The Note: Split-screen reveals jarring differences in tone and substance

It's possible voters got something more valuable from what replaced the debate.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

The differences were jarring. Biden embraced mask-wearing and said he would lobby local leaders to require it; Trump cast doubt on their efficacy, and said he has heard "many different stories" about whether masks work in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Trump sowed more baseless doubts about the legitimacy of the election and said positive things about an extremist conspiracy-theory group. Biden denounced "vindictiveness" and said “grudges don’t work” in politics while saying he would pursue "hope" of a country finding unity.

Trump offered rapid-fire answers to aggressive questions. Biden meandered in some answers but checked back with several questioners to say he hoped he answered them - and he kept at it after the 90 minutes ended, staying on the stage long after his town hall on ABC wrapped.

If they seemed to be campaigning in different races, it's in part because they really are. Biden and Trump are campaigning on different theories of where the country is and where it needs to go.

The collapse of the debate that was scheduled for Thursday night was mourned as a loss for democracy. It's possible that voters got something more valuable from what replaced it -- with the kinds of discussions and even revelations about the candidates that are unlikely to return much over the last 18 days.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

During the town hall Thursday night, some of the toughest questions for Biden came from concerned Democrats.

One woman expressed her anxieties about the pollution and health risks of fracking -- a concern often heard from environmentally-conscious Democratic voters. Biden's first line back was, "I want to make it clear, I do not propose banning fracking."

Biden went on to say, "I think you have to make sure that fracking is, in fact, not admitting methane or polluting the well," but he did not elaborate with any specifics on how that would be achieved.

A man asked about the possibility of adding term limits for Supreme Court justices or even more seats to achieve more "long-term balance" to the court, if Judge Amy Coney Barrett does successfully become Trump's third appointee. Many young Democrats think this president -- who, they point out did not win the popular vote -- has had an outsized say in the court and Senate Republicans have broken rules to help him secure more seats.

While Biden went further than he has before on the topic and said there were "options" available to him, he also said he was still waiting to see "how much (Republicans) rush this." Right now, they are rushing it and plan to vote on her confirmation around Halloween, just days before voting in the presidential election wraps.

Should she be confirmed at the end of the month, Biden said he would give voters an insight into his next proposed move before Election Day.

The TIP with Kendall Karson

Bolstered by a windfall of cash in recent months, Democrats are pushing deeper into red territory in the closing weeks of the election, putting Republicans on defense in states that are mainstays of support.

In South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham's Democratic rival, Jaime Harrison, raised an astronomical $57 million over three months -- a fundraising record for Senate candidates. In Arizona, Mark Kelly, a prolific fundraiser all cycle, raked in more than $38.7 million between July and September against Sen. Martha McSally. And in Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock brought in $26.8 million in the third quarter, after consistently outraising his Republican rival for the Senate, incumbent Sen. Steve Daines, in previous fundraising periods.

The hauls come as Democrats eye an expanded map to retake the majority, including in these traditionally red areas. Trump won two of the three states by double digits in 2016 -- Montana by 20 points and South Carolina by 14 points. In Arizona, a state that hasn't voted for a Democrat at the top of the ticket in nearly a quarter of a century but is a crucial battleground this year, Trump edged out Hillary Clinton by three points.

The aggressive fundraising by Democrats is also forcing Republicans to divert much-needed cash into states that should be long-shots for challengers -- painting an even darker picture for the GOP to maintain control almost two weeks out.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl and ABC News Political Director Rick Klein -- the two break down former Vice President Joe Biden's exclusive town hall with ABC, which aired opposite President Donald Trump's on NBC. ABC News Chief Business and Economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis tells us about her interview with the president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank on where the economy is headed. And ABC News' Stephanie Ebbs tells us what we need to know about the 2020 census now that the deadline has passed. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

FiveThirty Eight Politics Podcast. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is on track for confirmation to the court, as Judiciary Committee hearings wrapped up on Thursday. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Perry Bacon Jr. and Amelia Thomson DeVeaux discuss the Republican and Democratic tactics on display during the hearings and how Barrett's addition to the court will shape its decisions in the years to come. https://53eig.ht/3k40FOH

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND

  • President Donald Trump will deliver remarks on protecting America's seniors in Fort Meyers, Florida, at 1:15 p.m. Later Friday, Trump will speak at a campaign rally in Ocala, Florida, at 4 p.m. and at a campaign rally in Macon, Georgia, at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Trump will deliver remarks on supporting the American way of life in Muskegon, Michigan, at 6 p.m. Later Saturday, he will deliver remarks on supporting law enforcement in Janesville, Wisconsin, at 6 p.m. CT. On Sunday, Trump will host a rally in Carson City, Nevada, at 4 p.m. PT.
  • Vice President Mike Pence will speak at a campaign event in Selma, North Carolina, Friday at 1:30 p.m. On Saturday, Pence will speak at a campaign rally in Reading, Pennsylvania, at 12:30 p.m.
  • Jill Biden travels to central Florida Friday. She will also participate in a virtual Mobilize Main Street event Friday at 2:15 p.m.
  • Doug Emhoff will travel to Omaha, Nebraska, Friday for a ballot drop box event at 12:30 p.m. CT and attend a drive-in rally at 1:15 p.m. CT. Later Friday, he will travel to Iowa for a voter activation center event at 3:30 p.m. CT in Perry, Iowa, and an early vote event at 4:45 p.m. CT in Urbandale, Iowa. On Sunday, Emhoff will campaign in Georgia.
  • Sunday on ABC's "This Week": ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one exclusively with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Plus, the Powerhouse Roundtable discusses all the week's politics with former New Jersey Governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie, former Chicago Mayor and ABC News Contributor Rahm Emanuel, Democracy for America CEO and ABC News Contributor Yvette Simpson, and Dispatch Staff Writer and CNN Political Analyst Sarah Isgur.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back Monday for the latest.

    Top Stories

    Top Stories

    Top Stories

    Top Stories

    ABC News Live

    ABC News Live

    24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events