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Presidential Debate

Who won the Trump-Biden presidential debate?

The first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is over, but who won the first presidential debate of 2020?

29 September 2020, US, Cleveland: A poster for the first presidential debate of 2020 between US President Donald Trump and Democratic contender Joe Biden, is hanged on a building at Case Western Reserve University. Photo: Amy Katz/ZUMA Wire/dpa
Amy Katz/ZUMA Wire/dpa

The first presidential debate of 2020 was a nasty affair between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden as both men clashed ahead of the November 3 election.

The meeting was held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. For 90 minutes Trump and Biden attempted to express their views on issues such as the future of the Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemic, racial protests and violence in cities and the country's economy, to name a few.

However, beyond a debate, the meeting between the two was filled with insults and interruption, with Biden calling Trump "Putin's mascot", while the president brought up the education and past of the former vice president's family.

The low-down on the final presidential debate.

Polls consider Biden as debate winner

The post-debate polls didn't take long to come out and most of the polls consider that Biden was the winner.

Trump and Biden, spent over an hour during the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio and the messy debate turned nasty quite early on, featuring shouting matches and repeated interruptions that left the moderator - Fox News’ Chris Wallace hugely frustrated.

Trump's objective was to clearly rattle Biden - and he planned to do it by constantly interrupting the former vice-president. By CBS News's count, Trump cut in on Biden a total of 73 times.

That made for a series of chaotic exchanges, which included Trump questioning Biden's intelligence and Biden calling Trump a clown.

Trump repeatedly sniped at Biden, leaving the Democrat laughing and shaking his head.

"Will you shut up, man?"

“Will you shut up, man? This is so unpresidential,” Biden said at the end of a chaotic discussion about the supreme court. “That was a really productive session. Keep yappin’, man.”

The coronavirus was always going to be an awkward area for the president - and the topic came up early in the debate. Trump had to defend a pandemic response that has resulted in more than 200,000 American deaths. He did so by saying the steps he's taken prevented more deaths and suggesting Biden would have made things worse.

Biden's reply was to talk directly at the camera, asking the viewers if they could believe Trump, with polls indicating a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of the pandemic.

Biden made a statement of the obvious, by questioning whether Trump was smart enough to handle the coronavirus. “Did you use the word smart,” Trump said offended. “Don’t ever use the word smart with me.” It was then Biden’s turn to interrupt. “You’re the worst president America’s ever had,” he said.

Trump was offered the chance to directly renounce right-wing violence - from white supremacists and militias. He said he would, but then didn't, instead telling one far-right group, the Proud Boys, to "stand back and stand by".

The Trump campaign tweeted out from the president's account as the difficult debate continued, saying that Joe Biden had almost half a century in public office to solve the problems facing the country, and those problems are still around.

"In 47 months, I've done more than you've done in 47 years," Trump told the vice-president.

Biden's response came later on the debate. "Under this president we've become weaker, sicker, poorer, more divided and more violent."

Biden had plenty to say on Trump's term

On Covid-19:

On average, roughly 750 to 1,000 Americans are dying from Covid-19 every day. When Donald Trump was presented with that number, he said, “It is what it is.” It is what it is because Donald Trump is who he is."

On job creation:

More jobs were created in the final three years of the Obama-Biden Administration than in the first three years of Donald Trump’s presidency. A million and a half more jobs.

"You heard a lot come out of President Trump’s mouth. Can you name one thing he said to actually make your life better?"

Biden attacks Trump on Covid-19 record

Biden was critical of Trump’s record on the coronavirus pandemic which has killed more than 200,000 Americans, accusing him of failing to protect Americans because he was more concerned about the economy.

He panicked or he looked at the stock market,” Biden said of Trump, who has pushed for states to reopen their economies and played down the threat of the pandemic.

“A lot of people died and a lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter, a lot quicker,” Biden said.

Trump objected to Biden using the word “smart” and defended his approach on the pandemic. “We have done a great job.”

Six in 10 say Biden won the debate

According to a CNN poll, Six in 10 debate watchers said former Vice President Joe Biden did the best job in Tuesday's debate, and just 28% say President Donald Trump did, in a of debate watchers conducted by SSRS. In interviews with the same voters conducted before the debate, 56% said they expected Biden to do the better job, while 43% expected that Trump would.

About two-thirds said Biden's answers were more truthful than Trump's (65% Biden to 29% Trump), and his attacks on the President were more frequently seen as fair. Overall, 69% called Biden's attacks on Trump fair while just 32% said Trump's attacks were fair.

Over the duration of the debate Trump had the floor for 39 minutes, while Biden spoke for 37 minutes. However, that does not mean that the White House leader has won the debate.

According to YouGov, 69% were upset by the debate, only 17% of viewers felt informed, with 83% of the opinions considering that the debate was negative and only 17% describing it as positive.


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