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President Joe Biden’s campaign is not yet committing to general election debates next year, the latest sign that a staple of modern White House campaigns may not be in play in 2024.
Quentin Fulks, Biden’s top deputy campaign manager, told reporters on Wednesday that the president’s re-election campaign would “look at the schedule” that the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates released last month.
“We will have those conversations,” Fulks said at a Democratic news conference at Wednesday’s Republican presidential primary debate site in Alabama. “But right now,” Fulks said, “our focus is on making sure we continue to build out a campaign and infrastructure that’s going to be able to be competitive in 2024.”
Pressed again, Fulks shifted the focus to former President Donald Trump and the GOP’s “divisive primary, where their front-runner is not attending debates,” adding that Biden’s team “is focusing on what we need to do to win an election next year.”
Trump has skipped all GOP primary debates, including Wednesday’s at the University of Alabama, citing his wide lead over his Republican rivals. But he has said a general election campaign would be different.
“We have to debate,” he told Fox News host Bret Baier in a June interview. “He and I have to definitely debate. That’s what I love. The two of us have to debate.”
The Republican primary candidates set to take the stage Wednesday were required to sign a pledge vowing to only participate in debates sanctioned by the Republican National Committee.
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