersigned national news organizations – urge the presumptive presidential nominees to publicly commit to participating in general election debates before November’s election.

General election debates have a rich tradition in our American democracy, having played a vital role in every presidential election of the past 50 years, dating to 1976. In each of those elections, tens of millions have tuned in to watch the candidates debating side by side, in a competition of ideas for the votes of American citizens.

Since 1988, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has sponsored all presidential general election debates. The Commission has previously announced dates, times, and eligibility criteria for 2024 debates. Though it is too early for invitations to be extended to any candidates, it is not too early for candidates who expect to meet the eligibility criteria to publicly state their support for – and their intention to participate in – the Commission’s debates planned for this fall.

If there is one thing Americans can agree on during this polarized time, it is that the stakes of this election are exceptionally high. Amidst that backdrop, there is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other, and before the American people, their visions for the future of our nation.

ABC News

The Associated Press

CBS News

CNN

C-SPAN

FOX News Media

NBCUniversal News Group

NewsNation

Noticias Univision (Univision Network News)

NPR

PBS NewsHour

USA TODAY


Donald J. Trump for President 2024, Inc. [PDF]

April 11, 2024

The Commission on Presidential Debates
Attn: Co-Chairs Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., and Antonia Hernandez
Executive Director Janet H. Brown
P.O. Box 58247
Washington, D.C. 20037
Media@Debates.org


Donald J. Trump for President 2024, Inc.
P.O. Box 13570
Arlington, VA 22219

Dear Members of the Commission:

We write today in agreement with the pending letter from television networks advocating for presidential debates to occur in 2024.

While the Commission on Presidential Debates has already announced three presidential debates and a vice-presidential debate to occur later this year, we are in favor of these debates beginning much earlier.

Here’s why:

1)    Voting is beginning earlier and earlier, and as we saw in 2020, tens of millions of Americans had already voted by the time of the first debate. Specific to the Commission’s proposed 2024 calendar, it simply comes too late. Below are the estimates for how many Americans will have already voted by the date of each scheduled debate:
a.    By the date of the first proposed debate, September 16, 2024, over 1 million Americans will have likely voted.

b.    By the date of the second proposed debate, October 1, 2024, the number of Americans who will have likely cast a ballot will be over 3 million, an increase of 225%.

c.    By the date of the third proposed debate, October 9, 2024, or 35 days out from election day, approximately 8.7 million Americans will have already voted.
2. Americans were robbed of a true and robust debate in 2020. There were only two debates, and they happened much too late in the election calendar despite voting timelines having moved up exponentially.

In 2020, the Commission ceded to the wishes of the Biden campaign on every front, refusing to move up the dates of the debates, failing to reschedule the debate canceled by COVID-19, cutting off President Trump’s microphone over and over in the middle of a debate, and in the case of the first debate, selecting a demonstrably anti-Trump moderator clearly positioned to aid Joe Biden. Fairness in such a setting is paramount and the Commission must ensure that the 2024 Commission-sponsored debates are truly fair and conducted impartially.

The Commission must move up the timetable of its proposed 2024 debates to ensure more Americans have a full chance to see the candidates before they start voting, and we would argue for adding more debates in addition to those on the currently proposed schedule. We have already indicated President Trump is willing to debate anytime, anyplace, and anywhere – and the time to start these debates is now.

Former President Abraham Lincoln and former U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas held seven debates in their storied 1858 U.S. Senate battle in Illinois. Certainly today’s America deserves as much.

Sincerely,

Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita

Donald J. Trump for President Co-Campaign Managers

Commission on Presidential Debates
November 20, 2023

Commission on Presidential Debates Announces Sites and Dates for 2024 General Election Debates and 2024 Nonpartisan Candidate Selection Criteria

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) today announced sites and dates for three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate during the 2024 general election. The sites and dates are:

First presidential debate:
Monday, September 16, 2024
Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

Vice presidential debate:
Wednesday, September 25, 2024
Lafayette College, Easton, PA

Second presidential debate:
Tuesday, October 1, 2024
Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA

Third presidential debate:
Wednesday, October 9, 2024
The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT


The CPD will announce additional details about the 2024 general election debates, including format and moderators, in 2024. All debates will start at 9:00pm ET and will run for 90 minutes without commercial interruption.

