Transcript for Who won the final presidential debate?
There you have it. Second and final debate of this 2020 election. Donald Trump, Joe Biden, two white men in their 70s, two very different candidates. What we heard tonight over the course of the 90 minutes, as we see Melania trump come on the stage with her mask on tonight. Two very different visions on how to handle the covid crisis, how the covid crisis was handled. For the first 40 minutes, it seemed like a normal debate, as the candidates laid out their positions on the covid crisis. Got heated about 40 minutes in when Joe Biden went on offense over Donald Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. President trump responding with a series of unverified and misleading and false charges about Joe Biden and his business dealings and the business dealings of his son. And then some harsh clashes. We didn't have the kind of interruptions we saw in the first debate. The mute did appear to work, at least for a time. But there were harsh clashes on health care, the minimum wage, children separated at the border under the trump administration and the big issue of character and race. Joe Biden talking about Donald Trump, Abraham Lincoln, one of the racist presidents of modern times. The big question, Jon Karl, in the debate hall tonight, for the president and his team, did they do enough to change the dynamic of this race? Well, look, George, this was a much better debate, and kudos to Kristen Welker, the moderator here. And certainly the trump camp, Republicans generally who have heard from over the course of the debate, were relieved that Donald Trump was much more disciplined. He wasn't doing all the interruptions. He actually had a theme, at times. The theme that Joe Biden is a politician, when Biden would come up with something, why didn't you do it when you were in power, 47 years, why didn't you do it. So, much more disciplined. But George, your question, did it do enough to change the race? I don't think so. And one factor here is that Joe Biden had, I believe, the best debate that he has had in 2020. Joe Biden went on the offense. Joe Biden had Donald Trump on the defensive repeatedly. Even when it got into hunter Biden. Joe Biden turned it around and put Donald Trump on the defensive about his taxes. I released my taxes, why haven't you released your taxes? How much did you pay in taxes? What about your bank account in China? It was a much feistier and focused Joe Biden, as well. The Biden camp prepped for several days. Perhaps it paid off. It certainly seems that way. You know, George, going into this debate, we were talking about how, in many ways, Joe Biden just needed to stay the course. This was anything but trying to run out the clock here tonight. Joe Biden was surprisingly aggressive, it was, I think I agree with Jon Karl, his strongest debate performance, much stronger than the faceoff that we saw him have during the primary. He did go on offense. He went after trump really hard on his taxes, on his lack of a health care plan, on foreign influence, on immigration and wheel separation policies. And his team tonight feels that he did a very strong job here. They say, yes, the president may have had a softer tone, that there weren't the constant interruptions that we saw at the last debate, but Biden says, that simply doesn't cut it. They say trump needed a win here, he needed a big win here and he didn't do that. That's according to the Biden team. They also feel, you know, that trump came in trying to drive specific attacks, he repeated lies and that Biden proved that he can flip the script and the president and put him on defense. David Muir, he was not sitting on a lead. No, wasn't. Right out of the gate. Right out of the gate we saw that very difference between the two of them on how they would handle the pandemic. We saw the vice president come out with the black mask on. The president did not have a mask. They differed on where we've been as a country with the pandemic, where we are and where we're going. The president talked about him having covid, he said, I'm immune, not sure how long that lasts, but I'm immune. Said a vaccine was ready, we know regulators have said emergency authorization won't come at least until Thanksgiving. From vice president Biden, we heard something very different. 220,000 Americans are dead. Any president who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain president of the united States. He used the word responsible, which is a strong word for vice president Biden to use. He said, we're about to go through a very dark winter, in stark contrast to what we heard from Donald Trump, not only on the campaign trail, he said we are rounding the corner, despite the surge, three of us have been reporting on it in this country. And it's really -- no part of this country is immune to the spike we're seeing right now. And where they really did battle is how do you move forward vice president Joe Biden made the argument that we've got to get money to small business, we've got to open carefully, that might mean social distancing in these businesses. The president continued to try to hammer him, saying, you have to open things stifling the economy. Definitely on the pandemic and linsey, one of the other things we saw, we saw the president trying to make headway with these attacks against Joe Biden, his personal corruption, he said, it seemed like Joe Biden came back and sort of embraced that debate, saying, character, yeah, character is on the ballot. Looked right at the American public at that moment and said, you know who we are, right? And now you make that decision. I thought that that was a really strong and compelling moment that Joe Biden had. I think he really had one job to do tonight, and that was do no harm and I think he accomplished Chris Christie said that Donald Trump's job was to say, what is he going to do in the next four years. Instead, he really gave what you're going to get in Joe Biden is to get elected. You're going to have a depression the likes of which nobody has ever seen. The stock market is going to crash. Fracking will go away. Small businesses will have to fire employees. Even when he was asked what he would be saying in his inauguration, after he defeated
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