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Debate Commission Says It Will Mute Mics During Parts Of Final Debate

Topline

In a rule change that could alter the tenor of the final presidential debate compared to the unruly first one, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday it will mute President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden when it is not their turn to speak.

Key Facts

In a statement announcing the rule change, the Commission said the only candidate whose microphone will be live during the two-minute segments in which only a single candidate has the floor will be “the candidate who has the floor under the rules.”

The format of the debate will remain the same, which means there is still a risk the candidates could talk over each other during the “open discussion” period of the debate.

Under the current format, each candidate receives two minutes of “uninterrupted time” at the beginning of each 15-minute segment, followed by “open discussion,” a period of unstructured debate.

The muting of mics will only occur during the two minutes of “uninterrupted time” when candidates introduce their arguments at the beginning of each segment.

Key Background

The Commission’s debate format drew scrutiny after the first presidential debate devolved into chaos. Trump frequently interrupted and talked over Biden and moderator Chris Wallace, forcing Wallace to at one point pause the debate to remind the candidates of the rules and Biden to exclaim, “Will you shut up man?”

Big Number

145. That’s how many times Trump interrupted Wallace and Biden during the first presidential debate, according to a Fox News analysis. Biden interrupted Trump and Wallace 67 times.

Chief Critic

The Trump campaign said the president will still debate Biden on Thursday despite the rule change (Trump backed out of the second debate after the Commission announced the event would be virtual following the president’s Covid-19 diagnosis.) But the campaign called the rule change “another attempt to provide [an] advantage to their favored candidate.”

Tangent

Along with criticizing the Commission, the Trump campaign has targeted NBC News reporter Kristen Welker, the moderator of Thursday’s debate, baselessly accusing her of favoring Biden.

Further Reading

Trump, Fox News Hosts Slam Moderator Kristen Welker Ahead Of Final Debate (Forbes)

Trump Refuses To Attend Second Presidential Debate After Change To Virtual Format (Forbes)

Source: Forbes – Business

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