Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Live-blogging the first 2020 Trump vs. Biden debate

I'll be live-blogging the debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Keep reloading this post for more real-time updates!

Any quotes I write down might not be word for word since I'll be doing this live, without any pause or rewind button, but I'll try to keep everything reasonably accurate, and I might go back and edit later.

9:07 — The candidates aren't allowed to shake hands, but Biden starts out by casually asking Trump: "How ya doin', man?"

9:08 — Chris Wallace's first question for both of them is about Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trump is blunt: "We won the election. Elections have consequences." He accuses Democrats of inconsistency because President Obama nominated Merrick Garland in an election year, 2016, without mentioning that that was in February, not September. 

9:10 — Biden connects Trump's Supreme Court choice to Trump's attempts to get rid of "the Affordable Care Act" (Obamacare). Biden says if Barrett is confirmed, "women's rights will be fundamentally changed."

9:12 — Trump, ignoring the position he took in 2016, says: "A president's elected for 4 years! I'm not elected for 3 years!"

9:13 — When Trump characterizes Biden's health-care position as "socialist," Biden reminds us that the 20 Democratic candidates he ran against in the primaries correctly said: "Biden wanted to allow people to have private insurance still." Trump claims that's "not what you said," but Biden comes back : "I am the Democratic party now!"

9:15 — When Trump keeps interrupting, Biden seems at a loss: "Donald, will you just be quiet for a minute?"

9:16 — Trump even interrupts Chris Wallace's question, and Wallace is clearly exasperated: "I'm the moderator of this debate, and I would like you to let me ask my question!"

9:18 — While Biden is answering a health-care question, Trump interrupts with jabs about how Biden is beholden to Bernie Sanders, and Biden says: "I beat Bernie Sanders! Beat him by a whole hell of a lot.… Everything [Trump] is saying so far is simply a lie.… He doesn't have a plan. And the fact is, this man doesn't know what he's talking about."

9:22 — Wallace asks Biden if he supports getting rid of the filibuster or adding more Supreme Court justices. Predictably, Biden refuses to make any news: "Whatever position I take on that, that'll become the issue.… I'm not going to answer the question."

9:24 — Onto the coronavirus. Biden quotes Trump's comments about covid-19: "It is what it is" — Biden says: "Well, it is what it is because you are who you are." Biden quotes Trump saying to Bob Woodward that he downplayed the risks so people wouldn't panic — Biden says: "You don't panic — he panicked!"

9:27 — Trump to Biden: "We made the ventilators. You wouldn't have made ventilators! … You wouldn't have been able to do what we did. You don't have it in your blood."

9:32 — After a lot of back and forth about when we're going to have a covid-19 vaccine, Biden looks at the camera and says: "Do you believe for a moment what he's telling you, in light of all the lies he's told about covid? … A lot of people died, and a lot more will die, unless he gets a lot smarter fast!" That seems to set off Trump: "Did you just use the word 'smart'?" Trump says Biden was near the bottom of his class in law school (?) and says: "Don't use the word 'smart' with me."

9:37 — Trump is asked why he's been holding big campaign rallies where most people aren't wearing masks. Trump blithely responds: "Because people want to hear what I have to say! … So far, we've had no problems.… We've had no negative effect." What about Herman Cain? It's hard to prove that any specific person died because of going to a Trump rally, but Trump's statement is hard to believe.

9:41 — Biden looks at the camera again and asks people in "Scranton" (his hometown) and other towns: "How are you doing?" Trump answers for them: "Well!"

9:42 — Biden says the Trump administration rejected a proposal to give PPE including masks to school teachers, because they said it was "not a national emergency."

9:46 — They both stoop to lobbing insults at each other: "You're the worst president America's ever had!" "In 47 months, I've done more than you did in 47 years!"

9:49 — Wallace calls out Trump for claiming the economy was "booming" under his administration before the coronavirus. Wallace points out that in the last 3 years of the Obama administration, a million and a half more jobs were added than in the first 3 years of the Trump administration. Trump ignores the facts and says about the economy under Obama: "It wasn't booming!"

9:53 — After Trump brings up Biden's son Hunter and this leads to extended, manic cross-talk, Biden tries to cut through the noise: "This is not about my family or his family — it's about your family."

9:54 — Wallace speaks up and begs the candidates: "I think the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions."

9:59 — Trump to Biden: "You can't even say the word 'law enforcement,' because if you do, you lose all your radical-left supporters."

10:02 — Wallace asks why Trump decided to "end racial sensitivity training." "I ended it because it's racist.… They were teaching people that our country is a horrible place, a racist place, and they were teaching people to hate our country." 

10:04 — Biden says Trump and his people "look down their nose at Irish Catholics like me."

10:06 — Trump says under Biden, "suburbs would be gone!" Biden's comeback: "He wouldn't know a suburb unless he took a wrong turn!"

10:07 — Biden: "I'm totally opposed to defunding … local police." Biden says Trump is the one who wants to cut federal funding for local police.

10:09 — Wallace asks Biden if he ever called the Democratic leaders of Oregon or Portland to tell them they need to stop the rioting in Portland.

