What Trump and Biden must accomplish in their first presidential debate

All eyes are on the president Biden and former president Donald Trump this week as they prepare for their first presidential debate of 2024 on Thursday. It’s the first time in U.S. history that a former commander-in-chief and a former commander-in-chief have faced off on the stage of the debate.

The highly anticipated June 27 showdown between Biden, 81, and Trump, 78, features a new set of debate rules agreed to by both sides. Not only will the debate not have an audience, but candidates will also have their microphones cut off when they are not speaking, among other changes.

For voters, it’s a chance to see two presidents confront a divided nation in a particularly vulnerable way, without the added effects of applause or boos.

For candidates, political and debate strategists tell Yahoo News it’s an opportunity to earn the trust of the American people and win over the 10% of registered voters who are either undecided (6%) or not considering not vote at all (4%) — according to a recent Yahoo/YouGov survey – during the general elections on November 5.

Here’s a look at what each candidate needs to do on Thursday to have a successful debate.

Brett O’Donnella Republican strategist who helped former presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the 2012 GOP primary debates against President Barack Obama, says Biden and Trump need to make their strongest speeches yet about why they deserve to return to the White House.

“The stakes in this debate are extremely high,” O’Donnell told Yahoo News. “At this point in the campaign, voters have not seen either candidate frame the race and answer the question of Why they should be the next president of the United States.

Biden and Trump, the oldest candidates ever to enter a presidential race, have opposing views on crucial issues such as immigrationabortion, the war in Gaza and more.

To that end, Biden would highlight his team’s accomplishments while attempting to display a stark contrast between himself, “who is fighting for the American people,” and Trump, “who will take the stage as a convicted felon said campaign spokesman Michael Tyler. described in a memo obtained by NBC News.

Trump, on the other hand, would focus “less on policy” and more on rhetoric, according to CNN.

Still, the former president recruited a group of political experts and allies to refine his message on the economy and immigration, as well as on the January 6 attacks and his promise to pardon the rioters, according to the New York Times.

President Biden speaks at an event marking the 12th anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) at the White House in June. (Drew Angerer/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Jennifer Talberthead of the debate program at Ohio University, President Biden must demonstrate strong “mental acuity” – reminiscent of his fiery State of the Union address in March – to counter the claim of Trump that he is mentally unfit to lead.

“Viewers will have the…

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