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Biden and Trump to face off in high-stakes debate in Atlanta today

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President Joe Biden (L) attends the annual Easter Egg Roll in Washington on April 1, 2024, and former president Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in New York City on March 25, 2024.  — Reuters
President Joe Biden (L) attends the annual Easter Egg Roll in Washington on April 1, 2024, and former president Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in New York City on March 25, 2024.  — Reuters

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will clash in Atlanta today for the first time in the 2024 presidential debate.

This unprecedented event, featuring a sitting president and a former president, promises to be a defining moment for both candidates.

At 81, Biden faces criticism over his age, while Trump, 78, confronts controversies of his own. Their opposing views on immigration, abortion, and international conflicts will be centre stage.

The debate marks the beginning of a high-stakes battle for the White House. Both Biden and Trump are virtually tied in national opinion polls, making this encounter crucial to attract undecided voters. The debate, starting at 9:00 pm at the CNN headquarters, will be closely watched by millions across the nation.

Biden will highlight his message that Trump is a threat to US democracy. At the same time, Trump plans to attack Biden’s handling of the economy and immigration. Their campaigns have already launched aggressive attack ads, underscoring the contentious nature of this election.

Trump, known for his combative debate style, may need to rein in his aggressive tendencies from their last encounter in 2020. Biden, arriving in Georgia earlier today, will strive to avoid any missteps that could reinforce concerns about his age.

Today’s debate adopts a new format, without a studio audience and with strict microphone rules to ensure a more orderly discussion. The absence of a studio audience and the introduction of microphone muting are intended to keep the debate focused on the issues.

Both candidates have fine-tuned their strategies: Biden has prepared extensively at Camp David, while Trump has opted for more informal preparation.

With only two debates scheduled during this election cycle, today’s event in Atlanta is crucial. Trump holds a slight advantage in key swing states, but the national race remains extremely close. As the candidates take the stage, they aim to address their political vulnerabilities and sway undecided voters.

Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and legal troubles are likely to be points of contention, while Biden’s age and mental sharpness will also be under scrutiny. Both candidates face significant challenges, making this debate a must-watch event for anyone following the 2024 presidential race.

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