President Trump to face Joe Biden in 1st debate

The 2020 presidential candidates will come face-to-face in Ohio without handshakes or opening statements on the heels of more fallout from Trump's tax returns.
5:59 | 09/29/20

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Transcript for President Trump to face Joe Biden in 1st debate
President trump and Joe Biden preparing for the first 2020 presidential debate. Mary Bruce can there in Cleveland with much more on what we can expect. Good morning, Mary. Reporter: Good morning, robin. We have never seen a debate like this before. No handshake, no opening statements and just over a month left to go. We could see the sharpest contrast yet. This morning, the candidates just hours away from coming face-to-face for the first time in this race and already the gloves are off. Always known as a dumb guy. Look, the people know the president's a liar. I mean, they know that. It's not like it's -- it's going to come as a surprise to them. Reporter: Hanging over the debate the questions about the president's taxes. After that stunning report from "The New York Times" alleging trump paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2016. The year he won the white house. That same year in a debate with Hillary Clinton, trump took credit for avoiding taxes. The only years that anybody has ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license and they showed he didn't pay any federal income tax, so -- That makes me smart. If he paid zero, that means zero for troops. Reporter: His business record are sure to be in Biden's crosshairs but the former vice president is bracing for trump to go personal. He's going to want to make it personal and I'll talk about why I want to be president of the United States. Reporter: The official topics for tonight's debate include Biden and trump's records, the economy, the supreme court, race and unrest and the pandemic. Biden has been offer the trail preparing but trump, he's been campaigning full steam keeping up a packed schedule with nine events in just the last week. Says his job is prep enough. How many hours would you say you spent? A little time. Not a lot. More or less than 16? I'm running a country. Reporter: He is still trying to downplay expectations. He's been doing foyt are 47 years and I just started doing this stuff. Reporter: Biden heads into tonight's debate with a ten-point lead in national polls. He's also up in several key battleground states like Pennsylvania where our latest poll out this morning shows Biden up by nine points. Biden is familiar with the setting. He has 26 presidential and vice presidential debates but, George, he has never faced an opponent like Donald Trump. Okay, Mary, thanks very much. Let's bring in Chris Christie and Rahm Emanuel from our team and Chris, you wrote that the president's debate prep which you were a part of in 2016 was a disaster. How has it gone this time around? What does the president need to Well, what the president needs to do tonight is two things, the first is to lay out his vision for the next four years and what he wants to do for the American people. If he's given a second term and, secondly, he has to differentiate what his vision is from Joe Biden's vision based upon their campaign and based upon Joe Biden's record. And I think you'll see both of those things happen tonight. The president hasn't debated in four years, but I don't think he'll have any problem when he gets on the stage. You were close with Joe Biden. What's the biggest trap he faces? Joe Biden has to reassure the American people. That's a different mission than Donald Trump which has to change people's impression of both him and his presidency after 3 1/2 years and Chris has always noted that the president has to lay he still hasn't done that. So I don't hold much hope for that. One of the things as Joe Biden goes into this, he has a little tailwind where the president has a head wind. All polls are showing him up eight, nine, ten points but your recent poll here in Pennsylvania also the other day "The New York Times" had another poll, same number showing a state moving away and all are starting to see a tick up since the supreme court and I think that's noted because I think a lot of Biden Republicans are not happy with this kind of power grab. I think when the attack comes and it will become personal Joe Biden needs to deflect it with, look, I can say a lot about your family. You can say what you want about my family but that has nothing to do with the American family and we're here to talk about that. Chris Christie, "The New York Times" tax story, a big wild card coming into the debate. Likely to be the first question or one of the first and the president's had a couple of different answers. How does he handle tonight? Well, I think, you know, from reading the story that came out this morning, George, I think it's a lot of old news and I think that's the way the president will deal wit. He said two things four years ago about his taxes, one, that he would release his taxes after his audit was done. There had always been skepticism among the media and others but the times reporting confirms he is still ongoing for a decade without resolution by the irs and secondly, the president has said that he worked hard when he was in the private sector to pay as little in taxes as he could and followed the law and there's no allegations in that "The new York Times" story that he did anything to break the law. Joe Biden was part of making those tax laws over all the years he was in the congress and so, you know, I think the president should answer it that way and then move on to the other issues that I suspect will be much more of a concern to the people who will be sitting on their touches in their living rooms and listening. They want to know about their future and what tacks they will be paying whether what taxes the president may have paid over the last 20. You'll be both there as part of our coverage starting at 8:00 with analysis and the debate at 9:00 with post detate analysis at 10:30.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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