Donald Trump and Joe Biden are preparing to face off next week in the first of three presidential debates, as a Supreme Court vacancy supercharges the election season and the U.S. continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
The first debate will be held at 9 p.m. Eastern on Sept. 29, and is hosted by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, in the battleground state of Ohio. “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace will moderate.
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Trump and Biden will field questions for 90 minutes, without commercial breaks, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Debate topics haven’t been announced yet. But it’s almost certain that subjects will include Trump’s to-be-announced nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the health and economic impact of the pandemic and racial issues in the U.S.
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Trump and Biden will debate twice more after Cleveland: on Oct. 15 in Miami and on Oct. 22 in Nashville.
Vice President Mike Pence and Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris will have a single debate, scheduled for Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City.
Heading into the debates, Trump lags Biden in polls of key battleground-state voters. In Ohio, Biden has a narrow lead over Trump of just over two percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics. Biden also led Trump in cash on hand as of Aug. 31.
were mixed Tuesday following a Monday selloff, which some analysts had attributed partly to the Supreme Court battle’s amplifying election jitters and uncertainty over another coronavirus aid package from Congress.
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The first debate will be shown on all the major networks and cable channels, as well as on platforms like YouTube.