The first 2016 Democratic primary debate is fast approaching on October 13, and CNN has now officially announced the criteria it will use to determine which candidates receive an invite to the event. Unlike the Republican side, which is having trouble fitting all the candidates on stage, the short list on the Democratic side could make for a pretty lean lineup if the rules are not generous.


Schedule for Tuesday, October 13, 2015:

9pm ET (6pm PT) – CNN Democratic debate from Las Vegas
Candidates: Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley, Webb, Chafee
Moderator: Anderson Cooper

Report from Politico:

CNN announced its debate criteria on Monday, making clear that Vice President Joe Biden will have the chance to make it onto the first debate stage on Oct. 13, should he declare.

In order to qualify for the debate stage, candidates must have achieved an average of 1 percent in three polls, recognized by CNN, released between Aug. 1 and Oct. 10. Candidates must also declare by Oct. 14, CNN said, meaning that Biden could announce his candidacy the day of the debate and still qualify.

All five declared Democratic candidates—Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee—have been invited to participate in the debate, CNN said.

The debate will be held in Las Vegas at the Wynn Hotel on Oct. 13, at 9 p.m. and will last two hours, CNN said. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will moderate, while CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash, CNN en Español Anchor Juan Carlos Lopez and CNN anchor Don Lemon will present questions. Lemon will ask questions submitted through Facebook, the debate’s co-host.

As noted, Biden could wait until the day of the debate to declare his candidacy if he wishes to be a part of the event. CNN is making the rules nice an flexible so as to invite the possibility that Biden joins the debate which would mean a ratings boost and greater interest.

The debate will be live-streamed for free on and will also be broadcast in 3D virtual reality for some reason.

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