CPD Co-Chairs Frank Fahrenkopf and Antonia Hernández stated: "The United States’ general election debates, watched live worldwide, are a model for many other countries: the opportunity to hear and see leading candidates address serious issues in a fair and neutral setting. This tradition remains unbroken since 1976. In 2024, students at our four debate sites will help bring another set of historic conversations to audiences here and abroad. And their campuses will anchor four unique chances to listen and learn.

"We are deeply grateful to the University of Utah for hosting its second general election debate, to Lafayette College and Texas State University for the first CPD debates in Pennsylvania and Texas, and to Virginia State University for the first debate ever held at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU)."

The CPD was established in 1987 and has sponsored and produced all general election presidential and vice presidential debates since then. The CPD receives no funding from the government or any political party or campaign.

More information can be found at www.debates.org or @debates

COMMISSION ON PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES
NONPARTISAN CANDIDATE SELECTION CRITERIA
2024 NONPARTISAN SELECTION CRITERIA

A. INTRODUCTION

The mission of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (the “CPD”) is to ensure, for the benefit of the American electorate, that general election debates are held every four years between the leading candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States. The CPD sponsored a series of such debates in each of the past nine general elections, and has begun the planning, preparation, and organization of a series of nonpartisan debates among leading candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency in the 2024 general election. As in prior years, the CPD’s voter educational activities will be conducted in accordance with all applicable legal requirements, including regulations of the Federal Election Commission that require that debate sponsors extend invitations to debate based on the application of “pre-established, objective” criteria.

The goal of the CPD’s debates is to afford the members of the public an opportunity to sharpen their views, in a focused debate format, of those candidates from among whom the next President and Vice President will be selected. In each of the last nine elections, there were scores of declared candidates for the Presidency, excluding those seeking the nomination of one of the major parties. During the course of the campaign, the candidates are afforded many opportunities in a great variety of forums to advance their candidacies. In order most fully and fairly to achieve the educational purposes of its debates, the CPD has developed nonpartisan, objective criteria upon which it will base its decisions regarding selection of the candidates to participate in its 2024 debates. The purpose of the criteria is to identify those candidates whose support among the electorate places them among the candidates who have a realistic chance of being elected President of the United States. The realistic chance need not be overwhelming, but it must be more than theoretical.

In connection with the 2024 general election, the CPD will apply three criteria to each declared candidate to determine whether that candidate qualifies for inclusion in one or more of the CPD’s debates. The criteria are (1) constitutional eligibility, (2) ballot access, and (3) electoral support. All three criteria must be satisfied before a candidate will be invited to debate.

B. NONPARTISAN SELECTION CRITERIA

The CPD’s nonpartisan criteria for selecting candidates to participate in the 2024 general election for presidential debates are:

1. EVIDENCE OF CONSTITUTIONAL ELIGIBILITY

The CPD’s first criterion requires satisfaction of the eligibility requirements of Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. The requirements are satisfied if the candidate:

    is at least 35 years of age;
    is a Natural Born Citizen of the United States and a resident of the United States for fourteen years; and
    is otherwise eligible under the Constitution.

2. EVIDENCE OF BALLOT ACCESS

The CPD’s second criterion requires that the candidate qualify to have his/her name appear on enough state ballots to have at least a mathematical chance of securing an Electoral College majority in the 2024 general election. Under the Constitution, the candidate who receives a majority of the votes in the Electoral College, at least 270 votes, is elected President regardless of the popular vote.

3. INDICATORS OF ELECTORAL SUPPORT

The CPD’s third criterion requires that the candidate have a level of support of at least 15% (fifteen percent) of the national electorate as determined by five national public opinion polling organizations selected by the CPD, using the average of those organizations' most recent publicly-reported results at the time of the determination. CPD will rely on the advice of a recognized expert or experts in public opinion polling in determining the polls it will rely upon. The polls to be relied upon will be selected based on the quality of the methodology employed, the reputation of the polling organizations and the frequency of the polling conducted. CPD will identify the selected polling organizations well in advance of the time the criteria are applied.

C. APPLICATION OF CRITERIA

The CPD’s determination with respect to participation in CPD’s first-scheduled debate will be made after Labor Day 2024, but sufficiently in advance of the first-scheduled debate to allow for orderly planning. Invitations to participate in the vice-presidential debate will be extended to the running mate of each of the presidential candidates qualifying for participation in the CPD’s first presidential debate. Invitations to participate in the second and third of the CPD’ scheduled presidential debates will be based upon satisfaction of the same multiple criteria prior to each debate.

Adopted: October 30, 2023