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Selasa, 29 September 2020

US Presidential Debate LIVE updates: Donald Trump and Joe Biden face off for the first time weeks before 2020 election - The Sydney Morning Herald

Summary

  • President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden are facing off in Cleveland Ohio for the first of the presidential debates. The 90-minute showdown will be conducted under strict coronavirus guidelines, with no handshakes, social distancing, and COVID tests for all attendees.
  • Coronavirus, the US economy, and race and violence are some of the topics that will be hotly contested today. The death of civil rights icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg will also throw the spotlight on the future US Supreme Court and Trump's conservative nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
  • The election will be held on November 3 but early postal voting has already begun in some states. Voter turnout is expected to reach record levels year, with some experts predicting that the number of people voting either in person or by mail could exceed 145 million.
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Watch live: US presidential debate

The US presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden begins at 11am AEST. You can watch it live here:

Latest updates

Trump's taxes

Wallace is now asking the president if he'll tell the American people how much he's paid in taxes.

He replies: "millions of millions of dollars."

The line of questioning comes after The New York Times reported two days ago that Trump had only paid $US750 ($1050) in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 – and no taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years.

Biden released his tax returns a few hours before the debate and called on Trump to do the same. The records show that Biden and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $300,000 in federal income tax last year and had an adjusted gross income of about $985,000.

Who do you trust to fix the economy?

We're now debating the economy.

The economy was Trump's biggest policy strong suit before the global pandemic forced the US into a coronavirus fuelled recession. Nonetheless, the President often says under his leadership "we built the greatest economy in the world" and that "we'll do it again".

President Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate.

President Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate.Credit:AP

Today he's making the same argument, telling the audience: "We built the greatest economy in history but we closed it down because of the China plague.

"But what happened is we closed it down and now we're reopening and we're doing record business. We had 10.4 million people in a four-month period that we've put back into the workforce. That's a record the likes of which nobody's ever seen before, and he (Biden) wants to shut it down again. He will destroy this country."

Biden's argument, however, is that the President's mishandling of coronavirus, coupled with "tax breaks for the super-wealthy", has led to a jobs crisis in America, for which millions of people now find themselves unemployed or struggling to make ends meet.

"You can't fix the economy until you fix the COVID crisis," Biden says.

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Trump leverages his experience

By Nick O'Malley

Trump's team declared before the debate that he would focus on "leveraging" his experience rather than doing extensive preparation for the debate, and that tactic is starting to show.

Biden's lines are clearly prepared for the confrontation whereas nothing we have so far heard from Trump sounds any different from his press conferences and interviews, with some added personal invective.

President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during the first presidential debate.

President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during the first presidential debate.Credit:AP

This too is not surprising. This is the bloke who accused Ted Cruz's father of complicity in JFK’s assassination.

'Don't ever use the word smart with me'

Biden is continuing to attack Trump for his handling of coronavirus, noting his comment earlier this year suggesting that people should "inject some bleach in your arm and that would take care of it."

Trump responds by claiming he was being "sarcastic."

Trump then attacks Biden personally, saying: "You went to Delaware State but you forgot the name of your college... Don't ever use the word smart with me, don't ever use that word."

Coronavirus takes centre stage

We're now onto the topic of coronavirus. This has arguably been Trump’s biggest electoral weakness, with Democrats claiming his early mishandling of the virus is largely to blame for the fact that more than 205,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19 and millions more are struggling to make ends meet

The President’s central defence is that he closed down the border to Chinese travellers in late January, coupled with the argument that Biden did not initially support this move and accused him of being xenophobic.

Biden, however, hits out at the President for knowing the risks months ago, but still not having a plan to deal with the problem.

Trump responds by saying he did "a phenomenal job."

"We did. We got the gowns, we got the masks, we made the ventilators.. and now we're weeks away from a vaccine," he says. "We've done a great job."

Debate begins with rapid fire

By Nick O'Malley

This determination by Wallace that the two engage in “open discussion” is no surprise.

