Liveblogging the Final Presidential Debate

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This struck me as a very “by the numbers” debate. Both Trump and Biden mostly just rehashed things they had said before, using much the same words as before. There was nothing even mildly unexpected.

If there’s an exception to that, it was Trump’s relentless effort to claim that Biden had accepted money from practically every endeavor he’s been associated with. On the one hand this is typical Trump: he always accuses other people of doing the things that he himself has done. But there’s hardly any chance this will work. First of all, it’s not true. More importantly, though, Biden has absolutely no reputation for being corrupt or money grubbing. People simply won’t accept wild accusations like these that come out of the blue and go against everything they’ve ever heard about someone.

On policy, Trump doesn’t want to do anything about COVID-19. He doesn’t want to do anything about health care except repeal Obamacare. He doesn’t want to do anything about immigration. He doesn’t want to do anything about civil rights. And he doesn’t want to do anything about climate change. At least, he never mentioned anything. All he did was attack the stuff Biden wants to do. I suppose he thinks that after four years of Trump there’s nothing left to do.

This is not a debate that’s going to move the needle. Trump’s attacks were scattershot and ineffective—and even more full of lies than usual. Biden was mostly fine, but fairly mechanical. Overall, the whole thing was suprisingly low key.

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The final debate, finally. Let’s go.

10:34 – And that’s it.

10:30 – Ah, I guess that Welker is just going to skip the whole “Leadership” section so she can wrap things up.

10:28 – What about all those poor people who live near dangerous refineries and chemical plants? Trump says they’re all making tremendous amounts of money, so it’s all good.

10:25 – Biden: “I don’t know where he comes up with these numbers.” In the case of the Green New Deal, the answer is conservative think tanks that included the cost of Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan.

10:23 – This debate is going to go way over time.

10:20 – Trump’s answer to everything is to ask why Biden didn’t do it already. Finally, Biden mentions the Republican Congress. This is most likely what Trump has been waiting for. He wants to position Biden as a guy who can’t work across the aisle to get anything done.

10:18 – Biden: Nobody should go to jail for a drug charge.

10:17 – Welker asks about Trump’s racist rhetoric. What should people think about that? Trump could disown those statements, but he doesn’t. He refuses to address it at all.

10:09 – Donald Trump has been the best Black president ever! Except for Lincoln. Maybe.

10:06 – Trump: Only those “with the lowest IQs” show up at their immigration hearings.

10:03 – Biden says he’ll send an immigration bill to Congress within his first hundred days.

9:59 – Trump says the minimum wage should be set by the states. This implies that there shouldn’t even be a minimum wage, but then he backtracks. He then suggests that the federal minimum wage should be different in different states. Unfortunately, he wasn’t asked to follow up on that.

9:52 – Socialized medicine. Sigh. At least Trump didn’t accuse Biden of accepting secret bribes from the Peruvian health agency or something.

9:44 – Are you outraged yet? Do you want to help stop this? How about contributing to Mother Jones? Just click here.

9:42 – Hey! A whole answer from Trump about North Korea without inventing a story about Biden accepting bribes from Kim Jong Un. Progress!

9:40 – It’s just attack after attack. Ask about China, and Trump wants to talk about stories of Biden accepting millions of dollars from China. Or something.

9:37 – Trump is pretty dedicated to bringing up every fever swamp attack on Biden. Sure, he’s doing it a little more calmly than last time, but he’s hardly missing a beat.

9:31 – Trump still wants to release his tax returns! But he can’t. He just can’t. Such a sad story.

9:28 – Trump: “While he [Biden] was selling pillows and sheets…” Huh?

9:23 – OK, I’m convinced. We shouldn’t have bothered doing COVID-19 as a topic again. We’re finally finishing up with Trump bragging that he could have raised more money than Biden if only he’d gone to Wall Street. What?

9:20 – Trump: Plexiglas is expensive. Seriously? He’s against plexiglas?

9:14 – Man, we’re getting all the greatest hits about COVID-19.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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