Report: Next Debate Will Feature New Rules, Including Cutting Off Candidates’ Mics

Debate rule changes

Getty After the Tuesday, September 29, 2020, debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced it would institute new rules.

After an exhausting 90-minute debate, during which President Donald Trump interrupted and shouted — not only over his opponent, Joe Biden, but also moderator Chris Wallace — the Commission on Presidential Debates will institute stricter rules for the next contest on October 7.

Per CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell, the new rules will likely even call for a candidate’s microphone to be cut off if he talks over the moderator or his opponent. That would be a first for one-on-one presidential debates.

Commentators and voters seemed to agree that Tuesday night’s debate was an undisciplined disaster and called for a microphone rule at the next event.

Here’s what you need to know:

According to O’Donnell, Strict New Rules Are Coming That Will Allow the Moderator To Cut a Candidate’s Microphone

An informed source told O’Donnell Wednesday that the Commission on Presidential Debates will be instituting strict new rules that extend so far as to cutting a candidate’s microphone.

“CBS has learned the Commission on Presidential Debates plans to issue strict new rules in the coming days that include cutting off a candidate’s microphone if they violate the rules, per an informed source,” she said.

The CPD put out a statement about an hour before O’Donnell’s tweet, announcing that they would indeed be enforcing stricter rules next time, although they did not specify what those rules would be.

“The CPD sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate. Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” they said. “The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly. The commission is grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.”

The CPD is also considering a new rule in which a candidate who is interrupted will get more time to speak added, The New York Times reported.

Viewers Complained About Trump’s Constant Interrupting & Newsweek’s Travis Akers Said Mics ‘Must Be Cut Off’ Next Time

Tuesday’s debate was not only unpleasantly rancorous to many voters, but the constant interruptions — most from Trump, Wallace said — made it difficult to follow or even parse the candidates’ points.

Biden, at one point, even said to Trump after one more interruption, “Will you shut up, man?”

Media professionals including George Stephanopoulos, Dana Bash and Jake Tapper all agreed it was the worst presidential debate they’d ever seen.

“It was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck,” Tapper, of CNN, said.

“It was a s***show,” Bash, also of CNN, said plainly.

“As someone’ who’s watched presidential debates for 40 years, moderated presidential debates, prepared candidates for presidential debates and covered them, that was the worst presidential debate I have ever seen in my life,” Stephanopoulos opined.

Newsweek’s Travis Akers said that at the next debate, “the microphones must be cut off when the other person is speaking.”

“This is ridiculous and embarrassing,” he added.

The CPD changing the rules mid-debate season is likely unprecedented, NBC News reported, and points to just how chaotic and poorly received Tuesday’s event was.

Heavy reached out to the CPD for more on the coming rule changes, but did not immediately hear back.

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