Experts break down 2020's first presidential debate

ABC News contributors Rahm Emanuel, Sarah Fagen, Chris Christie and Yvette Simpson discuss President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s performance. Does it change any voters’ minds?
6:27 | 09/30/20

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Transcript for Experts break down 2020's first presidential debate
Many people coming away feeling disappointed with tonight's debate. It was a contentious battle. Frustration, interruptions and a lot of low blows. Here to break it down is our powerhouse, Chris Christy, Rahm Emmanuel. It was raw, it was contentious. Is this what was planned, and did this work ultimately for the president? It was not always planned. It was hotter than it was planned to be. I think that the advice was for the president to be aggressive, but it was hotter than it was planned to be. So, in that respect to answer that question, no. Did it help the president? Listen, I think we're going to have to see as time goes on. These people get different perspectives on things as they move a day or two away from this. I don't know what the perspective will be. As I said earlier tonight, I think the problems that the president had tonight can potentially be fixed, you know, potentially, you can turn that heat down a little bit. And Rahm, question to you, president trump of course has been attacking Joe Biden for months, but this was the first time -- You noticed. They were face-to-face actually in the same arena, because it was really so combative. How did you think that Joe Biden fared? Your question has the answer. You know, if you're effect effective as a leader, you have to have a toolbox. People are exhausted by Donald Trump and nothing tonight changed their feeling of that exhaustion. People look to Joe Biden. And it's very hard to be steady. That said, he had steady moments. And he also smiled. At no time did either trump smile, look at the camera, talk to the American people about their lives, their future. Therefore, I think trump lost this debate, because he lost be being who he is, Donald Trump. The "New York Times" reported that trump paid $750 in federal taxes in 2017 and 2016. But trump flat out denied it, saying he's paid millions in taxes, do you think Americans believed that, and how much does it matter? It's such a small portion, I don't know what you remember. I think people take away the food fight, the tenor and tone. He needed to go out and make this a choice. He had moments where he did this in the debate, but then it devolved again. It's a status quo situation, the debate, which means he didn't get ahead, which is what he needed to do. Yvette, coronavirus was a big issue, do you think Joe Biden's attacks on the president and his handling landed and were they effective? I think they did. Donald Trump has continued to try to blame this on China. He tried to say that there would have been more death if Joe Biden was president. Nobody believes that. I mean the reality is, Joe Biden has provided real solutions about things we can do now to prevent future deaths. If we just require everyone to wear a mask, guess what, we cut that in maf. Donald Trump had no rebuttal to that. What I loved that Joe Biden did is how this affects African-Americans. He did that in rebuttal that he's the best president African-Americans have ever had. He said you care so much about African-Americans, they're being hurt disproportionately by this virus and you've done nothing to remedy that. Governor Christy, he said sure, I'll do it, what do you want me to say exactly, and all he said was say stand back and stand by. Some might perceive it as a call to action. Why does he have a difficult time? Why not condemn white supremacists? He said it up top yes I will. And he said it all the way back at charlottesville, and his full statement at charlottesville, he said I denounce white supremacists and neo-nazis. The heat was so high. They were both yelling, trump was yelling, Biden was yelling, Chris Wallace was yelling trying to get in between them. I didn't hear exactly what he said. I've heard him say this before. So I don't think he has a problem saying it, and he said it up at the top, sure I will. That was a little bit of trump sarcasm, too. I've talked to him about this. He feels like he has denounced it a number of times, and when he said yes, sure I will, what exactly do you want moo to me to say, he feels frustrated, he has said a number of times that he denounces white supremacists and I think that was him saying to Wallace, tell me exactly what you want me to say to put this to rest. The fear of white supremacy, the fear of what's happening in our country as it relates to black people has fueled the largest global civil rights movement of our time, and he can't say, he knows exactly who he's talking to. And I do think that proud boys moment, which many people in my connection say, did you hear that? That stokes fear in the hearts of so many people, the idea that you're saying "Stand by"? We know that those individuals take to heart what he said, that has fueled a lot of shootings that have happened. He knows that his words matter, and that should stoke fear in the hearts of not just black Americans but all Americans. Thanks so much, the round that is it for us tonight.

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

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