United States – On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden and Republican candidate Donald Trump agreed to participate in two debates, on June 27 and September 10, which made the race for the next White House even more competitive.

“As you said: anywhere, any time, any place,” Biden said on social media.

Trump called Biden “the worst debater” he has ever faced. “I am Ready and Willing to Debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September,” he posted on social media, as reported by Reuters.

Candidates’ Positions

CNN, part of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD. O), announced that the first debate scheduled in its Atlanta studio would have no audience and would be hosted by anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. The state of Georgia is one of the most closely contested races for the November elections.

The two candidates were then invited by ABC (DIS. N) to participate in a second debate which will be held on September 10 as well. A couple of days before the Republican National Convention, a separate vice-presidential debate was proposed for July, which should take place.

The main reasons for the discrepancies were not only the conditions of negotiations but also the nature of engagements. Biden proposed that he would be involved in no more than two debates with stricter rules to reduce interruptions, while Trump argued that there should be more than two debates at a very large venue to stimulate excitement.

Challenges and Criticisms

According to independent Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., he will fulfill the necessary criteria for participation in the CNN debate before the June 20 deadline posted on X. The issue is unresolved if he doesn’t make it through.

For CNN, candidates have to agree to appear on a sufficient number of state ballots in order to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold and, in addition, to receive at least 15% in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters. Now, that is the result of the recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, which shows that just 13% of Americans will vote for Kennedy.

Earlier in the day, Kennedy said Biden and Trump “are trying to exclude me from their debate because they are afraid I would win.”

Debates, which will keep thousands of Americans in front of their televisions on a live broadcast, carry tremendous risks for the two competitors, whose voters are tight and apathetic.

Biden’s campaign staff argued that confronting Trump in debates on these issues could draw more attention to campaign strategies they consider to be electoral disadvantages.

Trump’s team perceived the old Biden as someone who could slip up, making remarks that proliferated the voters’ concerns about the 81-year-old. Trump will be 78 when the first debate takes place.

Debate Format and Commission’s Role

“Both candidates will be under greater scrutiny than they have ever been due to their age,” Alan Schroeder, a professor emeritus at Northeastern University who wrote the book “Presidential Debates: Risky Business on the Campaign Trial.” He called the debate “one of the only moments in which the candidates don’t have complete control.”

The first debate would be held a week after the June 15 Group of Seven summit in Italy and the end of the Trump Trials in New York.

DETAILS TO BE WORKED OUT

The first-time call for rules negotiation between Trump and Biden in the debate proposal was a sharp departure from the decades-old custom of having three debates in the fall.

When asked about any preferences concerning the style or themes, Biden-Harris campaign spokesman Michael Tyler informed the reporters that some aspects needed to be deliberated more.

Biden’s decision to open up to debates is a calculated risk on his part because he wants to beat the saddled opinion poll numbers in key states, which are behind Trump. Apart from his age voters are also worried about the way that the economy has been managed by Biden.

Former President Trump, who denied neither opponent to debate him with during the Republican primary race, is now in the process of challenging Biden for a one-versus-one match-up with him, with him contending that debates should be held in the states where early voting is going to start. He said on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show that the debate should last two hours and that both candidates’ feet should be exposed.

Previously, Joe Biden’s team articulated that only television networks that conducted Republican primary debates in 2016 and Democratic primary debates in 2020 would be eligible for hosting this year. Only four networks hosted debates for both parties during those election cycles: CNN, Telemundo belonging to Comcast (CMCSA. O), CBS News, and ABC News.

The Biden team did not indicate their willingness to proceed with further debates or show any sign of accepting Trump’s proposal. The Biden campaign representative declined to take a position on the allegation.

Biden stated that he would not participate in television settings, which were the Commission on Presidential Debates initiatives staged about every four years, beginning in 1988.

Furthermore, Trump had also openly said that he believed bypassing the commission process was the fairest way for him to run for the elections. The Republican National Committee took it a step further in 2022 by announcing that the party would completely abstain from the commission’s debate system.

In a letter explaining Biden’s team choice, campaign chair Jennifer O’Malley Dillon mentioned the commission’s earlier failed attempts to prevent candidates from raising questions on the rules for debates. She wrote to the organization that Biden will not be taking part in their three debates, which are scheduled for September 16, October 1, and October 9, respectively. The commission was not available for comments.

“The debates should be conducted for the benefit of the American voters, watching on television and at home — not as entertainment for an in-person audience with raucous or disruptive partisans and donors, who consume valuable debate time with noisy spectacles of approval or jeering,” Dillon said, as reported by Reuters.

Biden’s election campaign additionally called for a debate before early voting, without Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s participation or with any independent or third-party candidates.