Oct 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump-Biden venom on display during final debate

Mike Allen
Photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

  • A prime example: "Oh, God," Biden said during an exchange on race.

Foreshadowing the crises he'd face if elected, Biden said America is "about to go into a dark winter" because of the coronavirus:

  • "220,000 Americans dead. If you hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this: ... Anyone who's responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America."
  • Trump responded that he expects a vaccine "within a matter of weeks": "I don't think we’re going to have a dark winter, at all. ... We have to open our country."

An exchange that captures the two in a nutshell:

  • Biden: "It’s not about his family and my family. It’s about your family. And your family's hurting badly. ... [Middle-class families are] sitting at the kitchen table this morning deciding: 'Well, we can’t get new tires — they're bald — because we have to wait another month or so.'"
  • Trump: "That’s a typical political statement. Let’s get off this China thing, and then he looks [in mocking tone]: 'The family around the table,' everything. Just a typical politician when I see that. I’m not a typical politician. That’s why I got elected."

Go deeper, with our instant reaction posted last night: Finally, a real debate

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