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Biden and Trump Prepare for First Crucial US Presidential Debate of 2024

With opinion polls indicating a fiercely competitive race for the November 5 US elections, the first presidential debate between incumbent President Joe Biden of the Democratic Party and his Republican challenger, former President Donald Trump, could be pivotal in swaying the electorate.

Both leaders, Biden at 81 and Trump at 78, have distinct objectives for the debate. Biden aims to reassure the public of his capability to lead the nation through its current challenges despite his advanced age. Meanwhile, Trump seeks to overshadow his criminal conviction and present a solid vision for the nation’s future, particularly its economic recovery.

The debate’s unique circumstances contribute to its significance. Both Biden and Trump arrived in the host city on Thursday afternoon, drawing heightened attention. Speaking to PTI, Nadia Bilbassy-Charters, Bureau Chief at the Al Arabiya News Channel, emphasized that this debate would be “extraordinary” and markedly different from previous ones. “The focus will be entirely on the character of the two candidates,” she remarked, highlighting the lack of a live audience and the use of microphones to curb interruptions.

“This debate is extraordinary in every sense,” Bilbassy-Charters noted. “We have two candidates that 70 percent of Americans don’t want. This scenario replicates 2020, making it an extraordinary moment for America.” She underscored the division within a nation of 350 million people, where the choice has come down to two polarizing figures with considerable attention on their character rather than specific issues as in past debates.

International interest in the debate is immense. “The whole world is watching,” Bilbassy-Charters said. Expectations for Biden are low, with observers questioning his ability to maintain focus for the full 90 minutes and avoid gaffes. On the other hand, Trump must temper his aggressive demeanor from previous debates.

Richard Latendresse, the White House correspondent for TVA-Canada, also stressed the debate’s importance. He noted a campaign “stagnation,” with Trump managing to survive numerous controversies but unable to significantly undermine Biden.

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. “This moment is critical for both sides, hoping that the debate will turn things in their favor,” Latendresse articulated.

Lakeyta Bonnette-Bailey, an Africana Studies professor at Georgia State University, expects the public to be keenly interested in the candidates’ conduct and the policy issues they present. “I anticipate the candidates will discuss policies relevant to their base,” she added, signaling a focus on core party platforms.

Cristina Olea, TVE’s chief correspondent in Washington DC, described the debate as crucial due to the country’s deep divisions and the stark contrasts between the candidates. “The race is incredibly close,” Olea stated. Biden, she observed, is under pressure to demonstrate his vigor, while Trump must prove he can be less confrontational.

Ashwin Ramaswami, running for the State Senate in Georgia’s 48th District, emphasized the debate’s role in showcasing the candidates’ true beliefs. “It’s a chance for President Biden to highlight why Democratic policies are the right choice for America’s future,” Ramaswami noted, stressing the need for leadership that can address issues like affordable housing, healthcare access, and technological advancement.

Ajay Jain Bhaturia, a significant fundraiser for the Biden campaign, dramatized the debate as a contest between progress and regression. Highlighting Trump’s controversial tenure and the stability achieved under Biden, Bhaturia argued that Biden represents a future-oriented vision. “Under Biden, we’ve seen the lowest unemployment rates and the largest infrastructure investments since Roosevelt,” he said, positioning the debate as a reflection of America’s direction.

Subhash Razdan, an influential Indian American community leader, provided a stark analysis of voter sentiment. “Americans are unhappy with both candidates,” Razdan remarked. He pointed out Biden’s age and Trump’s credibility issues as major concerns. “It all depends on party lines,” he opined, suggesting that Trump’s focus on Biden’s age and immigration issues might give him an edge, whereas Biden will likely target Trump’s credibility.

Compounding the debate’s tension, the White House Correspondents Association criticized CNN for limiting reporter access to the debate venue, sparking additional controversy.

With the debate set to be a high-stakes event, both Biden and Trump are poised to make their case to the American people, potentially shifting the dynamics of the 2024 election race.