/ 28 June 2024

A debate between 2 old rivals


The Squiz 

After months of campaign rallies, personal legal dramas and jabs about each other’s age, the Trump v Biden showdown round 2 is about to begin… At 11am eastern time today, you can tune in to the first of 2 presidential debates – the second is in September – between Democratic incumbent Joe Biden and his Republican challenger Donald Trump. It’s a big deal not just because of the personalities involved, but also as it’s the first time a sitting and former president have faced off. And with polls showing the US November election could go either way, there’s everything to play for. CNN is hosting the 90-minute event, with anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash asking the questions.

So what can we expect?

It’s their first public debate in 4 years and there’s a new set of pre-agreed rules. Microphones will be muted unless it’s their turn to speak, there’ll be no studio audience, no props or pre-written notes will be allowed, and team consultations are also out. Reports say the new rules are to make the debate more issues-focused, rather than full of the personal attacks that defined their last meeting. Even so, experts reckon we’re “going to see some fireworks”. Reports say Biden’s been madly prepping at Camp David, transforming an aeroplane hangar into “a mock debate stage”, while Trump says campaign rallies are “the best strategy” to get ready. The big issues will be America’s involvement in Ukraine and Gaza, abortion, immigration, cost of living and crime rates. But also expect more personal jibes about Biden’s fitness at 81yo, and 78yo Trump’s ongoing legal dramas.

Anything else?

Well yes… if all that wasn’t enough across the Atlantic, UK Conservative PM Rishi Sunak and his Labour opponent Keir Starmer have completed their final pre-election debate ahead of next Thursday’s election. Televised in front of a live audience, the pair clashed over their tax plans, border controls, the cost of living and women-only spaces. The pressure is on for Sunak as polls suggest the Tory government is all but facing a wipeout. But before we find out if that will happen, across the Channel, French President Emmanuel Macron’s snap election gamble will kick off this Sunday in the first of two rounds of voting. A massive shakeup for the whole of Europe could be on the cards if Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party wins enough votes to install her protégé, 28yo Jordan Bardella as PM. Zut alors

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