(AmericanPoliticalDaily.com)- When it’s not their turn to respond, candidates will have their microphone muted during the next presidential debate.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the changes on Monday, which it said it was doing in response to the interruptions at the first presidential debate. Sources with the commission told CNN that the decision was unanimous, and said “this is not a change to rules but rather a move to promote adherence to rules that have been agreed to by both campaigns.
“A change to the rules would have required protracted and ultimately, in our view, unworkable negotiations between the two campaigns.”
Following the announcement of the decision, Tim Murtaugh, President Donald Trump’s campaign communications director, said the decision is an “attempt to provide advantage to their favored candidate.” Despite that, he said the president is “committed to debating Joe Biden.”
Trump himself responded to the change on Monday by saying:
“I’ll participate. I just think it’s very unfair.”
The commission seemed to anticipate a negative response from the president. In a statement they released when they announced the change, they said:
“We realize, after discussions with both campaigns, that neither campaign may be totally satisfied with the measures announced today. One may think they go too far, and one may think they do not go far enough. We are comfortable that these actions strike the right balance and that they are in the interest of the American people, for whom these debates are held.”
The format for Thursday night’s debate will include six segments. Each candidate will have two minutes to respond to the initial question. When one candidate is responding, the commission will mute the other candidate’s microphone so that he cannot interrupt or talk over the other candidate’s response.
The commission outlined how Thursday’s debate will operate in detail, saying in their statement:
“Under the agreed-upon debate rules, each candidate is to have two minutes of uninterrupted time to make remarks at the beginning of each 15-minute segment of the debate. These remarks are to be followed by a period of open discussion. Both campaigns this week again reaffirmed their agreement to the two-minute, uninterrupted rule.
“The Commission is announcing today that in order to enforce this agreed-upon rule, the only candidate whose microphone will be open during these two-minute periods is the candidate who has the floor under the rules. For the balance of each segment, which by design is intended to be dedicated to open discussion, both candidates’ microphones will be open.
“During the times dedicated for open discussion, it is the hope of the Commissioner that the candidates will be respectful of each other’s time, which will advance civil discourse for the benefit of the viewing public. As in the past, the moderator will apportion roughly equal amounts of time between the two speakers over the course of the 90 minutes. Time taken up during any interruptions will be returned to the other candidate.”
Thursday’s debate will be the second and final one between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. It was supposed to be the third, but the second debate was cancelled after the president refused to participate in a virtual debate.