DemDaily: The Last Debate?

June 28. 2024

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump faced off on a national stage last night in a debate that did not bode well for either candidate -- or the future of America's political landscape.

In the first of two debates, Biden and Trump clashed over abortion, immigration, the economy, taxes, Ukraine and the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. It was not the policy positions or record, however, but the performance by both candidates that generated a torrent of frenzied reaction and speculation in the media.

Last night's June 27 debate, which was hosted by CNN and drew an estimated 51.27 million viewers, is the first time the candidates have faced each other since their October 22, 2020, presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee.

The fracas was moderated by CNN network anchors Dana Bash and Jake Tapper, who managed well the new set of rules intended to streamline and control the process: One minute for rebuttals and responses, muted microphones past the allotted time, no written notes or interaction with staff, and no audience.

They failed miserably, however, in checking Trump on virtually any of his brazen lies he erroneously spewed, which -- according to CNN's own fact-checkers Trump made 30 false claims, a majority of his air time.

A subdued Biden, sick with a cold and raspy voice, appeared unable to counter the attacks -- seemingly shocked at the outlandish nature of Trump's vitriol, which in striking contrast to Biden was misinterpreted as vitality.

Among Trump's Lies
He created the strongest economy in history; his tax cuts helped the middle class while Biden is planning to quadruple people’s taxes; the US currently has its biggest budget deficit and its biggest trade deficit with China (which hit the record under Trump's administration); the US has provided more aid to Ukraine than Europe.

Trump outlandishly claimed to have done more for black people "than anyone" while Biden for years referred to Black people as “super predators"; he had done more for veterans than Biden and is the president who got the Veterans Choice program through Congress.

Some Democratic-led states allow babies to be executed after birth; every legal scholar and the public wanted Roe v. Wade overturned; because of Biden's immigration policy, thousands of terrorists, murderers and rapists are flowing over the border every day.

“On January 6, we were respected all over the world. And then he comes in and we’re now laughed at,” Trump said, while adamantly claiming he had nothing to do with the attack on the Capitol and berating Biden for the treatment of "the innocent" among the convicted and imprisoned insurrectionists. He blamed then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the outcome, accusing her of turning down the assistance of 10,000 National Guard troops that day,

Three times during the debate he refused to say he would accept the results of the coming election and he defended the January 6th insurrection.

"It was a slow start...but a strong finish...Joe Biden is someone who wanted to have a debate based on facts, based on truth, and in Donald Trump we have...someone who is going to push lies and distract from the damage he has created and continues to create in our country." - Vice President Kamala Harris on the debate

From the moment President Biden opened with a surprisingly hoarse, "Folks, how are you? Good to be here," he was beleaguered -- appearing somewhat weak and less articulate in his focus and answers.

The fierce campaigner we saw today in a North Carolina rally -- recovered with a strong voice and energetic presence -- stood in contrast to the seemingly weary Biden of last night.

His zeal Thursday night did appear to increase as the evening progressed, with some good lines to his credit:

“The only person on this stage who’s a convicted felon is the man I’m looking at right now,” Biden said.

Biden's reference to Trump having slept with a porn star was more memorable for Trump's immediate objection to that statement above others regarding national policy and positions.

He repeatedly called out Trump's lies with a dismissive grin and said at one point, “I’ve never heard so much malarkey in my whole life.”

Just recently back from France for a D-Day commemoration, Biden reminded viewers that Trump refused to visit the World War I cemetery when he was president, instead telling his then-Chief of Staff General John Kelly the dead soldiers were "a bunch of losers and suckers."

“My son was not a loser. He was not a sucker. You’re the sucker. You’re the loser,” said Biden, accusing Trump of having "the morals of an alley cat."

That will be made even more clear as, in a mere two weeks, the former president will be sentenced on 34 felony counts.

In two months Democrats will renominate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as they should. "Comeback Joe" is far from done.

“Folks, I might not walk as easily or talk as smoothly as I used to. I might not debate as well as I used to. But what I do know is how to tell the truth.Donald Trump is a genuine threat to this nation. He's a threat to our freedom, to our democracy. He's literally a threat to everything America stands for... I'll be damned if I let Donald Trump walk away from it. We can never give up. Donald Trump is motivated by revenge and retribution. You and I, we Americans are a nation of hope, optimism, and possibilities. The choice in this election is simple. Donald Trump will destroy our democracy, I will defend it. I give you my word as a Biden.” - President Joe Biden 6/28/24

The second presidential debate -- if both candidates still agree -- will be hosted by ABC News on September 10.

DemList will keep you informed.

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Kimberly Scott

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