Third time lucky for presidential debate - with microphones turned off

Ross Houston
October 23, 2020

During the first debate on September 29, Trump constantly interrupted Biden, who picked up the habit as well, though not quite as bad.

But how did that mute button work?

Thursday's debate was originally slated to be the third debate between the two candidates.

Trump, in particular, seemed to be on his best behaviour. A record 42 million Americans have already cast ballots ahead of the debate in Nashville, Tennessee, meaning Trump's window to influence the outcome of the race may be closing.

Barack Obama enters the field, blasts Donald Trump in first US election rally for Joe Biden

Shortly after the last debate, Trump contracted Covid-19 and spent three days in a hospital.

"I caught it, I learned a lot".

Trump said that when it comes to health care, he would like "to terminate" the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, even amid a pandemic, and come up "with a brand new handsome health care", that protects coverage for preexisting conditions. In one stunning moment during the 2016 campaign, in an effort to deflect from the release of the Access Hollywood tape in which he is heard boasting about groping women, Trump held a press conference just before a debate with Hillary Clinton during which he appeared with women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault. "It's not a guarantee", he clarified.

"We're rounding the corner", he insisted.

"Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents who has a modern history", Joe Biden shot back shortly after. "They're in trouble, we should be talking about your families but that's the last thing he [Trump] wants to talk about", Biden said.

Organisers had planned to install a plexiglass barrier between the two candidates to reduce the risk of infection, but they took it down after Trump tested negative for the virus.

But when Thursday's debate began, it was obvious that Trump had listened, however grudgingly, to advisors who warned him against a repeat of the disastrous first matchup. For this one, they arrived with masks on.

"The question is whether or not he personally benefitted financially", Wallace explained. No evidence has been verified to support the allegations, and Biden called them false and discredited.

So the debate still has the potential to shape the race, even with a relatively small pool of voters who say they are undecided.

Accusing the the president of cozying up to a "thug", Joe Biden said that Trump legitimised North Korea by meeting with Kim Jong-un.

In our previous updates, we've cited experts who said that Biden's failure at the time to match Trump's fundraising totals might not matter as long as the Democrat was able to raise enough to remain competitive.

Biden eventually sought to turn the discussion away from their personal finances.

Turning to the camera and the millions watching at home, he said, "It's not about his family and my family". It's about your family. It's about your family, and your family is hurting badly, ' Biden said, shifting the conversation back to American families struggling financially, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. He has publicly agitated for his attorney general to undertake - or at least announce - an investigation of Biden and his son Hunter before the election, a domestic reprise of the corrupt attempt to shake down Ukraine's president in 2019 that led to his impeachment.

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