News Organizations Push for Biden and Trump to Debate

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Consider this an update on a post I wrote last week. It was reported that news networks came together to sign a letter to the Biden and Trump campaigns urging them to speak out publicly in support of doing debates. 


The letter had not officially been sent to the campaigns at the time. Now it has. 

News organizations released a joint statement Sunday morning urging public comments that the candidates will participate in debates

“If there is one thing Americans can agree on during this polarized time, it is that the stakes of this election are exceptionally high. Amidst that backdrop, there is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other. Before the American people, their visions for the future of our nation,” the letter read.

The organizations signing on to the statement include ABC News, the Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News Media, NBC Universal News Group, News Nation, Noticias Univision, NPR, PBS NewsHour, and USA Today. 

It has been since 1972 that the Republican and Democrat presidential candidates did not directly debate. Richard Nixon and George McGovern were the candidates. Richard Nixon won re-election in one of the largest landslides in American history. 

There isn't a lot of confidence in Joe Biden agreeing to debate Donald Trump at this point. Joe Biden can't get through a speech or press conference anymore. He has notecards from staff to remind him what he is doing and the names of the people he is dealing with. The notecards for a press conference include a list of reporters with whom to call on and their photos so Biden can recognize them. Often there are reports that the reporters submitted their questions in advance. That allows the staff to provide answers that allow Biden to just read the answers. It is much like how White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre conducts White House press briefings. 


Biden's latest response to the question about debates was, “It depends on his behavior.”  That is an easy out for the president, who is failing before your eyes in the grip of dementia. Trump's behavior will never be good enough for Joe Biden. Biden's behavior is objectionable to conservative voters but Trump has called for debates with Biden several times already. He offered to debate Biden any time, and any place. 

The message being sent is meant more for Biden since he is the one hesitating to commit. 

“If there is one thing Americans can agree on, during this polarized time, it is that the stakes of this election are exceptionally high,” the correspondence also says, noting that in every election since 1976 “tens of millions have tuned in” to Presidential debates. “There is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other, and before the American people, their visions for the future of the nation.”

It's not too early to begin the planning that goes into a presidential candidate debate, the networks said. That is why it is important for public statements in favor of debates to be made. 


“Though it is too early for invitations to be extended to any candidates, it is not too early for candidates who expect to meet the eligibility criteria to publicly state their support for - and their intention to participate in - the Commission’s debates planned for this fall,” the letter states.

Will Biden's campaign have enough confidence in their candidate's ability to debate Trump? That is the question. A majority of voters think Biden is not up to the job as president. He promised to bring 'normal' back to the White House. As with other promises, Biden has failed miserably on that promise. Nothing is normal in Biden's America. We live in upside-down world and that may include an absence of debates before the November election. 

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