ABC News’ Powerhouse Politics team breaks down the town hall with Joe Biden

“Trump is losing ground in this race,” says ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd.
11:37 | 10/16/20

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Transcript for ABC News’ Powerhouse Politics team breaks down the town hall with Joe Biden
President was taking voter questions tonight at a town hall in Miami Joseph Biden took questions from uncommitted voter is at a town hall in Philadelphia right here ABC. A powerhouse roundtable here to weigh in Matt let's begin with you two very different tones tonight from both candidates. President trump aggressively tackling the issues on NBC and a contentious town hall. And Joseph Biden with a calmer more measured performance and ABC Matt whose approach work you think. I Joseph Biden is by far I mean I think when we're in the midst of such chaos in the country and everything it's going on from that endemic in the economy racial injustice. A climate change all of that I think voters would want and desire somebody more calm considered clear and I think by any standard. Joseph Biden's town hall on performance at his town hall was far more on the side of calm and clear. That on the side of chaos. And more and more debt but more division and more arguments so on that standard which is where I think the country is today which is why I think Joseph Biden. Has the lead he does Biden won that standoff. The president has lost support among senior citizens a key group for him in 2016. He was in Florida tonight and the state is it true battleground this year wrong. How does he win back senior citizens and why has Biden's approach to the virus resonate. Well couple things say that I'm not sure the president can do that he's tried a number of things trying to do law and order to cultural war and in fact. Telling seniors that they are basically just pencil when you look at everything he's done cove it that is the message is sent them. And Joseph Biden is a reassuring voice for them he will be the first Democrat since Al Gore in 2002 wind senior votes and here's a thing. Trump made a huge mistake tonight but he Joseph Biden have is our moment. Big tactical mistake you don't campaigns to number one rule you regularly you gotta do you gotta hope your point does everything they did. July and got a real gift from death and Donald Trump today and two. As I said earlier chaos and confusion is on one side. Com and compassion. And clarity on the other side and that contrast because he ended the day what the lord of the good for somebody who bring the country together. Joseph Biden is scratching their emotionally trait now. President trump was invasive on the corona virus saying he didn't know when he took his last test before getting sick. Saying he did not remember being briefed by as national security advisor on the security Susan severity of the disease is still calling into question the effectiveness of face Nestle Serra. How this is approaching a virus playing across the country. Audits town and eat it he doesn't get great marks candidly and part and that is because he's inconsistent. That's a simple question did you get the tests on the day of the debater not. He kind of answered that now I would say on the substance of actually fighting the virus on. You know therapeutics on record breaking vaccine research on. In a making sure that the country has enough PPE and translators and all the things that we need to do to help people recover from this disease when they get it. His administration has done pretty well. To be better to talk about. Those things. And have that one very kind of clear simple consistent statement about how American to protect themselves. Went out in public. Joseph Biden was press tonight and his tax plan that will raise corporate taxes and taxes on the wealthy but critics say this could hurt the economy more than help the vet. What this plan help or hurt by. You know I think by and was pretty clear today I was actually glad when he reached into his jacket and pull about the noticed. To make sure they get the right numbers even saying that Wall Street agrees to his plan will add more jobs you know I agree. That we actually improve the economy by helping those in the middle so that they have the resource is to be able to push our economy rather than trickle down. As I think you get a really great job which he wasn't able to do a debate could be kept getting in erupted at talking about one how much money he's gonna unlock and making sure the wealthiest Americans. And corporations pay their fair share but also putting more money back into middle Americans and lower. Well Americans so that they have the money they need to invest in the economy and build. A build themselves back up so I think actually his plan is curry and I think he did a great job articulating that today. Using real numbers he got real clear answers on I think he did a wonderful job. Donald Trump declined to condemn the conspiracy movement Q and on tonight saying he didn't know much about it Sarah. Why this is still not disavowing this widely discredited idea. The I didn't get to see that but I. In a heat this has come up before and to me I I don't understand this one there's really this is a very easy this is a softball frankly and politics switches. There's no place for these nutty crazy ideas. In American politics. And he thinks these questions sometimes Byron. In Al east think about some individual is on CNN that it and read this stuff and they're probably get her son but they've they've. For whatever reason yet out. Yeah describe to this philosophy. See this isn't complicated it's crazy to say it. They make the point he was over thinking that's there's an argument I think you often hear mated in president trumps favor. And over thinking something but that the search of their points she's had similar issues. And disavowing our and there are groups right white supremacist groups and he becomes regulator ending things about. Why on what seems like to most reasonable people easy things to knock down what does he continue to struck. But it keeps us into a bad all with. The press. You know this turns and tell why would you ask me this question you know. What people are close to the president will say is he's offended