People are rightly sceptical about Fox News’s political bent, but Chris Wallace, the anchor of Fox News Sunday, is one of the best political interviewers in the game. When Wallace last interviewed Trump in July he humiliated Trump when the President boasted that he had blitzed a cognitive test.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former vice-president Joe Biden exchange points during the first presidential debate.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former vice-president Joe Biden exchange points during the first presidential debate.Credit:AP

“I took the [cognitive] test too, when I heard you passed it. It’s not the hardest test. It shows a picture and it says, ‘what’s that,’ and it’s an elephant,” Wallace responded.

Wallace has said he will not fact check either candidate and will instead seek to be “invisible” and instead direct the two to challenge one another. This is in keeping with the role assigned to him by the Debate Commission, but might frustrate those who’d like to see Trump’s typical firehose of disinformation checked live.

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The debate begins...

And we're off....

Both candidates have now walked onto the blue and red stage at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Coronavirus rules prevent them from shaking hands, which means we've managed to avoid an awkward moment like the one we saw in 2016 when Trump and Hillary Clinton refused to greet one another at the start of their second and third presidential debates.

Perhaps not surprisingly, neither Trump or Biden attempted an elbow bump either.

Chris Wallace kicks off by asking about Trump's nomination for the Supreme Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

As readers know, the death of civil rights icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg earlier this month has paved the way for a bitterly partisan showdown over the Court, including issues such as abortion rights, Obamacare and immigration.

Trump insists that he has every right to push through the nomination and that there is "plenty of time" to confirm Barrett before the election.

Biden, however, argues that it's not appropriate to do so, arguing that "it's simply not appropriate". He adds that while Barrett seems like a fine person, she makes no secret of the fact that "she thinks that the Affordable Care Act is not constitutional"

A bare-knuckled brawl between two different fighters

The families of Donald Trump and Joe Biden have now taken their seats in the audience.

How the two candidates match up head-to-head will be fascinating to watch, given they're both so different in style and substance.

Chairs at social distance spacing inside the debate venue.

Chairs at social distance spacing inside the debate venue.Credit:AP

If this was a UFC fight, Trump would likely be the feisty grappler whose take-down attempts aren't always clean but are often agile enough to fire up the crowd.

Biden, on the other hand, would be the strategic striker, gingerly pacing around the Octagon, waiting for the right moment to land a well-rehearsed punch.

On paper, Biden should be a strong contender - after all, the former vice-president has had 47 years in politics and plenty of time over the past few weeks prepping with his campaign team.

But Biden also has a tendency to get flustered or become gaffe-prone when he speaks off the cuff, and Trump will inevitably try to rattle him today with personal attacks, such as claims of corruption involving his son Hunter Biden or the unproven sexual assault allegations of his former staffer, Tara Reade.

Whether the Democratic nominee takes the bait or sticks to his key messages could make all the difference.

Here's an earlier analysis from our US correspondent Matthew Knott.

Scranton, Park Avenue, and Trump's taxes

In an attempt to place extra pressure on the President, Biden released his tax returns a few hours before the debate and called on Trump to do the same.

The records show that Biden and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $300,000 in federal income tax last year and had an adjusted gross income of about $985,000.

Releasing their tax returns was designed to further undercut the Republican campaign after The New York Times reported two days ago that Trump had only paid $US750 ($1050) in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 – and no taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years.

Joe Biden, second from right, is the eldest of four children.

Joe Biden, second from right, is the eldest of four children.

It’s also part of Biden’s strategy to paint Trump as out of touch by framing the election as a contest between "Scranton versus Park Avenue". Expect to hear a lot more of that phrase during the debate.

Scranton, of course, is the former coal miner city in Pennsylvania where Biden was born and raised a child, before his father moved the family to Delaware for work. I spent some time in this critical battleground a few weeks ago - you can check out my feature here.

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2020-09-30 01:43:00Z
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