The 2020 Matchup: First Presidential Debate


Associated Program:
John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum
David Gergen
Lynn Sweet
Joe Lockhart

On Tuesday, September 29th at 6pm ET, join David Gergen, who has advised four Presidents; Joe Lockhart, who has prepared candidates for debates; and Lynn Sweet, who has covered numerous presidential campaigns, to discuss what we can expect from President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden as they prepare to take the stage in Cleveland for the first of three debates before Election Day. 

Will the two candidates at the podium surprise the voters in any way? How do personalities and expectations shape the conversation and voter response?  Will the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, be able to control a debate about the nation’s future during a pandemic in a polarized society? At this stage of the campaign, does media coverage influence voters, or have voters already made up their minds? As the U.S. surpasses 200,000 COVID-19 deaths and a Supreme Court confirmation battle looms, our featured panelists, who have been a part of political campaigns and coverage for decades, share their insights and analysis in advance of this historic debate.

Featured speakers include:

  • David Gergen: Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School; CNN Contributor
  • Joe Lockhart: White House Press Secretary (1998 – 2000); CNN Contributor 
  • Lynn Sweet: Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago-Sun Times; IOP Resident Fellow ‘04 

RSVP to join the virtual JFK Jr. Forum conversation.