10:13 — Wallace asks each candidate why he'd be a better president than the other. Trump: "There has never been an administration or president who has done more than I've done in 3 years!" He spends a lot of time talking about how many judges he's nominated, clearly trying to send a message to conservative voters that they should vote based on the Supreme Court.

10:15 — Biden says Trump's left the country "sicker, poorer, weaker and more divided." He brings up Trump's alleged comment about soldiers being "suckers and losers," and says: "My son [Beau] was in Iraq. He spent a year there. He got the Bronze Star. He is not a loser."

10:19 — Trump admits that human activity contributes to global warming, "to an extent," but seems to hedge by adding that "a lot of things do."

10:27 — My eyes are glazing over at a long discussion of the environment, which brings up a lot of technical details. Trump says: "The Green New Deal is $100 trillion." Biden says: "The Green New Deal is not my plan!" But then Biden seems to embrace it: "The Green New Deal will pay for itself."

10:37 — Wallace asks both candidates if they'll "pledge that you will not declare victory until the election is independently certified."

10:44 — It's mercifully over. When ABC News switches to pundits, George Stephanopolous says: "That was the worst presidential debate I've ever seen in my life."


Sarah S. Klammer said...

"would you shut up man" -Biden, and possibly everyone watching, to Trump at the end of the first section

tommyesq said...

Trump says Biden was near the bottom of his class in law school (?)

What is the question mark for - despite having asserted that he graduated in the top half of his law school class, Biden has since been forced to admit that he graduated 76th out of 85 from Syracuse.

Biden's statement concerning this misrepresentation? "Of his class ranking in law school, he said, “I exaggerate when I’m angry, but I’ve never gone around telling people things that aren’t true about me.”" https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1987-09-21-mn-6104-story.html

John Althouse Cohen said...

I added (?) just because I wasn't sure I got his statement right while listening live. After the debate I can check and fix that.

tommyesq said...

Fair point.

tommyesq said...

Shorter Chris Wallace just now - Mr. President, it is an open discussion, so shut the hell up!

AZ Bob said...

I haven't heard any major screw ups indicating dementia from Biden. But he's taken a lot of blows and we're only half way.

Omaha1 said...

I thought I heard Biden say we had 200 million coronavirus deaths?

AZ Bob said...

Wallace made up an issue that the right-wingers are responsible for rioting.


tommyesq said...

10:09 — Wallace asks Biden if he ever called the Democratic leaders of Oregon or Portland to tell them they need to stop the rioting in Portland.

Seems like you might want to post Biden's response. (Hint - it was effectively "NO").

John Althouse Cohen said...

True, Biden essentially said it's not his place to make that kind of phone call to a governor or mayor because he's not currently in power.

LA_Bob said...

At one point, I thought Biden was summoning some supernatural power to avoid melting down. He visibly slowed about half-way through, but managed to make it through.

Trump overplayed his hand. I thought he made the stronger case for himself but seemed intent on beating Biden into submission. It didn't work, and I hope Trump changes his approach for the next debate.

unknown said...

OK, pretty clear from most of your characterizations that you’re in the tank for Biden. “Predictably Biden refused to make news.” Do you realize you’ve accepted Biden’s ridiculous rationale for not answering that question?

Anyway, Trump exaggerated like crazy and was salesy, as expected. Trump was aggressive and combative, and his attacks on Biden’s family members were a bad look. There was a way to go after the disgraceful Hunter, the corrupt crack-smoking stripper fiend, without making Biden seem like an aggrieved father (and not a co-conspirator). Trump did not do it right.

Biden, while mostly repeating canned rhetoric, lost his cool at several points and told a few whoppers. Biden also said some strange things when flustered, like “I am the Democratic Party now.” Wallace took Biden’s side throughout and bailed him out several times while Trump was laying into him.

LA_Bob said...

"...Biden essentially said it's not his place to make that kind of phone call to a governor or mayor because he's not currently in power."

Which is actually pretty lame. He can make any phone call he wants to anyone he wants and express an opinion. If he were ever to make that phone call, it would only be to tell the official the riots are hurting the campaign.

PB said...

Presidential debate as performance art?

PB said...

Thank you for watching so I didn't have to. I watched the first 5 minutes and then turned on a baseball game. I checked in a couple of times, but it was the same chaos. The baseball game was better use of time.

Peter said...

John: What about Chris Wallace’s question on White Supremacy? “Will you condemn it”.
How hard can it have been for T to answer straight out that he condemns it.. After all, he did at his Charlottesville presser — which was once again brought up by Biden. Trump could have quashed that hoax and answered the Wallace question in one go. “Yes, I condemn White Supremacy, just as I did at Charlottesville”.

Greybeard said...

Trump is a bully.
Biden waffles.
The obvious question?
With evil abounding in the world around us, do we want a bully or Charles Atlas's "98 lb. weakling" alongside us?
I know which I'll choose.

Dagwood said...

So then 1.6% growth in 2016 - at the tail end of the slowest recovery post-WWII - with Obama telling citizens that they should just get used to the 'fact' that we wouldn't see the robust American economic swings of the past, was booming?