Vice President Joe Biden will be invited to participate in the first Democratic presidential debate if he declares his presidential candidacy as late as within hours before the start of the debate, the debate’s media sponsor announced Monday.
Biden has seen his support rise in polls as he weighs a challenge to embattled Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, but has so far yet to decide on a bid. Biden allies have identified the first debate, scheduled for October 13 in Las Vegas, as the first major deadline for a 2016 decision.
“The vice president is not a candidate,” DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said on MSNBC Monday morning. “If he were [a candidate], his name has been on multiple national polls now and he’s been past that threshold.”
As the debate’ media sponsor, CNN sets the terms for the participation in the debate, in accordance with the DNC. According to the terms, released Monday, any declared candidate who meets the qualifications for the presidency and has polled above 1% in multiple polls gets an invite.
Biden would have to officially declare his candidacy, but CNN says he has until the day of the debate to make a decision.
Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb have already been invited. Anderson Cooper will moderate, while other CNN personalities will ask other questions.