Front Page Talking Points


First Biden-Trump debate of 2024 airs Thursday from Georgia


1.gifShare a debate preview quote from your state or elsewhere.

2.gifNow look for a young voter's comment. Why does she or he plan to watch, or why not?

3.gifRead an article involving local government. How do city or county officeholders affect your community?

A live drama with big stakes will be on TV this Thursday night, when the Democratic president and the Republican he beat four years ago debate at CNN's main studio in Atlanta. The 90-minute showdown between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, one of two debates scheduled before November's rematch election, is a chance for voters to see the candidates side-by-side for the first time since they debated in October 2020. "The stakes for the debate are sky high," says longtime Democratic strategist Howard Wolfson.

The political rivals "will outline their sharply contrasting visions for the nation," as The New York Times put it, while discussing topics such as the economy, immigration, abortion, democracy, the Ukraine-Russia war, Gaza Strip clashes between Israel and Hamas terrorists, and other issues raised by moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash of the host network. Personal swipes also are possible -- OK, likely -- between men who are bitter rivals. Trump still insists he won four years ago and new Biden commercials call his opponent "a convicted criminal who is only out for himself." (The legal reference is to Trump's conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records after a May trial in New York City.) "Moderators will use all tools at their disposal to . . . ensure a civilized discussion," CNN says in a statement.

Neither man is formally nominated yet. The Republican Party convention is next month in Milwaukee, followed by the Democratic event in Miami during August. Thursday's debate at 9 p.m. Eastern time has rules aimed at avoiding cross-talk and interruptions on stage or off. There's no studio audience, both men must stay behind podiums and will have microphones muted when it's not their turn to speak. Candidates can't meet with staff at any point, even during two commercial breaks, and can't bring notes. (Independent candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. isn't invited because he hasn’t qualified for enough state ballots.) ABC will host the second presidential debate Sept. 10.

Trump says: "Let's get ready to Rumble." – Truth Social post

Biden says: "Trump says he'll arrange his own transportation [to Atlanta]. I'll bring my plane, too. I plan on keeping it for another four years." – Post on X (formerly Twitter)

Political veteran says: "We all get a chance to see whether Joe Biden is as feeble as Trump says he is. We all get a chance to see whether Donald Trump is as unhinged as Joe Biden says he is. This is our chance to test the worst accusations of the candidates against each other." – Frank Luntz, longtime Republican pollster

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2024

Front Page Talking Points Archive

Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.