Did Biden or Trump perform better in the final Presidential debate?


Fact Box

  • The final Presidential debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Biden was held on Thursday October 22. NBC News anchor, Kristen Welker moderated six-segmented debate. Topics included: coronavirus, families, race, climate change, security, and leadership. 
  • The Commission on Presidential Debates gave each speaker two minutes of uninterrupted time before each 15-minute discussion period. After the two minutes were up, the mics were muted to enforce the debate rules
  • Overall, both candidates were more respectful and well-mannered in this debate. Coronavirus dominated the conversation while financial corruption “overshadowed” other important issues, and the candidates compared their “starkly” different health care plans.
  • About 63 million voters watched the debate compared to the 73 million from the first debate on September 29.

Bill (Trump)

Even focus groups can attest: President Trump defeated Joe Biden in last night's final presidential debate and trumped in overall optics. Trump provided voters with a clear contrast to Biden last night in several ways. The president's tone and demeanor were noticeably calmer and more presidential. The president was 'more message-focused' and less combative throughout the event.  

Trump's focus enabled him to score major points with swing-state voters by simultaneously highlighting Biden's radical agenda and pointing out where Biden has flip-flopped on key issues. Perhaps the takeaway headline from the debate was Biden's admission that he 'would transition from the oil industry.' Two key swing states (Ohio and Pennsylvania) are significant oil and gas producers from fracking operations. A third key swing state (Michigan) is an automobile manufacturing hub which depends heavily on oil and gas production. Biden's plans to move away from fossil fuels and their jobs will not help him with voters in these states.

Trump contrasted his achievements in office with Biden's uninspiring record as a lifetime 'career politician.' 'I'm not a typical politician. That's why I got elected,' the president emphasized at one point. Trump chided Biden on his healthcare and criminal justice reform plans by confronting Biden for not '[getting] it done' when he had 'eight years to get it done.' By casting Biden as the 'ultimate insider' and 'personification of do-nothing DC politics,' Trump was able to contrast his own growth agenda with Biden's plans to raise taxes and reinforce America's energy independence achieved under Trump's administration. By staying calm and focused, Trump was able to showcase Biden's vulnerabilities to voters.

Andrew (Biden)

By speaking the truth and sticking to the issues, Joe Biden clearly outperformed President Trump, who presented a slew of inaccuracies ranging from falsehoods like House Speaker Pelosi 'dancing in the streets of Chinatown' to outright lies about Biden receiving 3.5 million dollars from Russia. President Trump claimed, 'We're rounding the corner,' on the coronavirus—a claim that is the opposite of reality. President Trump also falsely claimed that a vaccine would be ready in the near future. These lies are particularly damaging to the president, who desperately needs to win over older voters who are worried about their health and not convinced of the president's handling of the pandemic. President Trump distorted the truth on virtually every topic discussed, as if viewers don't have easy access to fact-checking websites.

While President Trump focused entirely on attacking his opponent, Joe Biden used the debate to speak directly to voters. Just as in the first debate, Former Vice President Biden used the opportunity to make a genuine connection with voters by looking directly at the camera and saying, 'It's not about his family or my family. It's about your family.' This is a classic example of Biden rising above the mudslinging and focusing on issues voters care about, something President Trump could not do.

Joe Biden clearly bettered President Trump on the issue of climate change, expressing his policy goals and highlighting the fact that his plan will create many high paying jobs. President Trump offered little more than lip service about clean air and water, along with nonsense about tiny windows and bird-killing windmills. It was a winning night for Biden.

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