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Biden and Trump agree on debates but working out details could be challenging

Biden and Trump agree on debates but working out details could be challenging


Biden and Trump agree on debates but working out details could be challenging

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump on Wednesday agreed to hold two campaign debates in June and September, but there were no guarantees that they would happen as their camps are still far apart on key details like the setting and ground rules for the potential face-offs.

The quick agreement on the timetable to meet followed the Democrat's announcement that he will not participate in fall presidential debates sponsored by the nonpartisan commission that has organized them for more than three decades. Biden's campaign instead proposed that media outlets directly organize the debates with the presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees, with the first to be held in late June and the second in September before early voting begins. Trump, in a post on his Truth Social site, said he was “Ready and Willing to Debate” Biden at the proposed times.

Still, the two sides remain far part on key questions of how to organize the debates, including agreeing on media partners, moderators, location and rules — some of the very questions that prompted the formation of the Commission on Presidential Debates in 1987. Biden's proposal would also exclude third-party candidates, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The Biden campaign also proposed that the Biden-Trump debates this year be hosted by “any broadcast organization that hosted a Republican Primary debate in 2016 in which Donald Trump participated, and a Democratic primary debate in 2020 in which President Biden participated — so neither campaign can assert that the sponsoring organization is obviously unacceptable: if both candidates have previously debated on their airwaves, then neither could object to such venue."

Those criteria would eliminate Fox News, which did not host a Democratic primary debate in 2020, and potentially NBC News, which did not host a GOP one in 2016 — though its corporate affiliates CNBC and Telmundo were co-hosts of one debate each that year.