Jul 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

First presidential debate moved from Notre Dame to Cleveland

The stage at the ninth Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas. Photo: Bridget Bennett/AFP via Getty Images

The first presidential debate on Sept. 29 will be moved from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana to a Cleveland site co-hosted by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic due to coronavirus concerns, organizers announced Monday.

Why it matters: This is another reminder that the coronavirus has changed the presidential election as we know it.

  • The debate format is still up in the air, but it could mirror the final Democratic primary debate between Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, which had no live studio audience.

What they're saying: Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins said in a statement that the university made "this difficult decision because the necessary health precautions would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus."

  • Jenkins explained that "the inevitable reduction in student attendance in the debate hall, volunteer opportunities and ancillary educational events undermined the primary benefit of hosting — to provide our students with a meaningful opportunity to engage in the American political process."
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