MPR News with Angela Davis

The stage is set for a Biden, Trump debate. What they say could have implications on an already tight race

Joe Biden
In this combination photo, President Joe Biden speaks May 2, 2024, in Wilmington, N.C., left, and Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, May 1, 2024, in Waukesha, Wis.
Alex Brandon | AP

Democrat Joe Biden, the current president, and Republican Donald Trump, the former president, meet Thursday, June 27, for the first debate either candidate has been in since 2020. 

The presumed presidential rematch has been set for months — with both candidates earning the necessary primary wins to gain their party nominations, which they’ll formally accept at conventions later this summer. 

MPR News guest host Brian Bakst talked with presidential scholars and a former presidential candidate about the work it takes to prepare for a presidential debate and how Thursday’s debate could impact both campaigns over the next few months. 


  • Tim Pawlenty is the former governor of Minnesota. He served from 2003 to 2011 and sought the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. 

  • Tammy Vigil is the senior associate dean and associate professor of media science at Boston University. Previously, she has done work for the Commission on Presidential Debates. 

  • Timothy Naftali is a presidential historian and former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. He’s a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis and the Politics Friday podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.  

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.