President Donald Trump and and former Vice President Joe Biden will square off in-person for the first time on Tuesday, and judging by Trump’s ludicrous insistence that Biden take a drug test prior to taking the stage, it’s probably going to be ugly.
But more concerning than whatever low blows Trump may direct toward Biden’s cognitive ability (which seems to be just fine compared to that of the president), is the sheer volume of lies he’s expected to gargle over the podium as he responds to questions by moderator Chris Wallace — or to pressure from the former vice president. Unfortunately, Biden is going to be alone in correcting Trump’s false statements. Presidential Debate Commission Co-Chair Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. told CNN on Sunday that Wallace will not be doing any fact-checking. “The commission’s function is to put on television, before the people of the United States, the two candidates,” he said, channeling Mark Zuckerberg. “They will act as they are going to act, we have no control over that, and then it’s for them to make a judgment based on what they’ve seen.”
This will leave Biden in the tricky position of having to balance pushing back on Trump’s lies with driving the conversation himself. It’s going to be a tall task, especially for someone who was inconsistent during the Democratic primary debates, none of which featured an opponent remotely as formidable as Trump. We’ll find out on Tuesday whether to what extent he’ll be able to control the narrative.
Here’s everything you need to know:
How to Watch the 2020 Presidential Debate?
The first presidential debate will take place on Tuesday, September 29th at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. It will begin at 9 p.m. ET and run for 90 minutes with no commercial breaks.
You’d be hard-pressed to avoid it if you tried. The debate will be broadcast live on all of the major networks, as well as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, and Univision. Several networks and outlets are streaming the debate online. You can also get a free trial to a live streaming service like Vidgo or Sling TV, which both carry a number of news networks for full coverage of the debate (Sling’s package includes 10 hours of DVR if you want to pause, record or re-watch the debate). The C-SPAN YouTube page is always a good option.
What Are the Debate Topics?
The debate will be broken down into six 15-minute segments. Each segment will cover a different topic selected by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News. The topics are:
- The Trump and Biden Records
- The Supreme Court
- The Economy
- Race and Violence in our Cities
- The Integrity of the Election
It’s unclear what exactly some of these topics will cover, particularly “The Trump and Biden Records,” which may or may not address The New York Times’ report on Sunday that Trump has skirted paying taxes for years and is currently $421 million in debt.
Noticeably absent from the docket are health care and the climate crisis, but we noted last week, every issue is a climate issue.
When’s the Second Presidential Debate?
The second presidential debate will take place on Thursday, October 15th, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, in Miami, Florida. It will be moderated by Steve Scully of C-SPAN and formatted as a town hall, with candidates fielding questions from non-committed voters.
The third and final presidential debate will take place the following week, on Thursday, October 22nd, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. It will be moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC News and formatted identically to the first debate.
A vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will take place on Wednesday, October 7th, at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. It will be moderated by Susan Page of USA Today, and feature nine 10-minute segments.
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