Two days after CNN and Univision announced that the Sunday, March 14 Democratic debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders would run without a live audience or a post debate "spin room"/filing area (media room/press area for interviews), Univision anchor and debate moderator Jorge Ramos has backed out over concerns about possible coronavirus exposure. Ramos has been cleared by medical professionals and has not shown symptoms, but out of "precaution" he will be replaced by Univision's Illa Calderon.
Also stemming from health concerns, the debate is being moved from Phoenix to CNN's studios in Washington, D.C. WarnerMedia and CNN made the decision as a way of reducing the number of non-essential employees travel – thus, reducing the possibility of wider exposure.
Originally scheduled to take place in Phoenix at Arizona Federal Theatre, with Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, and Ramos serving as moderators, the debate was sanctioned by The Democratic National Committee and CHC Bold – the political action committee of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made the announcement earlier this week, with the move coming at the request of both Biden and Sanders' campaigns. The lack of a live audience was already going to have an impact on the debate, as the original format included a segment where the candidates could take questions from the crowd. Sunday night's debate takes place two days before primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio.
Here's a look at MSNBC election night anchros Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow making the announcement about the change in format, along with news that post-debate live media access will also be limited: