Debate commission to cut candidates' mics, restore lost time during presidential debate

by Laura Mize · Oct 20th, 2020 11:33 am

Last Updated Oct 21st, 2020 at 10:30 pm

Each candidate will have his microphone muted during his opponent's opening statements in Thursday night's presidential debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday.

The debate will feature six, 15-minute segments, each for discussion of a different topic. At the start of each segment, each candidate will have two minutes to give an opening statement, during which his opponent's microphone will be muted.

The commission said microphones will remain on for the other parts of the debate, but that any speaking time a candidate loses to interruptions by his opponent will be restored to him.

"During the times dedicated for open discussion, it is the hope of the Commission that the candidates will be respectful of each other's time, which will advance civil discourse for the benefit of the viewing public," the commission said in a statement.

The Trump campaign decried the commission's announcement in a letter that slammed "granting an unnamed person the ability to shut off a candidate's microphone" and argued that "a decision to proceed with that change amounts to turning further editorial control of the debate over to the Commission which has already demonstrated its partiality to Biden."

The campaign also says the commission has changed the topics of the debate, which are slated to be race, American families, national security, the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and leadership. Trump's campaign wants to see foreign policy included as a topic, and says the topics have been changed at the last minute so that Biden does not have to answer questions on foreign policy. The Biden campaign says it has been set for months that the moderator would choose the topics.


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