The stage is set for Thursday night’s Presidential Debate.

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump arrived Thursday afternoon in Atlanta ahead of their faceoff.

A coin flip decided Biden will stand behind the podium on the right side of the stage and Trump will stand behind the left side podium.

Trump will get the last word. There will be no studio audience; some experts say this will hurt Trump, others say it may help.

“If I’m an adviser, you have to be potentially concerned about the bombastic nature of the former president,” Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton said on CNN. “So absent of an audience, my presumption would be he’ll be a little more toned down. He doesn’t have a crowd to react to some of the things that he may say.”

The microphones will be muted and only turned on for the candidate whose turn it is to speak.

“If you look back at the first debate in 2020, it’s clear that it has to be that way,” said former Hillary Clinton spokesperson Phillipe Reines on CNN. “Otherwise they’re just gonna talk over each other.”

7 News pollster Spencer Kimball said with months before the next debate, this could be a gamechanger with lasting implications.

“It’s kind of like game one of the playoff series,” Kimball said. “Everybody’s watching. If you lose game one it doesn’t mean you’re going to lose the series but it’s better to win game one.”

Trump’s team hopes he will focus on issues like inflation, immigration, and crime.

Advisors to President Biden are more interested in discussions about foreign policy and January 6th.

“He’s going to talk about the work that he wants to continue to do, what he wants to do to protect Americans’ fundamental rights and freedoms and fundamentally protect our democracy,” said Michael Tyler, communications director for the Biden 2024 campaign. “And he’s going to contrast that against his opponent in Donald Trump.”

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden told viewers in Virginia what they should look for.

“I want you tonight when you see them both debating, I want you to hear Joe’s words, but most of all, I want you to listen to his heart, because what you’re going to hear is how much Joe cares about Americans,” she said.

With two candidates already so well known Kimball believes the debate will be over something more simple.

“I see Biden as trying to show himself as being capable of four more years and why he should be rehired,” he said. “And Trump will try to make this a referendum on the Biden administration of why they should go back to a Trump administration from 2016.”

Thursday’s debate is being hosted by CNN. It begins at 9 p.m. and will be simulcast on 7 News.

“When you put them both on a stage and even though some people don’t like choice, you’re going to have to make a judgement, ‘Which of these two guys is a more plausible commander-in-chief for a four-year period?'” said Scott Jennings, former special assistant to President George W. Bush.

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