Trump scored some hits at presidential debate but Biden shocked the nation

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Trump scored some hits at presidential debate but Biden shocked the nation

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For weeks, rumors have circulated that the first presidential debate was scheduled many weeks earlier than usual to allow Democrats time to throw Joe Biden overboard in case he flopped. There would be time, some speculated, to convince Biden to step down and for the party to coalesce around a new candidate before the Democratic convention in August.

According to the devastated talking heads on CNN, speaking after their network hosted the debate, that’s where we are. Even those totally in Biden’s corner had to admit that the president did not appear capable of serving for four more years. They weren’t alone.

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, immediately afterwards, in a piece titled “President Biden, I’ve Seen Enough”, wrote “But I hope he reviews his debate performance Thursday evening and withdraws from the race, throwing the choice of a Democratic nominee to the convention in August.” 

BIDEN RIPPED FOR ‘OLD’ APPEARANCE, ‘WEAK’ VOICE DURING FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: ‘DEEPLY ALARMING’

The Kobeissi Letter reported on X that the odds on Donald Trump winning the November election surged by over 10% during the debate, to a new high of 63%. More incredible, before the debate, odds-makers gave Biden an 86% chance of winning the nomination; that plummeted to a 38% probability that he will not be the nominee. It’s not surprising.

Indeed, it is impossible to imagine that anyone who tuned into the first 2024 presidential debate could vote for Joe Biden to serve another term. Walking onto the stage, Biden waved, perhaps forgetting there was no live audience. The goof set the tone for the evening: blank, confused stares from the president combined with garbled and sometimes incomprehensible statements. One wag on X posted that the Biden team had brought in a translator; at times that would have been welcome. Even former President Trump at one point claimed he had no idea what Biden was talking about; he was in good company.

Considering that Joe Biden had taken an entire week to prepare for the debate, including reportedly resting up and adjusting to a later bedtime as well as, most presume, taking medication to improve his cognitive function, the evening was an astonishing disaster.

TRUMP’S CLEAR-CUT DEBATE VICTORY OVER BIDEN RAISES AWKWARD QUESTION ABOUT 2024 CAMPAIGN

Throughout the 90-minute head-to-head between the two contenders for the Oval Office, Joe Biden retreated frequently to dishonest claims about his predecessor. He mentioned more than once that Trump left behind an economy in “free fall”, with huge unemployment; in fact, the economy was recovering rapidly from the COVID shut-downs, growing at 6% in the first quarter of 2021 when Biden took office, with unemployment at 6.4%, declining swiftly.

He returned to his talking point about Trump losing more jobs than any prior president in history, even though he must know that the public does not charge his predecessor with “losing” those jobs caused by the pandemic any more than they credit him with bringing them back. Biden also blamed Trump’s tax cuts for the inflation surge that took place on his watch, which is absurd.

Worse, Biden claimed that Trump had “devastated” the middle class. Actually, real middle class incomes rose rapidly under Trump, but have declined under Biden because of inflation. 

It wasn’t just the economy, though, that Biden lied about. In a discussion about immigration, he claimed that the border patrol had endorsed him; during the course of the evening, the border patrol union went on X contradicting that claim. 

Biden also claimed that Trump wanted to cut the number of cops in the U.S. though, really, it was hard to discern what he actually meant to say. And, once again, Biden claimed he ran for president because Trump said there were “very good people on both sides” of the Charlottesville protests, a story that has, as Trump noted, been thoroughly debunked. 

LEFT WING FACT-CHECKER ADMITS TRUMP NEVER CALLED CHARLOTTESVILLE NEO-NAZIS ‘VERY FINE PEOPLE’ IN BLOW TO BIDEN

In fairness, Biden does not have a record that is easy to defend. He tried but failed to justify his catastrophic border policy by suggesting that he revoked Trump’s policies because they were inhumane.  Asked about why he was losing support from black families, Biden noted that he was proposing a $10,000 credit towards new mortgages for blacks; in fact, that suggestion covers all people and is in response to the unaffordability crisis in housing.

Against expectations, former President Trump kept himself under control, even when Biden went deep into the mud. At one point, the president referenced Trump having sex with a porn star while his wife was pregnant; for a man who claims to take the high road that was a mistake. 

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Trump went after Biden on the border, on the disgraceful withdrawal from Afghanistan and on the economy. At the same time, he missed many, many opportunities to criticize the president on excessive spending, on not having a game plan to win the war in Ukraine, for kowtowing to pro-Palestinian progressives in his party, for threatening huge tax increases, and for trying to pay off student debt after the Supreme Court has ruled such measures illegal. 

Trump obliquely hit some of those points, but more facts and figures could have strengthened his case. He also spent too much time making broad and bold claims about how well the country was doing under his leadership; he should have talked more about what he would do in the future to make people’s lives better.

Even so, Trump performed better and more energetically than Biden, and managed to score some hits. For example, he noted that more people died from the pandemic under his successor than during his own term, even though the COVID vaccine became available as Biden took office. That is true.

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Trump also repeatedly accused Biden of undermining Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid by granting benefits to the millions of migrants who have entered the country illegally. With seniors one of Biden’s few remaining support groups, it was a smart play.

Also against expectations, CNN’s moderators, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, handled the event fairly. The night was full of surprises.

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