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Presidential debate: Trump will have the last word, Biden picks the podium to the right

The Biden campaign won the coin toss to choose between its placement on viewers' screens or the order of the closing statements.

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on February 17, 2024 shows US President Joe Biden waves from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2023 and US President Donald Trump waves to the media outside the White House on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. - Biden versus Trump: The lineup in the 2024 US election has long been a foregone conclusion, with a rematch between the two presidents appearing all but certain. But what would happen if, for any number of reasons, one of the two contenders does not end up taking part in the November vote? (Photo by Jim WATSON and Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

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President Joe Biden won the toss to select the podium position or order of closing statements in next week's historic presidential debate. The president's campaign preferred to secure a podium position on the right side of the stage, leaving Donald Trump to have the final say in the 90-minute showdown.

As reported by CNN, the coin landed on tails, the option chosen by the Biden campaign. As a result, his team decided to secure a podium position on the right side of the stage, which is usually more favorable for television and other screens. This choice left it to the Trump campaign to decide who would deliver the final statement, opting for the former president.

Exclusion of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

After the qualifying window closes at midnight, Biden and Trump will be the only candidates on stage. Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who is running as an independent, did not meet the requirements to be included on the national ballot and ballots.

By CNN's criteria, a candidate needs to appear on enough state ballots to have a chance of winning the necessary 270 electoral votes. Kennedy is only on the ballot in five states (Utah, Michigan, Delaware, Oklahoma and Tennessee), for a total of 42 electoral votes. Although he will also be on the ballots in California and Hawaii, his total amounts to only 100 potential electoral votes.

In addition, candidates were required to reach at least 15 percent in four major national polls by June 20. According to CNN, Kennedy failed to meet this threshold, qualifying in only three national polls.

Controversy and allegations

In May, Kennedy's campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), accusing CNN, Biden, Trump, and their campaigns of violating federal election law. The campaign argues that CNN treated the debate criteria differently for Kennedy compared to Biden and Trump, calling the debate an illegal campaign contribution for both Biden and Trump.

"Presidents Biden and Trump do not want me on the debate stage and CNN illegally agreed to their demand. My exclusion by Presidents Biden and Trump from the debate is undemocratic, un-American, and cowardly," Kennedy opined.

Kennedy cannot file a lawsuit until the FEC dismisses his initial complaint. According to his campaign, the agency has acknowledged the possibility that the complaint may have merit but has not yet made a final decision on the matter.

Debate details

The debate, hosted by CNN, will take place on June 27 in Atlanta and will begin at 9 pm ET. This will be the first of two debates between Biden and Trump, with the second scheduled for September 10, hosted by ABC News. The CNN debate will be simulcast on ABC and ABC News Live, with pre-show coverage beginning at 8 pm ET on the network and at 7 pm ET on ABCNL.

Debate rules and format

CNN recently announced several Candidates' microphones will be muted unless it is their turn to speak, and no props will be allowed, only pens, paper and a bottle of water. There will be no opening statements, two commercial breaks and no studio audience.

Biden and Trump will have two minutes to respond to questions posed by moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, followed by one minute to answer and rebut. A red light will flash when five seconds are left in the allotted time and will turn solid when the time is up.

Campaign preparations

With only a week before the debate, both campaigns are stepping up their preparations. with former chief of staff Ron Klain and other trusted advisers. Trump is holding policy meetings with advisers and allies in Congress, addressing issues such as immigration, the economy and democracy. He will also campaign in Philadelphia over the weekend and attend fundraising events next week.