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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

Videos:

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Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - World

Biden sets his sights on China

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images  

The new administration's first few moves and statements on China suggest that President Biden may continue some of the Trump era's most assertive policies.

Why it matters: China's severe domestic repression, its dramatic rise as a technological superpower, and its increasingly aggressive actions around the globe mean that the world expects the American president to take action.

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden on Trump's impeachment trial: "I think it has to happen"

President Biden told CNN Monday that he believes the impeachment trial of former President Trump "has to happen," but he does not think 17 Republicans will join Democrats to vote to convict.

Why it matters: Biden's comments are most concrete he has made about his views on Trump's second impeachment.

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

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