Latest News 20-06-2024 21:01 15 Views

RFK Jr. fails to meet requirements for first presidential debate, CNN says

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has not qualified for the first debate of the election cycle, CNN said Thursday.

In order to qualify for the CNN-hosted debate, candidates are required to receive at least 15% support in four separate national polls. Candidates must also be on the ballot in enough states to make it hypothetically possible to collect the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win the election.

Kennedy — the highest-performing 2024 candidate outside the Republican and Democratic parties — failed to meet the criteria by the Thursday morning deadline, the network said. A CNN spokesperson independently confirmed to Fox News that RFK Jr. did not qualify.

The independent candidate was only able to produce the necessary 15% support figure in three separate national polls, according to a news release by CNN. 

The network also reported that Kennedy hadn't qualified for the ballot in enough states to meet the 270 possible electoral college votes threshold.

'Presidents Biden and Trump do not want me on the debate stage and CNN illegally agreed to their demand,' Kennedy said in a statement on Thursday. 'My exclusion by Presidents Biden and Trump from the debate is undemocratic, un-American, and cowardly.'

'Americans want an independent leader who will break apart the two-party duopoly,' he added. 'They want a President who will heal the divide, restore the middle class, unwind the war machine, and end the chronic disease epidemic.'

Kennedy has sharply criticized CNN's standards for the debate, claiming the requirements for entry were arbitrarily enforced against him in order to maintain a one-on-one debate format.

The Trump campaign said it would have been fine with Kennedy on the stage.

'President Trump said repeatedly he had no problem debating RFK Jr. and he believes any candidate who qualifies for the ballot should be allowed to make their case to America's voters,' Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said. 'It's Joe Biden and the Democrats who are using financial and legal resources to prevent RFK's access to the ballot because they know RFK Jr. is a radical leftist who pulls more votes from Biden than President Trump.'

The 90-minute debate, scheduled to take place on June 27 in Atlanta, will be hosted by CNN's Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. It will be the first in-person face off between Biden and Trump since they stood alongside one another on debate stages during the 2020 cycle.

CNN said there will be two commercial breaks during the debate, and candidates will not be allowed to consult with other members of their campaign during that time.

The network also noted that candidates' podiums and positions will be determined by a coin flip, their mics will be muted outside of speaking time, and they will only be provided with a pen, a notepad and a bottle of water.

Candidates will not be allowed to bring props or prepared notes.

Fox News' Kyle Morris contributed to this report.


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