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Presidential debate moved from Michigan to Florida

The second presidential debate will be held Oct. 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.
The second presidential debate will be held Oct. 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.
(Associated Press)

The nonpartisan commission that sponsors the formal election year presidential debates announced Tuesday that an October debate that had been set for Michigan will now take place in Florida.

The change comes after the University of Michigan determined that it was no longer “feasible” to host the Oct. 15 debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates said.

The debate will instead be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami.

In a letter to the debate commission, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel suggested the decision was influenced by the work needed to prepare the Ann Arbor campus for the fall semester during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Given the scale and complexity of the work we are undertaking to help assure a safe and healthy fall for our students, faculty and staff and limited visitors — and in consideration of the public health guidelines in our state as well as advice from our own experts — we feel it is not feasible for us to safely host the presidential debate as planned,” Schlissel wrote.

Two other presidential debates and one vice presidential debate will proceed as originally planned.

The other presidential debates are scheduled for Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville.

The vice presidential debate is set for Oct. 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

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There are contingencies in place to accommodate pandemic developments at all the debate sites, according to a person familiar with the matter who insisted on anonymity to discuss planning. The person noted that large performing arts venues that would otherwise be booked in the fall are available because the pandemic has led to the cancellation of so many events.

Joe Biden’s campaign commits to participating in three debates and says the Trump camp wants to “create a distracting ‘debate about debates.’”


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