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How to watch the presidential debates between Trump and Biden, and what to expect

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will face-off in three scheduled debates spanning one month.

With the November presidential election just a few weeks away, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are preparing for three presidential debates. 

The presidential candidates will first share the stage on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace will moderate that debate. 

In addition to the presidential nominees facing off, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will also face-off in one debate a week later. That Vice Presidential debate will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and will be moderated by USA Today's Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page. 

Biden and Trump will then head to Miami, Florida where they will debate in a town hall style at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 15. Steve Scully, Senior Executive Producer & Political Editor for C-SPAN Networks will moderate that event. 

The third and final presidential debate will occur on Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The debate moderator for that night will be Kristen Welker, NBC News Co-Anchor for Weekend Today, and White House Correspondent for the network. 

The debates will be carried on all major networks from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET commercial-free.

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Each debate is sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The nonpartisan group has sponsored all general election debates since 1988.    

The CPD's current board consists of foundation executives, former politicians, a former news anchor and even a university president.

Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, CPD has retained Cleveland Clinic as a health security advisor for the debates.

Credit: AP
In this combination photo, president Donald Trump, left, speaks at a news conference on Aug. 11, 2020, in Washington and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del. on Aug. 13, 2020.

The debate moderators are typically selected several weeks before the debates begin. Since 1996, there typically has been a single moderator for all of the commission's debates during each presidential election. CPD explains that helps keep the focus on the candidates and their positions. 

According to its website, the commission uses three criteria to select moderators including: familiarity with the candidates and the major issues of the presidential campaign, extensive experience in live television broadcast news, and an understanding that the debate should focus maximum time and attention on the candidates and their views.  

The 2020 debates have been criticized a bit by members of both parties.

Biden has committed to debating Trump in all three scheduled debates, despite some opposition to the idea by Democratic party leaders.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Aug. 27 that she didn’t think Biden should debate the president at all. Pelosi said she knows she disagrees with Biden on this, but she doesn’t think he should “legitimize a conversation” with Trump. 

Biden has said he's going to be a "fact checker on the floor" during the debates.

“Here’s the deal with bullies, I understand how they work,” Biden said on CNN. “And I’m going to play by the rules of the debate commission and we’re going to have a debate.” 

At the beginning of August, the CPD rejected a request made by the Trump campaign to either add a fourth debate or move up the three already scheduled. Trump’s campaign said 16 states will have started voting by the time of the first debate on Sept. 29.

"The Commission has found that three 90-minute debates work well to fulfill the voter education purposes the debates are intended to serve," CPD said in a letter addressed to Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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