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Tag: presidential debates

Debate Commission Reconsidering Rules After Trump’s Appalling Behavior

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

How bad was Tuesday night's debate? So bad that the above-the-fray Commission on Presidential Debates is planning on rule changes for the next debates.

"Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the CPD said in a statement. "The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly."

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Biden Slams Trump On Health Care: ‘He Has No Plan’

Democratic nominee Joe Biden slammed Donald Trump for trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act without having any plan to replace it — a move that would cause millions of people to lose their insurance, and leave millions more with preexisting conditions unable to find coverage.

"He has no plan for health care," Biden said, as Trump repeatedly interrupted. "He sends out wishful thinking. He sends out executive orders that have no power. He hasn't lowered drug costs for anybody. he has been promising health care plan since he got elected. He has none. Like almost everything else he talks about he does not have a plan. He doesn't have a plan and the fact is this man doesn't know what he's talking about."

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Five Stunning Moments From The First Presidential Debate (Which Biden Won)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off for the first time Tuesday night in the inaugural presidential debate of the 2020 general election.

It was a catastrophe. Trump was belligerent, mendacious, and overbearing, refusing to let Biden answer questions most of the time without interruption. Biden managed to get in several good moments, but he was often bowled over by the president's bluster and was unable to make a complete argument. [Editor's note: Biden nevertheless won CNN's "instant poll" following the debate audience by overwhelming margins.]

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The Presidential Debate Is A Major (But Irrelevant) Spectacle

The first debate is typically the most dramatic occasion of every general election presidential campaign. Two (or three) rivals who have been contending with each other from a distance finally have to confront each other face to face, with the nation watching raptly and the election hanging in the balance.

It's great theater, particularly this year when Donald Trump and Joe Biden square off in what could be an epic brawl. The 90-minute forum, to be held Tuesday evening in Cleveland, will undoubtedly produce a large audience. The initial confrontation between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016 drew 84 million viewers, more than any previous debate. This one will dominate media coverage for days.

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Presidential Debate Questions I Would Ask

The political shadowboxing before presidential debates is cleverly choreographed. Take the 2000 contest between then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore. Before that year's first general election debate, the Bush team did a superb job of lowering expectations for Governor Bush by emphasizing to reporters what an experienced and superb debater Gore was. So, when Bush more or less held his own in the opening debate, the Texas governor got a lot of the "better than expected" press coverage his campaign had all the time been angling for.

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He Showed Us How To Run A Presidential Debate

What do presidential candidates George H.W. Bush, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Ross Perot, Al Gore, George W. Bush, John Kerry, Barack Obama, John McCain and Mitt Romney all have in common? On the biggest night each of their political careers, when they — live and on national television without teleprompters or prepared texts — were being scrutinized and judged by up to 80 million of their fellow citizens on their fitness to be president, all of these men agreed to accept and to trust journalist-anchor Jim Lehrer to moderate their presidential debate.

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Trump And Allies Falsely Claim Biden Won’t Debate Him

Surrogates for Donald Trump's campaign have claimed repeatedly in recent days that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is planning to pull out of debates due to media pressure and Democratic fears that the former vice president is in cognitive decline.

But there is no truth to that argument.

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The Decline And Likely Fall Of Donald Trump

A recent essay in The Wall Street Journal described Donald Trump thusly: “Rather like the crazy boy-emperors after the fall of the Roman Republic, he may have problems with impulse control — and an uncontrolled, ill-formed, perpetually fragmented mind.”

That this observation appeared under the headline “The Gathering Nuclear Storm” — and was written by a conservative journalist, Mark Helprin — should give us pause.

The rubber bands Trump’s advisers had wrapped around his brain to hold it together during the debate with Hillary Clinton apparently snapped after about the first half-hour. Freed from the restraints, Trump went on to rant against a former Miss Universe’s weight gain and a female comedian “who’s been very vicious” to him.

Centuries hence, historians will pore over the debate manuscript and attempt to answer the question, “Who was Rosie O’Donnell?” They will try to explain the civilizational import of Sean Hannity, whose name Trump evoked seven times as a kind of defender.

“But when you look at NATO — I was asked on a major show, ‘What do you think of NATO?’ And you have to understand, I’m a businessperson. I did really well. But I have common sense. And I said, ‘Well, I’ll tell you. I haven’t given lots of thought to NATO. But two things…'”

Not having given lots of thought to NATO didn’t deter the Republican nominee from talking out loud about ditching U.S. obligations under the 67-year-old North Atlantic Treaty Organization — rattling our European allies and pleasing Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Trump went on: “I said, and very strongly, NATO could be obsolete because — and I was very strong on this, and it was actually covered very accurately in The New York Times, which is unusual for The New York Times, to be honest — but I said, ‘They do not focus on terror.’ And I was very strong. And I said it numerous times.”

During a televised Republican primary debate last year, conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump, “What’s your priority among our nuclear triad?” Trump tossed one of his incoherent word salads, showing he hadn’t the foggiest idea what the triad was.

Marco Rubio rushed to the audience’s rescue: “The triad is our ability … to conduct nuclear attacks using airplanes, using missiles launched from silos or from the ground and also from our nuclear subs.”

In March, Trump suggested letting Japan and South Korea possibly develop their own nuclear weapons, setting off fears in Asia of an out-of-control regional arms race. Trump has done considerable business with South Korea’s Daewoo, it’s been reported. Daewoo — which fell into bankruptcy in 1999 amid a $43 billion accounting fraud — is also involved with nuclear energy and could make a lot of money if South Korea developed its own nuclear weapons.

Then there was Trump’s extraordinary act of inviting a foreign adversary, Putin’s Russia, to hack Clinton’s email. William Inboden, who served in the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration, characterized Trump’s comments as “tantamount to treason.”

Toward the end of the debate, Trump — looking deflated and exhausted — thought it wise to bring up the question of Clinton’s “stamina.”

Sensing things had not gone well for him, the boy-emperor lashed out the next day at his enemies — the microphone, the moderator, and the beauty queen.

“For 90 minutes, I watched (Clinton) very carefully,” Trump bellowed. “And I was also holding back. I didn’t want to do anything to embarrass her.”

You’ve got to hand him this: He didn’t embarrass her.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at

Photo: Republican U.S. Presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign event at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer