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Fox News and other news outlets urge presidential candidates to ‘publicly commit’ to debates

FOX News Media and eleven other national news organizations released a joint statement Sunday urging the presumptive Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to ‘publicly commit’ to general election debates prior to the 2024 election.

‘With the contours of the 2024 general election now coming into clear focus, we – the undersigned national news organizations – urge the presumptive presidential nominees to publicly commit to participating in general election debates before November’s election,’ the news organizations stated in the joint statement. ‘General election debates have a rich tradition in our American democracy, having played a vital role in every presidential election of the past 50 years, dating to 1976. In each of those elections, tens of millions have tuned in to watch the candidates debating side by side, in a competition of ideas for the votes of American citizens.’

‘Since 1988, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has sponsored all presidential general election debates. The Commission has previously announced dates, times, and eligibility criteria for 2024 debates. Though it is too early for invitations to be extended to any candidates, it is not too early for candidates who expect to meet the eligibility criteria to publicly state their support for – and their intention to participate in – the Commission’s debates planned for this fall,’ the group of a dozen news organizations continued.

‘If there is one thing Americans can agree on during this polarized time, it is that the stakes of this election are exceptionally high,’ the organizations added. ‘Amidst that backdrop, there is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other, and before the American people, their visions for the future of our nation.’

The other news organizations that joined FOX News Media in signing on to the statement include ABC News, The Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, C-SPAN, NBCUniversal News Group, NewsNation Noticias Univision (Univision Network News), NPR, PBS NewsHour and USA TODAY.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which has been responsible for organizing presidential and vice presidential debates in the U.S. for more than 30 years, announced in November the sites and dates for three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate during the 2024 general election.

The scheduled presidential debates are slated to take place at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, on September 16; at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, on October 1; and at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 9.

The sole vice presidential debate is scheduled to take place on September 25 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

In announcing the debate locations last year, the CPD noted that each debate will begin at 9 p.m. ET and last for 90 minutes without commercial interruption.

Last week, former President Donald Trump’s campaign called for additional 2024 presidential debates and for them to take place ‘much earlier’ than initially proposed by the debate commission. Trump told Fox News Digital that he is ‘totally committed’ to debating President Biden ‘anytime, anywhere, anyplace.’

In a Thursday letter to CPD co-chairs Frank Farenkopf Jr. and Antonia Hernandez, Trump co-campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita told the commission they were writing ‘in agreement with the pending letter,’ reported by The New York Times, ‘from television networks advocating for presidential debates to occur in 2024.’

‘While the Commission on Presidential Debates has already announced three presidential debates and a vice-presidential debate to occur later this year, we are in favor of these debates beginning much earlier,’ they wrote in the letter, which was obtained exclusively by Fox News Digital.

Citing their reasoning for requesting earlier debates, Wiles and LaCivita argued that ‘voting is beginning earlier and earlier, and as we saw in 2020, tens of millions of Americans had already voted by the time of the first debate.’ 

In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital on Thursday, Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said it is ‘very important to have the debates now, because the country is doing so badly.’

Last month, following his State of the Union address, Biden was asked whether he would debate Trump ahead of Election Day.

‘Depends on his behavior,’ responded Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

Earlier this year, Biden addressed previous calls for earlier debates with Trump.

‘If I were him, I would want to debate me, too,’ Biden told reporters in Nevada when asked about Trump wanting to debate him earlier in the election cycle. ‘He’s got nothing else to do,’ Biden added.

Though the Biden campaign has not yet committed to any of the scheduled debates, it previously fired back after Trump’s invitation that he would debate the president ‘anytime, anywhere, anyplace.’

‘I know Donald Trump’s thirsty for attention and struggling to expand his appeal beyond the MAGA base — and that’s a conversation we’ll have at the appropriate time in this cycle,’ Biden campaign communications director Michael Tyler told Fox News Digital. ‘But if he’s so desperate to see President Biden in prime time, he doesn’t have to wait!’

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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