US Presidential Debate Set For Thursday With New Rules in Place

President Donald Trump works the crowd after speaking at a campaign rally Monday Oct. 19 2020 in Tucson Ariz

President Donald Trump works the crowd after speaking at a campaign rally Monday Oct. 19 2020 in Tucson Ariz

"President Trump is committed to debating Joe Biden regardless of last minute rule changes from the biased commission in their latest attempt to provide advantage to their favored candidate", said the statement.

On Monday, the president's camp sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates calling for topics to be adjusted for the final primetime duel this Thursday. "The Commission is announcing today that in order to enforce this agreed upon rule, the only candidate whose microphone will be open during these two-minute periods is the candidate who has the floor under the rules".

Trump, for his part, has continued to attack the framework of the debate, while accusing moderator Welker of being a "radical left Democrat" during a rally in Arizona on Monday.

During "open discussion", both candidates' microphones will be open but "time taken up during any interruptions will be returned to the other candidate", the statement said.

The announcement comes three weeks after the chaotic first debate between the Republican and Democrat contenders which was marred by constant interruptions, often but not exclusively from Trump.

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In a statement announcing the decision, the debate commission said they determined it was "appropriate to adopt measures meant to promote adherence to agreed upon rules".

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The commission noted that "one [campaign] may think they go too far, and one may think they do not go far enough", but that these actions provided the right balance in the interests of the public.

Mr. Trump had balked at its proposal for a virtual format after he tested positive for COVID-19 several days after the September 29 debate.

"You sit behind a computer and do a debate - it's ridiculous, and then they cut you off whenever they want", Trump said in an 8 October interview on Fox Business.

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"If the media won't ask Joe Biden these questions, the President will, and there will be no escape for Biden", Stepien said.

The Biden camp shot back that Mr Trump was trying to avoid questions about his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the debate moderator, NBC News' Kristen Welker, announced the debate topics would be fighting COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership.

In Florida, where more than 2.5 million have already voted by mail, residents lined up on Monday for the first day of early in-person voting.

Almost 30 million early voters have already cast their ballots, compared with just six million at this point before the last presidential election in 2016.

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