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Ex-CNN Analyst Breaks Down Just How ‘Pro-Biden’ His Former Network’s Rules Are In Upcoming Trump Debate

Former CNN political analyst Chris Cillizza on Monday said his previous network’s rules in its upcoming presidential debate largely benefit President Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump.

CNN on Saturday finalized the rules and format for the 90-minute June 27 debate, hosted by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash in Atlanta, which include muting microphones and barring a live studio audience. Cillizza on his YouTube channel broke down four of the rules, asserting three of them benefit Biden more than Trump.


Cillizza started off by saying the muted microphones will obviously benefit Biden. CNN has not explicitly stated whether Tapper and Bash will be in charge of the muting, but the network did state that moderators “will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure civilized discussion.”

“I don’t love it from a debate perspective, but from a who does this benefit perspective, it clearly benefits Biden,” he said. “Because 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. He interrupts, he bullies. You know, in 2020 Biden said, ‘Hey man, why don’t you just shut up?’”

“That was actually probably the most memorable moment of the debate, which probably wouldn’t happen this time around with the muted mics,” Cillizza continued. “But regardless, I do think it helps Biden because I think Trump just tries to get you off your pace, off your rhythm, off your game, right? Just by talking and talking and talking, talking. So that’s rule one, benefit Biden one.”

The former CNN analyst said the two commercial breaks during the debate will also benefit the president.

“This is different than what we’ve seen in the past,” he said. “So in the past, a group called the Commission on Presidential Debates managed these things. It’s a bipartisan group made up of former like party officials. There were no commercial breaks in there. It was 2 hours. It was straight. It was questioning, right? There was no room to sort of take a breath. Again, I think this probably benefits Biden a little bit just because he gets a little time to regroup, right?”

“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,” Cillizza continued. “So you can’t interact with your campaign or advisers in any way during the breaks, but you can just sort of … I’m not on live TV at this second and I don’t need to watch what I’m saying every second. I can kind of regroup, figure out what my message should be, how have I done? So 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.”

Cillizza said the lack of a studio audience also benefits Biden because Trump supporters are more vocal.

“I do think this probably benefits Biden. Trump supporters are loud,” he said. “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 towards either candidate until the end of the debate.’ And people just don’t follow the rules. 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, that sort of thing, which I think might sort of impact how people perceive the debate. Okay, so that’s three rules and three good things for Biden.”

Lastly, Cillizza said the fact that the candidates will be prevented from having pre-written notes during the debates benefits Trump.

“I think that’s probably good for Trump,” he said. “So 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. Biden, look, 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 ”

“Now, they can take notes,” the former CNN analyst continued. “They will have a pen and paper, so they can take notes during the debate. So, you know, Biden could get there and know, okay, ‘I need to write these four things down, write them down.’ So he could get around that. But I would say, broadly speaking, no pre-written notes probably helps Trump marginally.”

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will not be at the debate as he has failed to meet CNN’s requirements.

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Jason Cohen

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