US Presidential Debate 1

US Presidential Debate 1.

Cameron Stewart:

Joe Biden did better than Donald Trump in the first presidential debate for the simple reason that he held his ground against a brawling and surly president in a clash that was ugly to watch.

Both men repeatedly spoke over each other, Trump more so, making it difficult to hear any coherent argument from either candidate about their plans for America.

The most consequential outcome of the debate was that Biden did not commit a major gaffe and in doing so, undermined Trump’s portrayal of the 77 year old as barely able to string a sentence together.

Trump needed a strong performance to shake-up this presidential race and catch Biden in the polls, but this debate did not provide that moment. …

This was not a powerful performance from Biden but he was far more disciplined than Trump who appeared more angry as the debate went on.

Greg Sheridan:

The media narrative is that Trump was ruder than Biden and therefore alienated more voters and was the loser.

I’m not so sure.

Certainly it was an unedifying process.

And lots of US TV commentators were quickly into their stride arguing that Biden should refuse to participate in the next two scheduled debates.

Which of course seems to be a contradiction and leads to the obvious question: if it was such a disaster for Trump, why wouldn’t Biden want to do it as often as possible?

It is in fact possible that Trump made some progress in this debate.

Trump looked like a bully, let’s face it, he is a bully. But Biden looked like a bit of a weakling. Biden too hurled plenty of insults, calling Trump a racist and a clown and telling him to shut up. All fair enough really in the no-holds-barred world wrestling championship style of debate this was.

Paul Kelly:

This was a spiteful, chaotic, abusive, often out-of-control brawling encounter with both candidates revealing their contempt for each other.

On display was the reckless deterioration of American political life and the collapse of respect for civic life. Donald Trump and Joe Biden could barely tolerate each other exposing the raw hostility that plagues America today. There is one certainty from this debate – the Trump and Biden partisans will claim vindication and the divisions in America will only deepen. …

No form of abuse went untouched – from racism, to pandemic deaths to family dishonor. At the end Trump declared that he “hopes” it will be a fair election but warned that it could become a “fraudulent” event. America faces a dangerous several weeks.

Troy Bramston:

Donald Trump bounced around issues like a pinball machine, insulted, interrupted, was aggressive and unfocused….

Trump had no regard for debate rules and ignored moderator Chris Wallace. He scored some hits on Joe Biden. But voters are exhausted with the Trump Show. He did not change perceptions of his two biggest negatives: the pandemic and race-related violence. He refused to condemn white supremacists.

Biden owes Trump for setting the bar low for his performance. Trump said “Sleepy Joe” needed an ear piece and took performance-enhancing drugs. After 90 minutes, Biden showed he was cognitively, intellectually and physically up to the job of being president.

Caroline Overington:

Shouting, yelling, talking over each other, baiting and sniping and calling each other names.

“Oh shut up man.”

“Keep yapping.”

“Will he just shush for a minute?”

“Why don’t you inject some bleach into your veins?”

“He’s racist.”

“He’s Putin’s puppy.”

“He’s a fool, and a clown, and a liar.”

And no, that wasn’t Donald Trump being offensive. That was all Joe Biden. Clearly, he was trying to rile, or goad Donald Trump. …

It was surely the ugliest debate yet hosted. Start to finish, it was petulant, and juvenile. And yes, Trump did at times give as good as he got.

“You were a disaster … China ate your lunch,” he said, at one point.

“Did you use the word smart? There’s nothing smart about you. Don’t you use the word smart with me.”

But the fact remains that it was Biden, not Trump, lobbing the personal insults — fool, clown, liar — which was very likely a considered move.

Jack the Insider:

This was a shout-athon….

Trump went personal. Biden babbled about a Covid plan without providing a clue what it is. And then he went personal on Trump. Then they both talked over the top of one another again.

Igor Bobic (far left):

“Let me ask my question,” [moderator Chris] Wallace said at one point, and then finally: “Mr. President, I’m the moderator of this debate, I’d like you to let me ask my question and then you can answer. … My question, sir, is what is the Trump health care plan?”

Trump fired back: “Well, first of all, I guess I’m debating you not him. But that’s OK, I’m not surprised.” …

And in one of the most notable moments of the night, Trump refused to condemn white supremacists and militia groups. Instead, he said the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist group, should “stand down and stand by.”

Funny how the left wing account totally omits Trump bringing up Antifa and BLM as the source of the violence in the very next breath. Censored. But it’s there towards the end of the video above.

Farrah Tomazin:

There’s been a lot of mixed reactions to the debate – Republicans have praised Trump’s dominant style, but others have responded angrily to his aggressiveness and expressed disappointment over moderator Chris Wallace’s performance. Some also feared for democracy more broadly. …

Trump is now invoking a well-worn theme, claiming once again without evidence that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud. He starts claiming in West Virginia people are “selling the ballots, they’re being sold, they’re being dumped in rivers”.

“This is not going to end well,” he claims.

“They found some with the name ‘Trump’ just the other day in a wastepaper basket; they’re being sent all over the place…. This is going to be fraud like you’ve seen.”

Paul Mirengoff:

Biden showed that he can hang in with Trump at his most aggressive for two hours without faltering. There was no moment in which Biden struck me as being less than fully with it.

A check of the tapes would show, I think, that Biden was almost as sharp in this debate as he was in his 2012 encounter with Paul Ryan. Biden remains able to stick to a script, to lie with a straight face, to dodge questions to which he has no good answer (e.g., about packing the Supreme Court), and to brawl with his opponent.

President Trump has all of the same attributes, except that, for better or worse, he’s largely unscripted.

Generally speaking, Trump doesn’t need a script. However, he missed out on several opportunities because he didn’t offer specifics to back up some of his potentially explosive statements. …

The same kind of thing happened on the question of Trump getting rid of federal “sensitivity training” and “critical race theory” programs. Trump called the programs in question anti-American propaganda, as indeed they are. But he failed to give concrete examples of their radical content. Thus, with the help of Chris Wallace (if there was any doubt as to whom Wallace supports, it vanished early tonight), Biden was able to make it look like Trump is against sensitivity to matters of race. …

On the personal side, both men were nasty. Biden was probably the nastier of the two. He called Trump a liar, a racist, and a clown. But Trump may have seemed nastier because he interrupted Biden so frequently. Biden was nastier, but Trump was more obnoxious. …

Most incumbent presidents lose the first debate, but go on to win the election. But the incumbents to whom this applies weren’t behind in the polls by around 6 points, as Trump is