Biden Thinks There Should Be ‘More Limitations’ On Debate Interruptions

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks on the fourth night of the Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center on August 20, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
October 21, 2020 10:42 a.m.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he supports a recent rule change by the Commission on Presidential Debates that will mute candidates’ microphones to allow for uninterrupted answers during his final debate with President Donald Trump before the election. 

“I think it’s a good idea,” Biden told local ABC affiliate in Wisconsin WISN12 News in an interview on Tuesday. “I think there should be more limitations on us not interrupting one another.”

The comments come after Trump condemned the new rules as “unfair” and an effort to protect Biden — just weeks after saying he would not participate in the second presidential debate after the CPD announced a virtual format amid the President’s announcement of a coronavirus diagnosis days after descending the debate stage after a chaotic first contest in Cleveland, Ohio.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien issued a statement saying that the President would not back down from the final debate slated to take place in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday. 

“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,” Stepien said.

The comments were a turnaround from a letter he issued to the commission on Monday, when he called muting the candidates’ microphones “unacceptable.”

In the same letter, Stepien appeared to take issue with the topics of the debate which include various areas that have drawn widespread criticism of the President — including fighting COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership.

“We urge you to recalibrate the topics,” Stepien wrote in the letter, suggesting that not enough focus had been placed on foreign policy. But the debate commission has long said that the third debate format would mirror the first.

Biden said Tuesday that he hopes Trump will be open to debating the outlined topics, which both candidates agreed would be decided by the moderator, but told WISN12 that he is doubtful that will be the case. 

My guess is he’s kind of signaling that it’s all gonna be about personal attacks,” Biden said, suggesting that the President would try to sidestep issues of health care, which have become a central issue for Democratic lawmakers that some Republicans have shied away from as the Supreme Court prepares to hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act just days after the Nov. 3 election.

“I’m going to try very hard to focus on the issues that affect the American people and talk to them, and I hope they keep the rule” for uninterrupted two-minute answers Biden said.

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