Trump shines, Biden stumbles despite bias of second presidential debate
October 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — For more than a few Trump voters (myself included), last month’s debacle of a first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden (with assistance from Fox News “moderator” Chris Wallace) left us relieved that the second planned debate didn’t happen.
While Trump could have handled a few questions better, and will never be the guy to expect, shall we say, an abundance of rhetorical precision out of, on the whole his performance was confident, collected, and vastly improved over his previous debate.
By contrast, the best that can be said of Biden’s performance is that he managed another extended public appearance without feeding suspicions that he may be in cognitive decline. Beyond that, he was angry and evasive throughout the night, frequently falling back on non-responsive cliches. He lied just as much as he did last time, but the difference is that this time, it looked like he was lying even to those who weren’t already familiar with the subject matter.
It surely helped somewhat that Kristen Welker of NBC News was nowhere near as hostile as Wallace. But that’s not to say the event was without bias, which primarily took the form of what subjects weren’t discussed — nothing about abortion, or Biden’s recent statements on court-packing and transgenderism. No pressing Biden on his former running mate endorsing Biden and violent protesters in the same message.
And the questions that were asked were typically slanted to the left. On foreign policy, for instance, one might think it would be of some interest to the American people to ask Biden about the Trump administration brokering Middle Eastern peace deals unseen during the Obama-Biden administration’s eight years.
But the closest Welker got to foreign policy was raising the specter of “foreign election interference” — meaning, in a nutshell, foreign actors buying advertising or sending junk mail to Americans that represents a drop in the bucket of American electioneering, which means very little to the lives of most Americans but means everything to lefty “journalists” desperate for a boogeyman to explain away Trump’s 2016 win.
So naturally, it was up to Trump himself to raise the issue of the Biden family using the vice presidency to cash in around the world:
All of the emails, the emails, the horrible emails of the kind of money that you were raking in, you and your family. And Joe, you were vice-president when some of this was happening, and it should have never happened. And I think you owe an explanation to the American people. Why is it, somebody just had a news conference a little while ago who was essentially supposed to work with you and your family, but what he said was damning. And regardless of me, I think you have to clean it up and talk to the American people. Maybe you can do it right now [...]
I don’t make money from China. You do. I don’t make money from Ukraine. You do. I don’t make money from Russia. You made $3.5 million, Joe, and your son gave you, they even have a statement that we have to give 10% to the big man. You’re the big man, I think. I don’t know, maybe you’re not, but you’re the big man, I think. Your son said we have to give 10% to the big [man]. Joe, what’s that all about? It’s terrible.
Biden’s response? Declaring that he himself has “not taken a penny from any foreign source ever” and that no investigator ever “said anything [Hunter] did was wrong in Ukraine” (claims that are highly unlikely to withstand scrutiny), and … trying to change the subject to Trump’s tax returns, which turned out to be the definition of “nothingburger.”
Most significant, however, is the fact that Trump supporters aren’t the only ones who recognized the above. A focus group organized by pollster Frank Luntz (a Republican but most definitely not a Trump fan) found that Trump beat Biden among undecided voters, who had the following to say about the candidates:
My focus group’s words to describe Trump tonight:— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 23, 2020
• “Con artist”
• “Surprisingly presidential”
Words to describe Biden tonight:
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Now, all that remains to be seen is how many minds last night changed, and whether the Trump campaign can effectively reinforce these takeaways among the people they need to reach less than two weeks from now.