CNN announced the rules and additional details for its June 27 presidential debate, setting the stage for the event less than two weeks away.

Notable details include the absence of a studio audience, muted microphones except when a candidate is given time to speak, and each candidate’s presence at a uniform podium. No props or pre-written notes will be allowed on the stage, though candidates will be given a pen, a pad of paper, and a bottle of water.

The moderators, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, “will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion,” according to the network.

The network also mused about who will qualify for the debates, saying it is unlikely for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the independent presidential candidate, to qualify for the debate, saying “Though not impossible in Kennedy’s case, it is less likely that candidates other than Biden and Trump will meet those requirements.”

The network says RFK Jr. has three of the four required qualifying polls and has ballot access equivalent to 89 of the 270 electoral votes requirement.

He has until June 20 to add another poll showing him at 15% or higher and an additional 181 electoral votes through ballot access in those states.

The most notable requirement is the absence of a studio audience, which is unusual for presidential debates in the general or party primaries.

The detail was the Biden camp’s idea, with campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon saying they wanted to avoid raucous crowds for viewers’ benefit.

“The debates should be conducted for the benefit of the American voters, watching on television and at home — not as entertainment for an in-person audience with raucous or disruptive partisans and donors, who consume valuable debate time with noisy spectacles of approval or jeering,” Dillon wrote in a May letter.

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have already agreed to the 90-minute debate rules, and will be allowed two breaks amid their likely verbal combat. As for the other details, muted mics was a stipulation included in a 2020 debate, and Trump has pushed for the candidates to stand at podiums, in a likely assumption Biden will be more uncomfortable, against the Biden campaign’s suggestion to sit.

There will be at least one more presidential debate as ABC is hosting a debate on Sept. 10, not long before early voting begins in the general election. Trump leads by 1.1% in 538’s national polling average.

Source: CF