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Former CNN employee spills the beans on how CNN's debate rules benefit Biden: 'That's a good thing for Biden'
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Former CNN employee spills the beans on how CNN's debate rules benefit Biden: 'That's a good thing for Biden'

The first debate between Biden and Trump takes place on June 27.

Former CNN political analyst Chris Cillizza believes that CNN's rules for the upcoming presidential debate are skewed to help President Joe Biden.

On Saturday, CNN announced the rules for the June 27 debate, including: muted microphones, commercial breaks, no live audience, no opening statements, and no use of pre-written notes.

'[Biden] is older ... I do think he struggles more with these live performance kind-of-things than does Trump.'

Previous presidential debates, traditionally hosted by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, featured live audiences and did not mute candidates' microphones.

Cillizza said he is "surprised" Trump's campaign agreed to the rules because, in his view, they benefit Biden.

Muted microphones

To limit interruptions, CNN will only unmute the microphone of the candidate whose turn it is to speak.

It's not clear how CNN plans to enforce this rule — whether the moderators will manually control the microphones or if an offstage producer will toggle the on/off switches — but Cillizza believes this rule clearly helps Biden.

"I don't love it from a debate perspective, but from a, 'Who does this benefit?' perspective, it clearly benefits Biden," he said.

"If you go back and look at the debates they had — they had two in 2020 between Biden and Trump — Trump just talks and talks and talks and talks, and that’s true in 2016, too. Like, he just over and over and over and over again — just talks," Cillizza added. "I do think it helps Biden because I think Trump just tries to get you off your pace, off your rhythm, off your game just by talking and talking and talking."

Commercial breaks

Previously, presidential debates did not include commercials. But CNN apparently wants to make use of the expected high viewership to sell advertisements, planning to include two commercial breaks during the 90-minute debate.

During those breaks, neither Trump nor Biden will be permitted to consult with their campaign staff.

"This probably benefits Biden a little bit just because he gets a little time to regroup," Cillizza admitted.

"He is older — I know it's only three and a half years older — but I do think he struggles more with these live performance kind-of-things than does Trump," he explained. "I think that's a good thing for Biden. I think he benefits from a little breather within. So that's two rules and two good things for Biden."

No studio audience

Previous presidential debates featured studio audiences.

But this debate will not include one, which Cillizza believes disadvantages Trump because the former president knows how to let a crowd energize him.

On this point, Cillizza exposed his anti-Trump bias by claiming without evidence that Trump supporters are "more likely" than Biden supporters not to abide by debate rules.

"I do think this probably benefits Biden," he said.

"Trump supporters are loud. They are more likely to not follow the debate rules. Like, at every debate they’re like, 'please don’t clap, please don’t cheer, please don’t express any sentiment toward either candidate until the end of the debate.' And people just don’t follow the rules," he continued. "I think the Trump people would be less likely to follow the rules just given what I know about them."

"So you'd have a lot of cheering, a lot of booing, which I think might sort of impact how people perceive the debate," Cillizza went on to say. "OK, so that's three rules and three good things for Biden."

No pre-written notes

Not everything is a positive for Biden. The debate rule against using pre-written notes, Cillizza predicted, benefits Trump.

On this point, Cillizza again revealed his own anti-Trump bias, but his general theory is likely correct.

"Trump, first of all, doesn't have a ton of policy positions he needs to remember, candidly, and he's just going to riff anyway, so it doesn't really change anything," he said.

"Biden, I do think he struggles a little bit more when it comes to extemporaneous speaking. I do think he has more policy that he's going to try to remember than Trump does, and it at least creates the possibility that Biden looks a little lost at some time. If he forgets his place, he can’t sort of look down at his notes and see like one word to remind him of what he wants to say," Cillizza added.

So far, there are only two scheduled presidential debates.

After CNN's debate next week, the second will take place on Sept. 10. ABC News is hosting that debate.

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Chris Enloe

Chris Enloe

Staff Writer

Chris Enloe is a staff writer for Blaze News
@chrisenloe →