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Saturday, January 16, 2021

A 'messy, sloppy, uncomfortable' first debate

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A 'messy, sloppy, uncomfortable' first debate
A 'messy, sloppy, uncomfortable' first debate

[NFA] Two political scientists who tuned in for the first U.S. presidential debate described the frustrating ordeal of trying to make sense of a showdown dominated by interruptions and insults.

This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

Messy, sloppy, uncomfortable to watch.

That's how one political science professor described the first debate between U.S. Republican president Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

"It was very frustrating.

There wasn't much substance at all.

I was ready to take notes and I stopped taking notes after about five or ten minutes, I could see this was going anywhere." Bruce Cain is a professor of political science at Stanford University.

He said Donald Trump's refusal to adhere to the rules of the debate, interrupting and insulting the former vice president, stole viewers' chance to learn anything new about the issues.

"I think the idea was to try to show that the vice president wasn't up to the task, could be rattled." Moderator Chris Wallace never established control of the debate, with Trump repeatedly ignoring his calls to let Biden speak.

"You could see Chris Wallace, who is not new to this business, right?

He's been around for a long time, even he was getting a little rattled just by Trump's conduct.

And that is without any precedent in American history." Lincoln Mitchell is a poli sci professor at Columbia University, and he said Trump set a ruinous tone for the showdown.

"If you muted your television or your computer and just watch their body language, Joe Biden's the kind of guy you're in a room with him, he mellows you out.

Trump gets you nervous and the nervous energy is not helpful for anyone like Biden is trying to compete with him." Cain said Trump failed to answer key questions about his plans for healthcare and combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, and that Biden needs to better explain his budget to voters concerned about the national debt.

"My biggest takeaway is I hope that the next two debates between these two are better, and I think the American public is going to demand that."

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