Presidential Debates on PBS

October 12, 2020

Update: October 20. See our post on the final 2020 Presidential debate on Thursday, October 22.

The second Presidential Debate for October 15 will not be held, either as originally planned for in-person in Miami, FL, or virtually, as proposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates after President Trump was diagnosed with having the new coronavirus. Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden would have participated in the online debate format, but President Trump refused, preferring that it be held in person.

Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate in-person at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, on October 22 at 9 p.m. ET. The debate will be moderated by NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker.

PBS NewsHour is broadcasting live coverage of the 2020 Presidential debates between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden from 9-11 p.m. ET on October 22.

The special coverage will be anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff and include contributions from PBS NewsHour senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz, White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, Capitol Hill correspondent Lisa Desjardins and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, among others. Gary Abernathy
The Washington Post, contributing columnist, and Cynthia Tucker, syndicated columnist, will be guests on October 22.

Nawaz will engage with a panel of voters to discuss their impressions of each debate afterwards. One of the voters is from Camden County, NJ.

October 7 Vice Presidential Debate

The Vice Presidential debate on October 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah, will be moderated by Susan Page of USA Today. The Vice President and senator will be 12 feet apart from one another, and a plexiglass barrier will divide the space between them as a COVID-19 safety precaution.

PBS NewsHour is also broadcasting live coverage of the 2020 Presidential debates between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden from 9-11 pm ET beginning Tuesday, September 29, and on October 15 and October 22.

The special coverage will be anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff and include contributions from PBS NewsHour senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz, White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, Capitol Hill correspondent Lisa Desjardins and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, among others.

Nawaz will engage with a panel of voters to discuss their impressions of each debate afterwards.

Read more about the candidates’ debate preparations on the PBS NewsHour site.

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Expected Guests for Debate Commentary

PBS NewsHour nightly news team, with host Judy Woodruff in red jacket.

Gary Abernathy (9/29 and 10/22)
The Washington Post, contributing columnist

Cynthia Tucker (9/29 and 10/22)
Syndicated columnist

Eliana Johnson (10/7 and 10/15)
Free Beacon, editor-in-chief

Patricia Lopez (10/15)
Minneapolis Star Tribune, editorial writer

In addition to its broadcast THIRTEEN, the debate program will stream at pbs.org/newshour and pbs.org; on PBS NewsHour’s  YouTubeTwitter and Facebook ; and on the THIRTEEN Explore and PBS Video apps.

How Much Value Does a Chaotic Debate Yield for Voters?


The first 2020 Presidential Debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on September 29 was a presidential debate like none in recent memory. Were viewers actually able to learn anything about the candidates and their policies, or did the chaos overwhelm substance entirely? The Washington Post’s Dan Balz and Sewell Chan of the Los Angeles Times join PBS NewsHour Anchor Judy Woodruff to discuss how to move forward.