“All talk and no action.”
With those five words at the final presidential debate Thursday night, President Trump dismissed former Vice President Joe Biden and his campaign promises meant to deal with criminal justice issues, climate change, illegal immigration and the coronavirus pandemic.
Watching the Democratic presidential candidate spin out his customary vacuous generalities, one might have to agree with President Trump.
TRUMP, BIDEN CLASH OVER HUNTER BIDEN BUSINESS QUESTIONS AT FINAL PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
With less than two weeks to Election Day — and after close to 50 million Americans have already voted early — Trump and Biden squared off on stage in Nashville, Tenn., with mute buttons that prevented the unchecked interruptions that wrecked their first encounter.
Most likely those silencers were not necessary. The president had clearly learned his lesson; poor post-debate polling made it clear that browbeating his rival would not win over any votes.
This time, Trump came prepared to show the country that he could be civil, stay (mostly) on topic, and still beat Joe Biden. That he did.
President Trump did not deliver a knockout blow, but he won on points. He managed to bring up the brewing scandal over the shady foreign business dealings of Joe Biden’s son Hunter and Joe Biden’s apparent involvement in those activities.
The blockbuster revelations about the Biden scandal were first published by The New York Post, but the liberal media shockingly refused to cover it. And Twitter and Facebook sought to censor the explosive story by restricting access to it.
At the debate, Trump drew a clear distinction between his outsider status and Biden’s 47 years as a Beltway insider. More than once Trump wondered aloud why Biden had not accomplished in all that time some of the “plans” upon which he is campaigning. It’s a reasonable question.
Biden stumbled on several topics. He lied about having earlier vowed to ban fracking, denied that the separation of immigrant children from their parents began under the Obama-Biden administration (it did), and lied about calling Trump “xenophobic” for closing our doors to China top prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And Biden may have lied about his business dealings in China.
Also questionable was Biden’s claim that the average donation to his campaign is $43. There are an awful lot of millionaires and billionaires backing President Barack Obama’s former wingman; that figure seems unlikely.
Perhaps most importantly, Trump sustained no self-inflicted injuries. Given that polls are moving in his direction, and that the Hunter Biden scandal is growing, that was good enough.
Although nearly 50 million Americans have already voted, there are likely more than 100 million more ballots yet to be cast. Some analysts estimate that some 6% to 10% of voters have not made up their minds.
Consequently, the debate was pivotal for both sides. A poor performance by the president might have taken the spotlight off the late-breaking Hunter Biden scandal or the rapidly recovering economy. That did not happen.
The topics chosen by the moderator – NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker—were COVID-19, climate change, race, national security, leadership, and American families. The subjects reflected many of Biden’s campaign themes. The moderator, whose family members are long-time Democratic donors, was not partial to Donald Trump.
Welker interrupted Trump more frequently than Biden, and although she did ask the Democrat some tough questions, she also appeared to give him more response time. That was to be expected, and President Trump, happily, did not rise to the bait and argue about it.
As it turned out, possibly stung by complaints that foreign policy was not on the list of topics, Welker did ask both candidates about North Korea and also about their own “foreign entanglements.”
Welker thereby opened the door to Hunter Biden’s questionable business activities in Ukraine and China — two nations for which Joe Biden was the point person in the Obama White House.
Trump challenged Biden on his son’s efforts to cash in on his father’s position and on Joe Biden’s apparent involvement in the scheme.
Biden denied wrongdoing, saying “I have not taken a penny from any foreign source.” (He might, however, have taken money from a domestic venture that did take money from abroad.)
Biden also claimed that “Hunter Biden never made money in China,” which appears to be refuted by emails that have surfaced regarding his son’s past ventures.
In addition, Biden claimed that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is “being used as a Russian pawn,” which is the Democrat’s new talking point meant to discredit the shocking disclosures regarding Hunter Biden.
Finally, Biden dismissed the allegations of corruption against him and his son as “malarkey.” Sorry Joe, that won’t wash.
These assertions will be parsed in coming days, with the FBI now having possession of important materials and members of Congress vowing to dig into the charges of wrongdoing by Joe and Hunter Biden.
For Trump, it was important to press Biden on the topic; at least now more Americans have heard about it.
For his part, Biden stuck to familiar accusations that Trump has mismanaged the coronavirus and still has “no clear plan.” In response, Trump reassured the country that a vaccine would be announced within weeks, and made the case that America cannot remain locked down.
As Trump said, we “cannot let the cure be worse than the disease.”
Biden stuck to pounding Trump because he has little concrete to offer.
Asked how he would handle the countries interfering in our elections, the former vice president said he would make sure they “pay a price.” What price?
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Biden also claimed he would make China “play by the rules.” How? He never said.
Welker asked Biden if he thought raising the minimum wage to $15 is a good idea when many small businesses are struggling to survive the pandemic. Biden responded that he did think the wage hike was appropriate, but that the economic downturn made it essential that the government provide aid to small firms.
So Biden wants to crush mom-and-pop stores by making them pay higher wages, and then bail them out with your tax dollars. That’s about as coherent as Joe Biden’s economic plans get.
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Coming into the first debate, Republicans were confident that President Trump would clobber Biden. Trump did not.
This time, roles were reversed, with Democrats sure that Trump would prove again to be his own worst enemy. He may not have smiled as much as some of us had hoped for, but he sure beat expectations.
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