The debate, which will be held on Sept. 29 in Cleveland, will feature six 15-minute segments dedicated to the following topics: The Trump and Biden records, the Supreme Court, Covid-19, the economy, race and violence in American cities and the integrity of the election.
Fox News journalist Chris Wallace, who is moderating the event, selected those topics for the debate, the commission announced. The commission noted that the subjects may change based on developments in the news.
Hosted by Case Western Reserve University and The Cleveland Clinic, the debate will begin at 9 p.m. ET and take place for 90 commercial-free minutes. The second presidential debate will take place Oct. 15 in Miami while the third bout will come a week later on Oct. 22 in Nashville.
In the lead-up to the debate, Biden has ramped up attacks on Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has left over 200,000 dead. Meanwhile, Trump framed his presidency as the only thing standing between voters and the destruction of their neighborhoods, pointing to episodes of violence and vandalism that have taken place in conjunction with protests this summer.
Surveys show voters give Biden an edge on handling both the pandemic and race relations. The president, meanwhile, polls strongest on the economy.
The debate's Supreme Court focus comes after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week at 87 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. Trump has pledged to quickly nominate a successor, saying he will name his nominee on Saturday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he will move the confirmation process along quickly once Trump makes his selection.
Democrats, including Biden, have pushed for no successor to be confirmed ahead of the November election, and that the winner this fall should get to choose Ginsburg's replacement.