Biden campaign commits to three debates, rejects Trump team's call for more as 'distraction'
Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign on Monday confirmed that the alleged democratic candidate will take part in three scheduled presidential debates, but declined President Donald Trump's advisors for a fourth debate as a "distraction."
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani asked for the additional debate last week in a call with Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chair of the bipartisan commission for presidential debates. They argued that due to the coronavirus pandemic and the push for an expanded mail-in poll, many ballots could be sent before the first scheduled debate takes place.
"We want fair debates," Parscale said in the call, according to The Associated Press. "We want them earlier and we want a bigger schedule. We also don't want to compete against football matches that compete for viewers."
Trump's team also suggested allowing any campaign to choose moderators, including the option to veto the selection.
"Our position is straightforward and clear: Biden will accept the Commission's debates on the dates of the Commission in accordance with the format laid down by the Commission and the independent choice of moderators by the Commission," said Jen O'Malley Dillon, Biden's campaign manager a letter to the Debate Commission.
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"Donald Trump and Mike Pence should do the same thing. Every presidential candidate and vice president in the modern era, both Democrats and Republicans, has done that. The Biden campaign is ready to do that. All the 'debate proposals' instead are just an attempt at the subject to switch, avoid debates or create a distracting 'debate about debates'. "
The first debate is scheduled for September 29 at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the second for October 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami and the third for a week later on October 22 at Belmont University Nashville, Tennessee. The University of Michigan had planned to host the second debate, but the school announced on Tuesday that it would not take place due to concerns about the corona virus.
In December, Parscale threatened that the president would not participate in the debates because Parscale believed that members of the debate commission were hostile to the president and would choose unkind moderators.
Biden has avoided live campaign events since the pandemic started to avoid the risk of corona virus spreading. Trump's team painted this decision as an attempt to keep Biden "in the basement" to avoid gaffes. After Biden's campaign rejected the idea of a fourth debate, Trump Campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh claimed the Biden campaign was "afraid" to send the Democrat in unwritten situations and found that it was over 80 days ago since Biden held a press conference.
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"An earlier and longer debate plan is needed so that Americans can see the clear difference between President Trump's lively leadership and Biden's confused meandering," Murtaugh said in a statement.
O'Malley Dillon said the Trump campaign tried to hold controversy over the debates to distract from the fact that the president "is doing poorly in the polls and is desperately trying to change the subject from his failed leadership of the country ".
"Nobody should be fooled: the Trump campaign's new position is a distraction from the debate," she said. "The Trump position seems to be saying that he will be debating whether he can choose the moderators: Obviously the president, who for the most part only conducts interviews with cheap news agencies, is afraid to ask questions from a neutral moderator."
O'Malley Dillon asked the Debate Commission to confirm that there were plans to reduce the risk of the spread of the coronavirus. She said there was no reason why the candidates "could not meet for debate with adequate security and social distancing measures".
She also hoped that the Commission would find a way to make the second debate a town hall event, as has been the case with every election since 1992 despite the COVID-19 threat.
Candidates receive their formal invitation to participate in the debates after officially accepting their party's nominations in their respective conventions.
The last time there were more than three presidential debates in 1960 was when then Sen. John F. Kennedy met former vice president Richard Nixon four times. There were no debates in 1964, 1968 and 1972, only two in 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1996. There have been three presidential and one vice-president debates in the last five elections.
Contributors: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Biden campaign commits to three debates, rejects Trump's call for more
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