President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden faced off in the first presidential debate on Tuesday night in Cleveland, Ohio.
The debate, which aired commercial free 9:00 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern time on most major networks, looked different than how debates have looked like in the last four decades, with a limited audience of only 70 people.
Many topics were on the list to cover in the 90 minutes including the coronavirus, racial tension, the state of the economy and the recent protests.
Moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, each segment of the debate was 15 minutes where both Trump and Biden were each given two minutes each to respond to each topic.
From the beginning of the first question being asked, we saw a glimpse of what the next 90 minutes would include with the constant interruptions.
Sharp, personal attacks on one another’s judgement and character made up a majority of the debate with constant interruptions by both candidates.
With no hesitation, Wallace interjected to reclaim his position as moderator 15 minutes into it and continued to so throughout the rest of the debate.
“The purpose of the debate and the debaters is for them to make good arguments but also to correct each other,” said Fullerton College professor of Public Speaking Douglas Kresse. “It’s not the job of the moderator to correct the debaters.”
That is exactly what Wallace did Tuesday night as he was not fact checking in the moment after each response though multiple times, he had to stop both candidates and reclaim his position as the moderator.
One of the hard-hitting topics on Tuesday night was the release of the president’s tax returns by The New York Times.
The findings revealed that he had only paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and prior to that, didn’t pay anything at all in the previous 10 to 15 years due to him reporting more money lost than earned.
When asked how much he had paid in federal income taxes in both those years Trump said he paid “millions of dollars.”
“He says he’s smart because he can take advantage of the tax code and he does take advantage of the tax code,” said Biden as a response.
According to a poll by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News, “roughly 70% of Americans said the debates would not matter much to their ultimate vote.”
CNN host Jake Tapper’s response after the debate was, “That was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck.” He added, “That was the worst debate I have ever seen. In fact, it wasn’t even a debate.
“The American people lost tonight because that was horrific,” added Tapper.
The next presidential debate will take place on Oct. 15, but the before that, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris will face off in their own debate on Oct. 7.