And just like that it's over...
It was contentious, for sure; but here is a quick summary of the performance:
SCOTUS - Trump won by TKO
COVID - Biden won, but close.
Economy - A tie
Race - A tie (Trump facts on Biden's history versus Biden repetitive claims Trump's a racist but no gotcha)
Law And Order - Trump won (Biden unable to get past 'defund' and reform)
Track Records - Trump won (Biden unable to get past Green New Deal malarkey)
Election Integrity - A tie (but we might have given Trump the edge on Coup/recent ballots issues)
Overall, Biden did a lot better than many expected but on policies and straightforward facts, Trump won the first debate comfortably.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer made it clear what the goal was:
“Clearly this is the most chaotic presidential debate that I have ever seen. That most of you have ever seen I suspect. ... I wouldn’t be surprised by the way if this was the last presidential debate between the president of the United States and the former vice president of the United States but we will see.”
* * *
Full Debate Post-Mortem
As is usual the evening began with a few hundred protesters, unsure of exactly what they were angrily protesting outside the presidential debate to "dump Trump" and explain that "Black Lives Matter"...
Biden (or whoever was running his Twitter feed) showed some humor right before the debate...
It’s debate night, so I’ve got my earpiece and performance enhancers ready. pic.twitter.com/EhOiWdjh1b— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 29, 2020
In the 2016 debates, Mexican Peso was the markets' proxy (falling when Trump did well and rising when Hillary outperformed). It's not clear what the current market proxy will be - gold?
No handshake - as pre-agreed - at the start...
The first question was on SCOTUS.
President Trump clarified his position: “We won the election. Elections have consequences... We won the election and therefore we have the right to choose her.”
President Trump on nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court:— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) September 30, 2020
"We won the election. Elections have consequences. We have the Senate, we have the White House and we have a phenomenal nominee. ... We won the election, and therefore, we have the right to choose her." pic.twitter.com/MyGEAIxeVf
Biden's response aggressively swung to healthcare and abortion as opposed to the actual process and claimed 100 million Americans would lose healthcare because of ACB.
Biden stumbled early on with his answers and the first gaffe hit - "how many of those who have died from COVID have survived?"
Trump stomped right on him, over-ruling the moderator going directly at Biden's talking points. Biden stumbled a little but held it together: "I’m not here to call out his lies, everyone knows he’s a liar."
Trump blasted Biden for pandering to the left and Bernie. Biden responded: "I am the Democratic party right now."
President @realDonaldTrump: "Your party wants to go Socialist... and they're going to dominate you, Joe. You know that."@JoeBiden: "I am the Democratic Party right now."— The Hill (@thehill) September 30, 2020
Trump: "Not according to Harris."#Debates2020 pic.twitter.com/iSJkUo1dQx
The discussion escalated, and the SCOTUS section ended with this:
“Will you shut up, man?” Biden says, as Trump repeatedly taunts “will you pack the court? Will you pack the court?”
Then the debate moved on to COVID.
Biden began by attacking Trump for 200,000 dead and his lack of response. In a stunning moment of irony, Biden claimed Trump "should get out of your bunker, and out of the sand trap, in your golf course."
“You would have lost far more people,” Trump says, interrupting Biden.
Then the discussion shifted to shutting down the economy: “He wants to shut down this country and I want to keep it open,” Trump says.
The next topic was the economy, and its recovery.
“We built the greatest economy in history, we closed it down because of the China plague,” Trump said, adding that "Joe wants to shut down this Country. I want to keep it OPEN!"
Biden pivoted to the $750 tax issue, but focused on the fact that “you can’t fix the economy until you fix the COVID crisis."
Moderator Wallace then shifted to ask Trump if he paid $750 in Federal taxes.
Trump slammed Biden by asking what he had done for 47 years?
“You’re the worst president America’s ever had, c’mon.” - Biden to Trump, to which Trump replied: "I’ve done more in 47 months -- than you’ve done in 47 years."
MOMENT— Dan Linden (@DanLinden) September 30, 2020
Biden: “You’re the worst president America has ever had, come on.
Trump: “I’ve done more in 47 months than you’ve done in 47 years, Joe.” https://t.co/NIYsIbTxhw#Debates2020 pic.twitter.com/eyzUUaUpM1
Then the discussion jumped to Biden's tax plan but the big moment was when Trump pivoted to Hunter Biden asking about the $3.5 million from a Moscow mayor's wife. Biden denied it, Trump slammed... “He didn’t get three and a half million dollars, Joe?”
