The Final Countdown

Red avoided the actual debate last night as nothing good was likely to come from that. Red just bought a new big screen and did not want to enrage the household by taking a 9-iron to the on screen image of the Reality TV Show Joke of a President who cannot but lie when he speaks. Instead, Red waiting this morning for the punditry to provide its two-cents. Here is a sampling.

For all the muted microphone hype and anticipation, in the end, the two septuagenarians and tonight’s tepid event probably didn’t change a single voters’ mind in a nation where more 40 million have already cast their ballots.

Dominic Patten and Ted Johnson at Deadline

Trump used every opportunity possible — his “super-spreader” rallies, Fox News, social media — to discredit and debase his “extraordinarily unfair,” “no good” and “radical left Democrat” opponent. And he wasn’t referring to Biden. The target of his attacks, moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News, may as well have been wielding Wonder Woman’s protective shield when she finally faced off with her tormentor. The seasoned Washington reporter appeared unscathed by his attacks. A picture of composure and professionalism, she clearly had no intention of being anyone’s scapegoat and Trump got the message.

Lorraine Ali at LA Times.

During the debate Trump did not lay out any kind of real plan to mitigate the worst public health crisis in the United States in a century. If he had done so, he might have won over some undecided voters, but he seems incapable of doing so.

Peter Bergen CNN

Biden’s team could take heart tonight because Trump eventually slipped backward into his more pugilistic, bullying mode that is a turn-off for most of the country. His attacks on the finances of the Biden family were particularly offensive; notably, most mainstream media outlets don’t think the story is worthy of coverage. It was also true, as CNN’s key fact checker Daniel Dale argued, that Trump may have been better behaved but he lied a lot more. That the CNN instant poll found Biden won by a 53-39% margin seemed right on the mark.

David Gergen CNN

As for the actual debate, the candidates largely drew even on style, but that usually signals a win for the guy leading in the polls. Trump was in an impossible situation — go full-on aggressive, and you risk a replay of the first debate. Sit back and behave, and you miss the chance to provoke Biden into a campaign-altering gaffe. Trump finally acted like an adult, but in doing so, failed to change the race in any way.

Christian Schneider USA Today

If one single thing shone through in Thursday’s debate, it was that Donald Trump has absolutely nothing to say. He has no agenda. He has no plan. He has no ideals or hopes or purpose. All he has is the raw pursuit of power – for his own benefit, no one else’s.

Trump failed to put forward even one specific policy he will push in his second term. He offered some vague hand-waving – he (or the US supreme court) will get rid of Obamacare and he’ll replace it with something better, no you haven’t seen his plan, even though he’s had four years to create it, but he’s working on it, it’s almost done, he swears – but gave Americans no vision for a second-term Trump presidency.

Jill Filipovic The Guardian

Biden holds the lead. Trump shouting down the questions was not what he needed to score an upset and make up lost ground in the final debate. Dredging up Rudy Giuliani’s escapades trying to dig dirt on Biden’s family isn’t selling with the public. Trump failed to slow down Biden just days before the election. The president needed a big win, but Biden maintained his ground with that one statement, looking straight into the camera: “You know who he is.”

Art Cullen The Guardian

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