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Kate and I just recorded a pod that will be out in a bit. We shared our thoughts on how it went there if you’re interested. But it didn’t go great. Which is kind of an understatement. Biden came in hoarse with a cold. That made him sound feeble and frail. And he was unfocused. He didn’t respond strongly or even coherently to many open opportunities. He got substantially better in the second half of the debate when the topics moved to foreign policy and January 6th. But the conventional wisdom and impression had kind of taken hold by then. Trump was Trump. Abrasive, nasty, belligerent — lying and making things up constantly. But he seemed focused and vital. The contrast was not good for Biden at all. I do think there were some lies from Trump that will have legs. He again refused to agree to accept the results of the election. He again complained about non-existent fraud in 2020. He praised the shock troops of January 6th. But this debate is going to spur a huge freak out among Democrats and several days of terrible commentary. And that’s just when the shape of the race was moving, at least to a significant degree, in Biden’s direction. Let’s remember that no tent pole event in this cycle has had a big impact on the race. We don’t know what the impact will be. But at best this was a missed opportunity.

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