Biden, Trump to Debate June 27

U.S. President Joe Biden and Republican rival Donald Trump on Wednesday accepted CNN’s invitation to face off on June 27 in the candidates’ first 2024 debate, setting up the highest stakes moment yet of the race for the White House.

“As you said: anywhere, any time, any place,” Biden said on social media after the Democratic president for the first time laid out his terms for taking on the former president on national television.

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.

CNN, a division of Warner Bros Discovery, said the debate would be held in their Atlanta studio with no audience, adding that a moderator would be selected later. Georgia is one of November’s most closely contested states.

The candidates also accepted an invitation from ABC, which will host a second debate on Sept. 10, and a separate vice presidential debate has been proposed for July, after the Republican National Convention.

But key differences between the two sides remained on the terms of engagement. Biden said he would participate in those two debates under strict rules to reduce interruptions, while Trump called for more than two – and a very large venue “for excitement purposes.”

Debates, which will draw a U.S. live television audience in the tens of millions, are fraught with risks for both candidates, who face a tight race and low enthusiasm from voters.

Biden aides think debates could hurt Trump by exposing his positions on issues, including abortion, that they regard as political vulnerabilities.

Trump aides see Biden as prone to verbal slip-ups that could amplify voter concerns about the 81-year-old president’s age. Trump will be 78 by the time the first debate is held.

“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 take place after the June 15 conclusion of the Group of Seven summit in Italy and Trump’s criminal trial in New York.

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