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How to watch the presidential debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
Joe Biden and Donald Trump.Bloomberg/Source: Bloomberg

President Trump and his Democratic challenger, former vice president Joe Biden, are scheduled to meet for three debates before the Nov. 3 presidential election. Like so much else during the 2020 campaign season, the debates are likely to be highly unusual as the two men meet amid a still-raging coronavirus pandemic.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has not yet said whether there will be an audience present at the debates, which will each span 90 minutes. An official at the Cleveland Clinic, where the first debate is scheduled to take place, said an audience could still be present but would be significantly reduced.

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“We’re talking about 200 people or less,” Dr. James Merlino told News 5 Cleveland last month.

Here’s a look at the dates, times, and venues for each presidential debate, plus the debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris.

First debate: Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m.

Venue: Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland

Moderator: Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday

Format: The debate will consist of six 15-minute segments, each beginning with a question posed by the moderator. Each candidate gets two minutes to answer the question. The moderator will then use the remaining time “for a deeper discussion of the topic,” according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. The topic of each segment will be announced prior to the debate.

Second debate: Thursday, Oct. 15 at 9 p.m.

Venue: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami

Moderator: Steve Scully, senior executive producer and political editor at C-SPAN

Format: The debate will follow a town hall style meeting format, with questions posed by undecided voters from the Miami area. Candidates will receive two minutes each to answer questions, and there will be one minute reserved for the moderator to “facilitate further discussion.”

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Third debate: Thursday, Oct. 22 at 9 p.m.

Venue: Belmont University in Nashville

Moderator: Kristen Welker, NBC News White House correspondent

Format: The format of the third debate will be the same as the first debate.

Vice presidential debate: Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m.

Venue: The University of Utah in Salt Lake City

Moderator: Susan Page, Washington bureau chief of USA Today

Format: The debate will be divided into nine 10-minute segments, with each segment beginning with a question posed by a moderator. Candidates will get two minutes each to respond to the questions, and, like the first and third presidential debates, the moderator will use additional time for follow-up questions.


Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.