by these questions like. Of of course I'm against white supremacy who's not against white supremacy. And so you know again you know whether you want to use the word over Sankoh are yet out but just to confrontation all. In an. He should just shut down and move on to something substantive where I think he is a better record than Joseph Biden on most issues. President trump is in trouble with female voters think currently trying to kill them now. He begged them to liken this weekend tonight dice to question when asked if he would like to see Roe vs. Wade overturned. Four years ago he said he wanted it to be overturned. Matt is this an effective appeal to women. I'm me Donald Trump's appeal to women on this now it's not I think. More most every American knows that down trump wants to get rid of Roe vs. Wade which is an incredibly unpopular position among the general public. I think what the problem women have to goes to book goes to subnet rom sentence I said earlier. It's the way he conducts himself. It's it's how he acts and I think they've seen this behavior and other people their lives especially by men. Who they feel Barbara believed and push and don't know give them a word. And so it's not about a particular issues stance that Donald temple ever be able to change a woman's mind that as opposed to I'm. It's his way he acts and the way he talks and that for Donald Trump at this point in his life is exceedingly difficult to change. Don't listen to all of you that the Torah conversation tonight is that if for president truck at this point it's all uphill his own roller skates surround I stopped. With you make the case in what he can do will do could do between now and Election Day to pull this out. I'll haul like I get the image of him going uphill and roller skates out of my hand it to answer that question. But I do want to say it's not the issue Roe vs. Wade about women his problem is when you call another candidate a woman a monster. And you start ridiculing the governor of Michigan also woman whose life was just rent it what in your thirty points dom alone and that is not gonna help you narrow that gap. Look Donald Trump after three and a half years of being the president. There's a simple question when you run for reelection. You want to play him. Are you want to trade him. And you look at everything we're going generated 181000090 million voters have already cast ballots. It's pretty clear where the country is they want to trade a so when music can he do something different at this point I could've said that their last six months yes right now he needs Biden to do some for him to change it. Donald Trump. The die is cast the architecture there the mold is here and it's being filled up. So I don't think he can do anything actually to change it he has to hope by Biden does something that would change in his favor and I don't see that happening especially after tonight. Where I think Joseph Biden did an acceptable job advancing his campaign. That same question to you what do you think what what makes you nervous said president trump might be able to do between now and Election Day to pull this out. You know I agree with Robin that I don't noted Donald Trump is finally got fundamentally got to change who he is which I think is what's required. For him to get out of this hole he gets opportunities either in debates. Where he's combative or are on stages by himself where he says things he can't take back which are ridiculous I think his key and I think this is what he's pushing is voter suppression. And that's the thing that we're fighting again T he fully intends to steal this election you know he got battles. Across states litigation that are happening. To make sure votes are counted they're trying to take away people's vote. It's I think trump is you know it is a last ditch effort he's getting out in Miami he's dancing around with no man's gone he's trying to get his folks hyped up. But I think he knows at the end of the day the only way he wins this is that he steals that which is why I think. If Amy Connie Barrett and nomination is one way the he expects to do that and of course all of that. The things that the secretaries of state who Republican who support him are doing as well. I don't think he had a chance if this is a full and fair election to win at this point. Sarah he's your party standard bearer he's got less than three weeks to do it what does he need to do. Well I think the his best path to closing the race I think is. To really focus on the number of eligible. Non college educated white pillars of which he's done. Well let critically man. There are many of them over a million of them in Michigan who did not know the 2016 election. Equal numbers in Pennsylvania more in Pennsylvania and almost a million Wisconsin. He's gonna have to. Have registered those folks by the deadline and turn them out that would be the his probably his best chance at closing the gap at this point. Matt I'll give you the last word Donald Trump shorts on fire backs against the wall bill collectors at the door what's he did. Well look the problem Byron is is that two weeks ago before the last debate if this is a marathon of presidential races are marathons he was seven miles behind the last two weeks ago before that debate. Now he's ten miles behind so he's lose these not only not gaining ground he's losing ground in this race. And so at this point the only thing he can do is hope for a mistake. Which is I think one of the fundamental things that Biden Biden battle for of fundamental mistake in this race. That puts Biden down and then knocks find about a few points and he has to change the fundamental nature of the electorate. Different than what we think it is today fundamentally change of that electorate and I would say it's not he does that nineteen days. Debt in the election ends in nineteen days. Because eighteen million people have already voted in by next week 25 million people already voted so he has less time than you think because this election is. Going to be basically decided by the Friday before the fall that would last day of voting because two thirds of people wheel of voted by that Friday. Thank you all.

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

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