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US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 22... US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 22, 2020. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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October 22, 2020 11:01 p.m.

This debate went like how I expected the first debate to go: Biden better on the merits but both guys playing to their preferred ways of speaking to the public, their core audiences. Trump wasn’t out of control like he was in the first debate. I thought he might be just as feral; but he wasn’t. I got that wrong.

But that’s a crazy standard. In the first debate Trump showed his absolutely worst self, someone who simply has no business being President. It pushed him from clearly losing to landslide defeat territory. Trump held it together for the first twenty minutes before sliding into conspiracy theories and nonsense. But he never got near the fusillade of petulance and predation we saw three weeks ago. He was better here. But so was Biden.

Biden was sharper in this debate than three weeks ago. I’m not sure whether that’s because he was barely allowed to speak and constantly interrupted last time. But he was better.

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