Experts break down the biggest moments of Trump, Biden’s final presidential debate

ABC News contributors Chris Christie, Sara Fagen, Rahm Emanuel, Matt Dowd and Yvette Simpson discuss highlights of the debate, which had additional muting rules.
6:51 | 10/23/20

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Transcript for Experts break down the biggest moments of Trump, Biden’s final presidential debate
Joining us now to break down tonight's debate, our powerhouse roundtable. Matt dowd, Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago, Chris Christie, former governor of new Jersey, Yvette Simpson, CEO of the of democracy for America. Governor Christie, I'd like to start with you. It wasn't a repeat of the last debate, but president trump went after Joe Biden aggressively. You've certainly coached him before. Do you think that the change in tone helped the president tonight? And is it too late to make a difference? It absolutely helped the president tonight, the change in tone. Because it did two things. One, it lowered the heat so that people could actually listen to what the two candidates were saying. And secondly, it allowed Joe Biden room to talk about what he wanted to talk about, which I've been advocating for the president to do right from the beginning. Because Joe Biden to me made a strategic mistake tonight. He said he's going to go to zero carbon by 2025, in five years, and phase out the oil industry. I am confident that voters in the middle of Pennsylvania and in certain places of Ohio in particular are going to be hearing that loud and clear tonight, knowing that Joe Biden is going to be eliminating their jobs in five years or less, if we're going to go to zero carbon by 2025. I think this is a big, big mistake by Joe Biden tonight, and I think he's going to pay for it and could very well pay for it by losing Pennsylvania. Rahm, how would you score Joe Biden tonight on the way he handled those personal attacks by the president? I think he was most passionate when he talked to the American people about the challenges their lives have and how they provide for their families and their children's future. He clearly had it in a very personal way, understanding the pressure points. Joe Biden, in my view, did a good job, and better than a good job, for himself. He was aggressive, he didn't sit on a lead, he was concise, he had a plan, he spoke to it. Donald Trump never really effectively made this a binary choice. If you think of the debate as a whole, as a closing argument to the voters, at the end of the day, the architecture of this race is a referendum on Donald Trump, and it continues to be that, not only on the policies but the coarseness of his rhetoric that has actually ripped America apart. Joe Biden embraced that, yes, character is on the ballot. Sara, voters got to hear two candidates express full-sentence differences on policies tonight. The president has been consistently touting his economic record. Who do you think made a better case tonight for bringing the economy back? I think the president, when we're talking about the economy, is usually winning the debate. I thought he was particularly strong on what he's done to improve the lives of minorities. He talked at length about everything from historically black colleges, to his criminal justice reform, to job growth for these communities. He did a pretty good job of putting that together tonight. I think it's actually a stronger argument. He makes the mistake too many times -- he didn't do it tonight, but too many times he gets caught up in statements that are considered racially insensitive. He did not do that tonight. He focused on the policy and on economic policy he does pretty well with most voters. Yvette, your thoughts on what Sara just said? I think that he was Donald Trump. You know, you say you're the least racist president, then you say you're the least racist person in the room, with an African-American female moderator. Then he says the room is dark, and I just love everyone in the room. It's tone deaf, it's it just shows more of his embellishment, his being divorced from reality. The fact that he really doesn't understand the needs of African-Americans. I think one of the things that Joe Biden did for the first time was bringing forward the central park 5 and the way that he handled that situation, which is really, really sensitive for African-Americans. I think he also did a good job of talking about the fact that many of the reforms that Donald Trump takes credit for, including the low unemployment among African-Americans and hispanics, started under the obama/biden administration. So I think he could have said that more and more and more. This is the first time I actually got, I think, a very clear answer from him on that. Matt dowd, we have less than two weeks to go. Where does Biden need to be focusing his attention and spending his time on the trail? And what message should he especially be hammering home? Well, since we already have almost 50 million people voted and as of tomorrow 11 days away from election day, and most of all of the votes will be cast by next Friday, by a week from Friday, the majority of votes will be cast, I think Biden keeps doing what he's doing. Donald Trump was talking to fox News viewers tonight. Almost everything he said was presumed from information that people got on Fox News. Joe Biden was speaking to the broad swath of America. So if I were Joe Biden, he's got the lead, keep doing what you're doing, keep speaking to the broad American public because he's got the lead right now. Unless something drastically changes, he's going to keep that lead. Covid-19, of course, remains the number one issue in this campaign. We're certainly seeing a resurgence in many states. Chris, you seem to have had a new appreciation of the disease since you caught it. The president, perhaps, is taking that a little bit differently. Would you think that he would fare better if he showed a little more empathy? Listen, what I've learned in politics is you have to be yourself. You have to be authentic. And you have to say what you really believe and feel, and people can tell that when you do. So what I would say to the president is, say what's in your heart, tell people what you really think. Rahm, what do we read into that intense enthusiasm? Well, the fact is, going back to 2018, you had the biggest midterm election. You're going to have and all of us had predicted massive turnout in the presidential. That was true in the primaries. There is passion on both sides. But the passion is also driven not only by Democrats who are angry at Donald Trump and what he's done to the country, but independent voters, suburban voters, college-educated voters, senior voters, who were anti-hillary last time, have become anti-Trump this time. And they are there to cast that when you have energized Democrats with exhausted independents who are going to choose a safe Democrat, that is a very robust political coalition. At no time did trump engage the American people about where they were. He was giving himself credit for what he got done. That's not where the country is and that's not what they want to hear from their president. It's about them, not him. Back to you, juju.

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

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