Will Biden Skip the Final Presidential Debate? | Eastern North Carolina Now

Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Joseph Curl.

    The first presidential debate was a debacle: Both candidates interrupted the other endlessly (although President Donald Trump barely let Joe Biden get a word in edgewise). And moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News lost all control, letting the September 29 discourse devolve into a schoolyard scrap (at least there were no flies).

    The second debate, originally scheduled for this coming Thursday, got blown up after Trump tested positive for COVID-19 and then spent three days in the hospital. The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which sets the schedule with input from both campaigns, decided the second contest should go virtual. Trump quickly shot that down and said he wouldn't play.

    And then there was one. The final debate is set for Oct. 22, just 11 days before Election Day. Now there is talk that Biden could — maybe should — bail from that.

    The former vice president, leading in nearly every poll, is reportedly considering simply skipping the last showdown, the Daily Beast reported on Monday:

  • "If Trump is going to take his football and go home, I say good riddance to bad rubbish," said one longtime Biden confidant and former Senate staffer, who originally felt that the former vice president shouldn't have attended any debates, "but it turns out that there is an amount of lying and ugliness that blows back even on Trump."

    The first debate drew huge ratings. More than 73 million people watched the contentious battle, according to Nielsen. That number was more than triple the audience of this year's Oscars, Vulture pointed out, but slightly fewer than the 84 million who watched the 2016 between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    Some in the Biden camp think it might be a good strategic move to cut it off there. "Joe should spike the football, consider the debates won, and just do a town hall to show that he, unlike Trump, knows how to relate to the concerns of everyday Americans," the Biden confidant told The Beast.

    For Trump, he pressed hard for the second debate to take place as scheduled and then urged the CPD to add an additional debate, a request the commission rejected. Because the president in the first faceoff repeatedly interrupted Biden — who often has trouble clearly enunciating his thoughts — some of his top aides have expressed a desire to get another shot at a wide-open forum (the final debate is set to be town-hall style, which might not draw the fireworks that exploded in the first debate).

    Members of Team Trump blasted the CPD for cancelling the second debate.

    "The American people should not be deprived of the chance to see the two candidates for president debate face to face two more times just because the Commission on Presidential Debates wants to protect Joe Biden," said Bill Stepien, Trump's 2020 campaign manager. "It remains extremely suspect that the CPD announced the brand new virtual format at 7:30 a.m. ET today immediately after Vice President Mike Pence had just wiped the floor with Senator Kamala Harris.

    "Clearly the commission wanted to shift attention away from Pence's complete victory. As President Trump said, a virtual debate is a non-starter and would clearly be a gift to Biden because he would be relying on his teleprompter from his basement bunker. Voters should have the opportunity to directly question Biden's 47-year failed record of leadership. We agree that this should happen on October 22, and accordingly, the third debate should then be shifted back one week to October 29. The CPD and the media cannot hide Joe Biden forever. Americans deserve to hear directly from both presidential candidates on these dates, October 22 and 29," Stepien said.

    Still, there's no assurance that the debate will go forward even if the two candidates want it to. "Subject to health security considerations, and in accordance with all required testing, masking, social distancing and other protocols, the debate will take place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee," the CPD said last week.
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