AP Analysis: Trump & Biden 'an actual debate'

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden held their final debate in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday night. (Oct. 23)

Video Transcript

BILL BARROW: They did have an actual debate. They did articulate what we already knew, which is that these are two very different figures by personality, very different on policy, very different on style. That was all on display for voters to see.

DONALD TRUMP: We're rounding the turn. We're rounding the corner. It's going away.

JOE BIDEN: Anyone who's responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America.

BILL BARROW: We got some reporting ahead of this debate that President Trump's advisors, independent of the new rules allowing for muted microphones, had urged him not to interrupt Vice President Biden as much. They sort of saw it as, one, a negative for President Trump in the first debate was not good for him. Two, they thought, look, Biden is a guy who will trip himself up some times. He'll either contradict himself, he may stumble over his words. Like let him have some time to talk and he may hand you some victories.

KRISTEN WELKER: Let me ask some follow-up--

DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me.

KRISTEN WELKER: Please, respond and then we're going to have follow-up questions.

DONALD TRUMP: This is true.

BILL BARROW: I think these two men or camps realized that they would have looked a little ridiculous having their microphone cut off and being heard in the background, you know, trying to continue to talk. I mean, that just-- that would have seemed almost a little sad.

JOE BIDEN: 220,000 Americans dead.

BILL BARROW: The vice president was wanting to make this debate as much about the pandemic, about how Trump's actually handled the job and all these crises, the racial discord coming out of the protesting of policing in the United States.

DONALD TRUMP: You have done nothing other than the crime bill, which put--

JOE BIDEN: Oh god.

DONALD TRUMP: --tens of thousands of black men, mostly, in jail.

BILL BARROW: Trump made a very targeted argument, repeatedly saying, you know, your law helped put black men in jail.

JOE BIDEN: Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history.

BILL BARROW: We saw a much more targeted argument at several points, reminding voters that, hey, this guy is over there telling you what he'll do if he is president, except he was vice president for eight years and been in national politics for 47 years. And just that same argument of, you know, why hasn't he fixed this stuff already?

DONALD TRUMP: I ran because of you. I ran because of Barack Obama.

BILL BARROW: You know, Trump made some fantastical claims, some hyperbole, some outright mistruths that fact checkers will have a field day with. We saw the smirking incredulous, come on man Biden this time.

DONALD TRUMP: We can't lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does. He has the--

[BIDEN CHUCKLES]

He has the--