CNN says it will allow Vice President Joe Biden to participate in the first Democratic presidential primary debate even if he decides on that day to be a candidate.

The network released its criteria for the Oct. 13 debate yesterday. Since Biden has achieved an average of at least 1 percent support in three polls -- even though he isn't a declared candidate -- CNN said he needs only to file the necessary paperwork or say he will that day to be in the debate.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Lincoln Chafee, Martin O'Malley and Jim Webb have already been invited.

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Anderson Cooper will moderate the Las Vegas debate. Dana Bash, Don Lemon and CNN en Espanol anchor Juan Carlos Lopez also will question the candidates.

Biden aides have cited the CNN debate as one of the major factors in the vice president's timing in making a decision. They have described it as an important opportunity, if he runs, to establish him as an alternative to Clinton. -- AP