This wasn’t the shout-fest of the first debate but President Trump and Democrat Joe Biden had plenty of opportunity to separate themselves in their final debate — dueling over everything from the coronavirus to Hunter Biden.
No need to use the mute button — both candidates roughly abided by new rules to stop them from interrupting — giving both candidates a chance to get their final messages to the American people.
Robbed of his ability to interrupt, Trump found himself on the defensive — especially on the topic of COVID-19.
“This is a worldwide problem,” Trump said, refusing to take responsibility. “We’re rounding the corner, it’s going away.”
“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths shouldn’t remain as president of the United States of America,” Biden said.
“Folks I will take care of this, I will end this,” he said. “We’re about to go into a dark winter and he has no clear plan.”
Trump scored when talking about reopening the country.
“He has this thing about living in a basement. People can’t do that,” Trump said of Biden. “These are businesses that are dying Joe, you just can’t do that to people.”
Biden was best when he tried to connect emotionally with voters. “You folks home who have an empty chair at the kitchen table this morning. Learning to live with it? C’mon, we’re dying with it.”
Trump managed early on to get in the allegations about Hunter Biden and his ties to the Ukraine and Russia and new emails in Hunter Biden’s laptop.
“You’re the big man, I think. Joe what’s that all about, it’s terrible,” Trump said. “I think you owe an explanation to the American people.”
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Biden was directly asked about Hunter Biden and his financial ties to Russia and the Ukraine — allegations that the former vice president flatly denied.
“My son has not made money in terms of this thing, uh, what are you talking about — China,” Biden said.
While Trump was talking, Biden often smiled and had an incredulous look on his face.
The stakes for the debate were high — especially for Trump, trailing in the polls.
Even though about a third of the votes have been cast already, there are still tens of millions of voters out there — some of whom could be swayed in the late stages of the campaign.
Underscoring the importance of the Thursday night showdown, Biden took five days off to prepare — a risky strategy that shows how confident Democrats are of winning. Trump spent the day releasing unedited footage of his “60 Minutes” interview, which showed Lesley Stahl badgering him with tough questions.
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