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Second presidential debate moved from Michigan to Miami over coronavirus fears

Joe Biden preps for primaries amid pandemic
Joe Biden preps for primaries amid pandemic 02:59

Washington — The second scheduled presidential debate between President Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has been moved from Michigan to Florida following concerns about the large crowds expected in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced Tuesday the debate scheduled for October 15 will now be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami. The debate was set to take place at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which the commission now says is "not feasible."

The decision to change the venue for the second of the three scheduled presidential debates comes after two sources told CBS News on Monday the University of Michigan was expected to withdraw from hosting the event. Thousands of reporters, protesters and attendees were set to descend on Ann Arbor for the debate, raising health and safety concerns due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The public health crisis has led universities to rethink how they will approach the upcoming fall semester, and the University of Michigan said Monday it will hold a mix of in-person and remote classes.

Biden, who clinched the majority of delegates needed for the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this month, intends to participate in each of the three planned debates, his campaign told the Commission on Presidential Debates on Monday, and is pressing for more information on how the organization plans to hold the events during the pandemic.

"Nothing should prevent the conduct of debates between Joe Biden and Donald Trump on these dates," Biden's campaign wrote. "Again, we do not want to provide President Trump with excuses for not debating."

The letter from the Biden campaign came after Mr. Trump said last week he asked Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney, to lobby for a fourth in-person debate with Biden.

The first debate is scheduled for September 29 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and the final debate is set for October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville. According to the commission, each of the three will last 90 minutes and have one moderator selected by the group. The second will be a town-hall format, with questions from Miami residents.

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