Final presidential debate shows starkly different views of COVID-19

Despite some states facing rising infections, President Donald Trump emphasized that the U.S. should remain open while Democratic nominee Joe Biden said the pandemic has been mishandled.
5:31 | 10/24/20

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Transcript for Final presidential debate shows starkly different views of COVID-19
to have you with us here as we near the end of another week together. Tonight, the fallout, the reaction and now the all-out sprint to the finish. More than 52 million Americans have already voted. In the debate, coronavirus in this country, the economy, how will we pull out of this? It is the first question, and it is now the backdrop of these final 11 days. President trump saying we're rounding the corner on the virus, that we're learning to live with it. Joe Biden arguing that is simply not the reality, that we face a dark winter ahead, and we must open our country, giving families is and businesses the support we need while keeping Americans safe. Joe Biden saying he'd reach out to every governor and mayor if elected while the president pushes ahead on his handling of the virus. He's in Florida tonight. His campaign seizing on what Joe Biden said last night about oil. Biden talking to reporters immediately after the debate explaining what he meant as they fight for the few undecides left in this country. Jonathan Karl leading us off. Reporter: In their second and final faceoff, trump and Biden presented starkly different views of a pandemic that has killed more than 223,000 Americans and upended the campaign. It will go away, and as I say, we're rounding the turn. We're rounding the corner. It's going away. 220,000 Americans dead. If you hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this -- anyone who's responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America. Reporter: For a moment, ever so brief, the president took responsibility, and then he took it back. Excuse me, I take full responsibility. It's not my fault that it came here. It's China's fault. Reporter: New infections are spiking throughout much of the country. Just this past week, 14 states hit a record number of people in the hospital with covid-19. We're about to go into a dark winter, a dark winter. And he has no clear plan. I don't think we're going to have a dark winter at all. We're opening up our country. We have no choice. We can't lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does. He says that we're learning to live with it. People are learning to die with it. Reporter: Today, Biden said not only has the president mishandled the pandemic, but he's failed to tell Americans the truth. Last night we saw the president of the United States lie to the American people and repeatedly lie about the state of this pandemic. We saw him diminish the pain felt by so many Americans. Reporter: The crisis has put an even brighter spotlight on health care. For three years, the president has promised to come up with a plan. Last night he promised again. What I would like to do is a much better health care. Much better. We'll always protect people with pre-existing. So I'd like to terminate Obamacare, come up with a brand-new beautiful health care. There is no -- he's never come up with a plan. I guess we're going to get the pre-existing condition plan the same time we get the infrastructure plan that we waited for since '17, '18, '19 and '20. Reporter: Moderator Kristen Welker asked the president to respond to allegations he is fueling racial divisions. I am the least racist person in this room. This guy is dog whistle about as big as a fog horn. Nobody has done more for the black community than Donald Trump. And if you look, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln -- possible exception, but the exception of Abraham Lincoln -- nobody has done what I've done. Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history. Reporter: Today, president trump is seizing on a moment near the very end of the debate when Biden said he wants to see the end, eventually, of the oil industry. Would you close down the oil industry? I have a transition from the oil industry. Yes. That's a big statement. That is a big statement. I would stop -- Why would you do that? Because the oil industry pollutes significantly. Oh, I see. Here's the deal. That's a big statement. If you let me finish the statement. Because it has to be replaced by renewable energy over time. He's going to destroy the oil industry. Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma? Reporter: In a sign the Biden campaign was concerned about that, Biden talked to reporters late last night after the debate to clarify. We're not getting rid of fossil fuels. We're getting rid of the subsidies for fossil fuels, but we're not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time. It will not be gone until probably 2050. Reporter: With the debates behind him, the president is hoping his rallies -- tonight, he is in Florida -- will be enough to turn his campaign around. Reporter: 11 days from now, we're going to win the state of Florida, we're going to win four more years in the white house. Let's get right to Jon Karl with us live from Washington. Jon, the trump campaign out with a new ad featuring Joe Biden's comments on oil last night. It's going to run in the battleground of Pennsylvania we know so far. This as Joe Biden now doubles down on his core issue, the pandemic. The former vice president laying out his plan to bat it will virus, how he plans to reach out, if elected. Reporter: David, he outlined a rather detailed plan. He said he'd reach out during the transition by reaching out to every governor of every state, Democrat and Republican to assess which each needed. He outlined a testing plan aimed at testing as many people in a single day as are now test in the a week. David? Quite a night last nigh Jon, watching it here with us. No doubt.

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

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