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    Game On: Unpacking Biden’s Urgency for an Early Debate with Trump and Trump’s Surprising Consent

    joe biden vs donald trump

    Sure, here’s a rewritten version of the article with the same meaning:


    Biden’s advisers have long believed that the realization of a Trump-Biden rematch will help boost the president’s low approval ratings.

    Despite tens of millions of dollars spent on advertising, President Joe Biden’s polling numbers have not improved. Donald Trump’s criminal trials have not altered the race’s dynamics, and Biden’s financial and organizational advantages have yet to yield political benefits.

    On Wednesday, the one weekday Trump is not in court, the Biden campaign made a bold move by proposing to advance the first presidential debate by three months. This strategy aimed to capture Americans’ attention sooner and highlight the critical choice they face in 2024. Biden’s advisers have long thought that the prospect of a Trump-Biden rematch would revive the president’s sagging approval ratings.

    The Trump team quickly agreed, with Trump lowering expectations for Biden by posting on social media that Biden was “the WORST debater I have ever faced.” He also criticized Biden’s speaking abilities and called him “crooked” multiple times.

    Biden’s early-debate proposal signaled an acknowledgment that he is trailing in his reelection campaign. It was also a calculated move to prompt voters to re-engage with politics and consider the potential return of Trump to power.

    The proposal also aimed to mitigate the risks of having an 81-year-old president participate in a live 90-minute debate. By agreeing to two debates instead of the usual three, and scheduling them further from Election Day, both candidates would have time to recover from any potential missteps.

    Trump, who turns 78 in June and skipped all the Republican primary debates, has been eager to debate Biden, often portraying him as diminished since 2020. Within hours of Biden’s announcement, both sides agreed to a debate on June 27 hosted by CNN in Atlanta and another with ABC News on September 10.

    However, Trump also faces risks, as Biden has performed well in key moments when expectations were low, including the 2020 debates and recent State of the Union addresses.

    By accepting Biden’s terms for two debates, Trump lost leverage to demand more, even though his campaign requested monthly debates and accepted a Fox News debate in October. The Biden campaign firmly stated that the president would participate in only two debates.

    “President Biden made his terms clear for two one-on-one debates, and Donald Trump accepted those terms,” said Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign chair. “No more games. No more chaos. No more debate about debates.”

    The swift agreement was facilitated by behind-the-scenes discussions between senior officials of both campaigns, aimed at bypassing the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has overseen the events since 1988. Both campaigns preferred a direct face-off between Biden and Trump, excluding other candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

    Presidential debates remain pivotal in American politics, with more than 73 million people watching the first Biden-Trump debate in 2020, and 84 million tuning in for Trump’s first debate against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

    This year, both candidates will be relatively inexperienced in debate sparring. Trump chose not to participate in primary debates, and the last debate for both men was in 2020.

    Both Biden and Trump are entering the general election with low popularity. Recent polls by The New York Times, Siena College, and The Philadelphia Inquirer showed 40% of registered voters viewed Biden favorably compared to 45% for Trump. While Trump has been consistently viewed unfavorably for years, Biden was better liked four years ago.

    Recently, Biden has taken a more combative approach toward Trump, delivering a major speech on democracy before the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot and a Trump-focused State of the Union address. These efforts aim to highlight the differences between the candidates and underscore the stakes of this year’s election.

    Despite trailing in polls, Biden’s campaign team believes his standing will improve once voters accept the two men as their main options and recall Trump’s record, especially on democracy and abortion rights. Some voters mistakenly believe Biden ended the constitutional right to abortion, highlighting the need for clarity.

    Trump has repeatedly questioned Biden’s mental sharpness and stamina. Some Trump allies regret setting low expectations for Biden, especially after his strong State of the Union address. Yet, Trump supporters remain confident, with Fox News’ Sean Hannity predicting Trump will “wipe the floor” with Biden in the debates.

    Biden’s debate challenge on Wednesday had a tough tone usually associated with Trump. “Well, make my day, pal,” Biden said in an online video, poking fun at Trump’s courtroom commitments: “I hear you’re free on Wednesday.”

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