US Presidential debates 2020: Dates, times, where to watch

US Presidential debates 2020: Dates, times, where to watch

November 3rd is just around the corner, and while many US citizens already know who they are voting for (and who they definitely don’t want as president), the presidential debates help put things into perspective. This year’s presidential debates have already kicked off, and while the first one has "made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues", there is still more to come. Find out all about the US presidential debates 2020 - when they will take place, how to watch them, and what to expect.

presidential debate

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With the coronavirus pandemic, there will be some differences in the traditional debate format. For one, Donald Trump and Joe Biden will share the same stage, forgo the traditional pre-debate handshake, and maintain social distancing. This is just one of the many things that will stand out in this year’s debates.

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In total, there will be four debates. What time is the debate? All four debates are 90 minutes in length and are running from 9:00 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT/ 6 p.m. PT until 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. PT.

Here is the complete presidential debate schedule.

Schedule of the presidential debates 2020

With the first presidential debate checked off and the November election quickly approaching, the 2020 vice-presidential candidates will be the next to face off on the debate stage.

debate time

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1. First presidential debate - September 29th, 2020

Format: The debate consisted of six 15-minute segments selected by the moderator and announced in advance. The moderator opened each segment with a question, after which each candidate was allowed two minutes to respond. Candidates then had an opportunity to respond to each other.

Moderator: Chris Wallace. This was the second time he has moderated a presidential debate; the first was between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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Time: From 9:00 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT/ 6 p.m. PT until 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. PT.

Venue: Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Previously, it was to be held at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. In late July, the university withdrew from hosting due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, said:

"I am grateful to the many members of the University community who have devoted countless hours planning this event, and to the Commission on Presidential Debates leadership for their professionalism and understanding...But in the end, the constraints the coronavirus pandemic put on the event -- as understandable and necessary as they are -- have led us to withdraw."

The first debate focused on topics selected by Mr. Wallace, which included:

  • The Trump and Biden records
  • The Supreme Court
  • COVID-19
  • The economy
  • Race and violence in cities
  • The integrity of the election
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debate live stream

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2. Vice presidential debate - October 7th

Format: The first October debate will be divided into nine 10-minute segments. This will be the only debate between Vice President Mike Pence and his challenger, Kamala Harris. The moderator will ask an opening question, and candidates will have two minutes to respond to questions in each segment. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

Moderator: USA Today's Susan Page

Time: From 9:00 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT/ 6 p.m. PT until 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. PT.

Venue: The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, in Kingsbury Hall on President's Circle.

3. Second presidential debate - October 15th

Format: The debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the questions will be posed by citizens from the South Florida area. The candidates will have two minutes to respond to each question, and there will be an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate further discussion.

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Moderator: Steve Scully of C-SPAN.

Time: From 9:00 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT/ 6 p.m. PT until 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. PT.

Location: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida (Changed from the University of Michigan because of pandemic concerns.)

2020 debate

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4. Third presidential debate - October 22nd

Format: Same format as the first debate, with six 15-minute segments. The moderator and the Commission on Presidential Debates will announce topics a week before the debate.

Moderator: NBC's Kristen Welker (NBC News White House Correspondent and Weekend Today co-anchor). She is the second Black woman to serve as the sole moderator of a presidential debate. The first was Carole Simpson.

Time: From 9:00 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT/ 6 p.m. PT until 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. PT.

Venue: Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee

Debate time

All four debates are 90 minutes in length and will run from 9:00 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT/ 6 p.m. PT until 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. PT.

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How to watch debate online

You can watch the debate stream on news networks like ABCNews.com as well as the ABC News and ABC mobile apps. You can also watch from the ABC News Live app on your Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Roku, or Apple TV. You can also watch it on C-SPAN.com or the C-SPAN Radio app.

Presidential debate schedule

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What channel is the debate on?

You can watch the next presidential debate on all the major networks, including NBC, C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, Fox News, and CNN.

You can also watch debate live on several channels including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and C-Span. WSJ.com and WSJ’s YouTube channel will have a debate live stream too.

What happened during the first 2020 debate?

The Sept. 29 presidential debate deteriorated into bitter taunts and near chaos, with Trump repeatedly interrupting Joe Biden and talking over the moderator, Chris Wallace.

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A day later, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) - a nonpartisan body that has organized presidential debates since 1988, released a statement saying it will consider changes to the debate format and will announce those shortly:

"The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate. Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the statement read."

With one debate down and three more to go, there is still a lot to expect from the US presidential debates 2020.

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