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Rancorous first presidential debate yields no clear winner, raises questions about moderator bias

Pollster Scott Rasmussen said of tonight's debate: "No knockouts. Expect race to tighten a bit."

Updated: September 30, 2020 - 8:10am

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A rancorous first presidential debate Tuesday night yielded no clear winner and raised questions about moderator bias by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.

The debate overall yielded no new policy information from either candidate, though President Trump did push Biden to disown the Green New Deal environmental proposal endorsed by his own vice presidential running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

While the Trump campaign has repeatedly raised the question of  rival Joe Biden's cognitive abilities due to repeated verbal slip-ups, Biden was able to execute the evening without a major verbal gaffe by pointedly refusing to face President Trump and instead speaking directly to Wallace. 

Wallace repeatedly traded barbs with Trump, leading the president to tell Wallace, "I guess I'm debating you, not him."

"This debate has actually convinced some undecided voters to not vote at all," pollster Frank Luntz tweeted Tuesday night. "I've never seen a debate cause this reaction."

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Biden also declined to answer whether he'd "pack the courts," and Trump defended his pick of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme court, noting "I'm not elected for three years, I'm elected for four years."

Trump urged the U.S. to reopen with COVID-19 preventive measures like social distancing, masks, sanitizer, etc.

"It's like being in prison, and you look at what's going on with divorce," Trump said. "Look at what's going on with alcoholism and drugs, it's a very, very sad thing."

Veteran pollster Scott Rasmussen said of tonight's performance: "No knockouts. Expect race to tighten a bit."