2024 Election /

RFK Jr. Fails To Meet Qualifications For CNN Debate

CNN's qualification window closed at 12 a.m. on Thursday

RFK Jr. Fails To Meet Qualifications For CNN Debate

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. failed to meet qualifications for the upcoming presidential debate hosted by CNN.

On Thursday morning, CNN announced President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump had qualified to appear in next week's debate hosted by the outlet.

The qualification window closed at 12 a.m. on Thursday. Participating debaters were required to appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency and receive at least 15 percent in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters, per the outlet's qualification requirements. Kennedy failed to meet both requirements prior to Thursday morning.

Polls accepted by CNN's standards include itself, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Marquette University Law School, Monmouth University, NBC News, The New York Times/Siena College, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College, Quinnipiac University, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

"My exclusion by Presidents Biden and Trump from the debate is undemocratic, un-American, and cowardly," Kennedy said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "Americans want an independent leader who will break apart the two-party duopoly. They want a President who will heal the divide, restore the middle class, unwind the war machine, and end the chronic disease epidemic.”

Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt issued a statement on Kennedy's dismissal from CNN's debate on Thursday.

“President Trump said repeatedly he had no problem debating RFK Jr. and he believes any candidate who qualifies for the ballot should be allowed to make their case to America’s voters,” Leavitt said. “It’s Joe Biden and the Democrats who are using financial and legal resources to prevent RFK’s access to the ballot because they know RFK Jr. is a radical leftist who pulls more votes from Biden than President Trump."

The debate will include two commercial breaks, in which campaign staff will not be allowed to interact with their candidates during that time. Candidates will appear at a uniform podium, which will be determined by a coin flip, and microphones will be muted throughout the debate except during a respondent's speaking time. No props or pre-written notes will be allowed, though candidates may have a pen, pad of paper, and a water bottle.

Kennedy still may qualify for ABC News' Sept. 10 debate, which has the same ballot access and polling criteria, though may have a wider window of qualification.

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