Trump to Biden:— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 30, 2020
"While we’re at it, just out of curiosity, the mayor of Moscow’s wife gave your son $3.5 millions of dollars. What did he do to deserve it?" pic.twitter.com/V4ARVLvGxl
Biden claimed that was "totally discredited," except it hasn't been. Biden: “my son did nothing wrong at Burisma.”
Wallace shutting down the Hunter line of attack isn’t going to please the Trump supporters. Also - TENSE AND UNCOMFORTABLE exchange— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) September 30, 2020
The issue of race came up next.
Wallace: “Why should voters trust you rather than your opponent to deal with the race issues facing this country over the next four years?”
Biden began by focusing on Charlottesville: “this is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racism -- to try to generate racist division.”
Trump went after Biden hard, reminding him of the busing decision, the "super predators" comments:
“He did a crime bill, 1994, where you called them super predators,” Trump says. “You have treated the Black community about as bad as anybody in this country.”
Biden stumbled through trying to say that there is systemic racism in America. Trump emphasized his law-and-order stance.
The topic shifted to Critical Race Theory, and Trump did a good job explaining his position: “They were teaching people to hate our country, and I’m not going to do that, I’m not going to allow that to happen,”
“He’s the racist,” Biden says of Trump.
Then the debate transitioned to Law & Order.
Trump says “Democratic cities” are where the problems have been occurring.
Biden: “I’m in favor of law ... Law and order with justice where people are treated fairly.”
“I’m totally opposed to defunding the police budget,” Biden says - well that's not exactly true is it...
Joe Biden told a far-left activist he will “absolutely” cut funding for police departments.— Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) September 30, 2020
Biden cut police funding when he was vice president and he will do it again. #Debates2020 pic.twitter.com/PKXvz3zobe
Wallace asks Trump: Are you willing to condemn white supremacists, militia groups?
“Sure, I’m prepared to do that,” Trump says of condemning White supremacists. “Almost everything I see is from the left wing not the right wing.”
“Proud boys -- stand back and stand by -- but I’ll tell you what somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left.”
Biden then claimed that "Antifa is an idea, not an organization."
Trump: Name one police group that supports you.— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) September 30, 2020
Biden: We don't have time.
Trump: We have plenty of time. Name one.
Guess who interrupted that exchange to save Biden? Chris Wallace.
“When a bat hits you over the head, that’s not an idea,” Trump says of antifa.
The topic of the candidates' track records came up next.
“There has never been an administration that has done what I’ve done,” Trump says, “and that’s with the impeachment hoax.”
Biden: “Under this president we’ve become weaker, sicker, poorer, more divided and more violent. When I was vice president we inherited a recession, we fixed it.”
Trump and Biden got heated as Biden attempted to bring up Beau Biden's heroism, but Trump pivoted to Hunter and left Biden stumbling.
Climate Change then popped up (presumably on track records)
“We have to do better management of our forests,” Trump says. “Every year, I get the call, ‘California’s burning. California’s burning.’”
In a rather shocking admission, Biden said?: “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal.” Biden then says after asserting: “The Green New Deal will pay for itself as we move forward.”
BIDEN’S WEBSITE SAYS HE SUPPORTS THE GREEN NEW DEAL pic.twitter.com/bzK0fn3ZCz— The_Real_Fly (@The_Real_Fly) September 30, 2020
Does Biden know that Kamala Harris was a cosponsor of the Green New Deal?
And the last topic of the debate was Election Integrity...
“This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen,” Trump says of mail-in ballots.
Biden: “If I win, that will be accepted. If I lose that will be accepted.”
Trump also bought up the Obama/Biden coup: "There was no transition. They came after me trying to do a coup."
* * *
It's over. Now the pundits weighing in.
"That was a shitshow" pic.twitter.com/noTdq5HPPj— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) September 30, 2020
Finally, we can't leave the post-mortem without commenting on Wallace's performance. While Trump did try his usual bullying, Wallace repeatedly steeped on Trump's responses to Biden
Chris Wallace is shamelessly biased. It’s a beautiful demonstration of fake news in action. I’m actually glad it’s happening, because you can see it for yourself.— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 30, 2020
Which gave us an idea...
Next debate (assuming there is one) each candidate should be in a booth where they can hear, but mics will be off until their turn to speak— Guy Adami (@GuyAdami) September 30, 2020
* * *
Time for a beer... or five!