Qualification window for CNN debate to close Thursday

The stage will soon be set for CNN’s presidential debate, as the network’s eligibility window for the first in-person showdown of the 2024 cycle draws to a close.

Candidates have until 12:00:01 a.m. ET on Thursday to meet the qualifications for participation in the debate, according to the network. So far, two candidates – President Joe Biden and his predecessor, former President Donald Trump – have qualified.

CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will host the 90-minute debate set for June 27 in Atlanta.

The Trump and Biden campaigns have accepted the network’s invitation and agreed to accept the rules and format of the debate, while others on non-major-party tickets have yet to meet CNN’s qualifications.

In order to qualify for participation, candidates must satisfy the requirements outlined in Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution to serve as president, as well as file a formal statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. Biden and Trump meet those requirements, as do Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West and Jill Stein.

According to parameters set by CNN in May, all participating debaters must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency and receive at least 15% in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters that meet CNN’s standards for reporting. Polls that meet those standards are those sponsored by CNN, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Marquette University Law School, Monmouth University, NBC News, The New York Times/Siena College, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College, Quinnipiac University, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Biden and Trump have agreed to appear at a uniform podium, with positions determined by a coin flip, according to letters from the network sent to the Biden and Trump campaigns last month. Microphones will be muted throughout the debate except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak.

No props or pre-written notes will be allowed on the stage, according to the network, but candidates will be given a pen, a pad of paper and a bottle of water. Campaign staff will not be permitted to interact with their candidate during the debate’s two commercial breaks.

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