Biden and Trump agree to June and September presidential debates as RFK cries foul

It was unclear if a third candidate would qualify to take part. CNN stated that participants “must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold” and receive at least 15% support in four separate recognised polls.

Robert F Kennedy Jr has yet to meet those qualifications, so his appearance is unlikely, although he is polling better than any third-party candidate since Ross Perot in 1996. He is on the ballot in four states with efforts under way to qualify in 38 other states.

Mr Kennedy accused, external his opponents of trying to freeze him out “because they are afraid I would win”.

By moving the debates earlier in the presidential campaign calendar, Mr Biden’s proposal could also lower any impact the TV clashes have on the outcome of the November presidential election, giving both candidates more time to recover from a poor performance.

Some past incumbent presidents – including Mr Trump, Barack Obama, George HW Bush and Ronald Reagan – have had shaky showings in their first general election debate before regaining their footing in subsequent meetings.

A June debate would take place before both the Republican and Democratic national conventions, while the September debate would be at least a month before election day. Surveys indicate many Americans do not begin paying attention to US presidential campaign news until the autumn.

Mr Biden also proposed a July vice-presidential debate that would take place after Mr Trump’s running-mate was nominated at the Republican convention in the summer.

The election-year presidential debates are typically broadcast on multiple US networks. At least 73 million Americans watched the first 2020 debate between Mr Trump and Mr Biden.

Mr Trump declined to participate in any Republican primary debates during this campaign, a point noted by Mr Biden in the video his campaign released announcing the debate proposal.

Mr Biden had minimal opposition in his bid for nomination this year, and the Democratic Party held no primary debates.


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