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When are the 2020 presidential debates and what topics will Trump and Biden cover?

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President Trump and Joe Biden clashed in their first chaotic, insult-laden in-person debate in Cleveland on September 29, in what was supposed to be the first of three debates before Election Day. But the second debate, originally scheduled for October 15 in Miami, was canceled by organizers after Mr. Trump tested positive for the coronavirus and refused to participate in a virtual debate. 

Interruptions and name-calling so dominated the first debate that the commission announced the following day it would make changes to the rules before the candidates met again, but those plans were quickly derailed after Mr. Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis. Instead of a second debate, the two candidates had dueling town halls

Only one opportunity now remains for the two candidates to directly debate the merits of their respective visions of the next four years for the country. Both President Trump and Joe Biden have agreed to face off for the last time on Thursday, October 22. 

Just days before the final debate, the commission announced that each of the candidates would have two minutes of uninterrupted speaking time at the beginning of each 15-minute segment of the debate, a provision that was agreed upon by both candidates. To enforce it, the commission will mute each candidate's mic while the other is speaking for two minutes at the beginning of each segment, so that Mr. Trump and Biden each have uninterrupted time to answer. Afterward, both mics will be turned on for open discussion. 

How to watch the next presidential debate

  • What: Final 2020 debate between President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden
  • Where: Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Date: Thursday, October 22, 2020
  • Time: Debate begins at 9 p.m. and runs 90 minutes without commercial interruption
  • Watch live: On CBS television stations and CBSN from 9 p.m.-11 p.m. ET
  • Debate preview on CBSN's "Red & Blue": 5 p.m. on CBSN
  • CBSN debate coverage: Pre-show coverage at 8:30 p.m. and post-show coverage at 11 p.m.
  • Online stream: Live on CBSN — in the player above and on your mobile phone, connected TV or gaming console. Download the free CBS News app for full CBSN coverage and live debate updates. CBSN streaming is available on all major platforms, including iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon, Apple, Samsung and Pluto TV.
  • Follow: Presidential debate live blog updates on

The final debate will take place less than two weeks before Election Day, November 3. According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, "all required testing, masking, social distancing and other protocols" will be followed. 

The moderator, Kristen Welker, is a White House correspondent for NBC News and co-anchor of "Weekend TODAY." The format will be identical to the first presidential debate, with the time divided into segments focusing on different issues chosen the moderator.

The topics for the October 22 debate will include:

  • Fighting COVID-19
  • American Families
  • Race in America
  • Climate Change
  • National Security
  • Leadership

"As always, the moderators alone will select the questions to be asked, which are not known to the CPD or to the candidates," according to the commission. "The moderators will have the ability both to extend the segments and to ensure that the candidates have equal speaking time. While the focus will properly be on the candidates, the moderator will regulate the conversation so that thoughtful and substantive exchanges occur."

It will be the first opportunity for the two candidates to debate the handling of the coronavirus pandemic following President Trump's own experience being hospitalized for COVID-19. 

The debate will also occur in the midst of the political battle over confirming the president's Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, whose Senate confirmation hearings got underway this week.

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