POTUS Debate: “A Game Changing Debate” That Sends Democrats Into Panic And Shock Over Joe Biden’s Performance (2024)

UPDATED, 7:53 PM: “It was a game-changing debate in the sense that right now, as we speak, there is a deep, a wide and a very aggressive panic in the Democratic Party,” CNN‘s John King said immediately after the the first debate of the 2024 presidential election season between Joe Biden and Donald Trump ended.

President Biden got more energetic and direct as the debate went on, but he finished in a bit of a jumbled statement.

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Former President Trump dodged questions and launched into falsehoods multiple times, but the immediately takeaway was that he skated by absent a rival with a better political agility.

Biden’s performance left some of his supporters in entertainment stunned and dismayed. “It was a really disappointing debate performance from Joe Biden,” Kate Bedingfield, the president’s former communications director, said on CNN.


The network moderators did no fact checking, which is in line with most news personalities who have been in that position in previous general election debates. But CNN reported afterward that Trump made far more false and misleading claims — more than 30 — than Biden. Perhaps the biggest of all of Trump’s absurd claim that Democratic states allow babies to be executed after birth. Trump also continued to assert that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, even though, nearly four years later, no evidence has emerged proving massive voter fraud.

PREVIOUSLY: Donald Trump initially evaded the question of whether he would accept the results of the election, regardless of who wins.

Pressed by Dana Bash, he said, “If it is a fair and legal and good election, absolutely. I would have much rather accepted these, but the fraud and everything else was ridiculous.”

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That answer is essentially how Trump has answered previously — giving him an out to reject the results just as he did in 2020. Trump continues to insist that election was rigged, even though those claims are unfounded and were rejected by courts and his own attorney general, William Barr.

PREVIOUSLY: As the debate between Biden and Trump neared the 90 minute mark, their sparring turned to their golf handicaps.

“I would be happy to have a driving contest with him,” Biden said, adding that when he was vice president, “I got my handicap down to a six.”

Trump then smirked and shook his head.

Biden then reminded Trump that “I would be happy to play golf with you if you carried your own bag.”

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Trump expressed disbelief. “I have seen your swing. I know your swing.”

Finally co-moderator Dana Bash got them to move on.

PREVIOUSLY: “I didn’t have sex with a p*rn star,” Trump said at one point during the debate, after Biden lashed into his rival fora lengthy court record.

“The crimes you are still charged with,” Biden said. “How many billions of dollars do you owe in civil penalties for molesting a woman in public, for doing a whole range of things, for having sex with a p*rn star on the night your wife was pregnant. You have the morals of an alley cat.”

Trump had been asked about his statement that he would have every right to go after his political opponents.


Trump said that “my retribution is going to be success.” He then went on to criticize the conviction of Biden’s son, Hunter, on a gun charge, while making other long discredited claims about Biden’s own involvement in the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor.

PREVIOUSLY: Biden slammed Trump for encouraging rioters on January 6th, laying into the predecessor for his inaction even as many of his supporters were sacking the Capitol.

“I sat in that dining room off the Oval Office. He sat there for three hours watching, being begged by his vice president and a number of his colleagues to do something. …Instead he talked about these people being great patriots of America.”

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“He didn’t do a damn thing, and these people shouldn’t be in jail.”

Trump initially tried to pivot away from January 6th but, after pressed by co-moderator Jake Tapper, later defended his pledge to commute the sentences of those involved in the attack on the Capitol.

Meanwhile, some White House reporters are noting that Biden has had a cold.

Trump also claimed that on January 6th, he asked then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about sending 10,000 troops to protect the Capitol that day, but was turned down. That claim is false, per the AP fact check.

PREVIOUSLY: As Biden defended his record on immigration, Trump got in a dig at his rival’s mental acuity.

“I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence,” Trump said. “I don’t think he knows what he said, either.”

Biden is not performing well in this debate, as Trump has appeared stronger and sharper. The president has gotten better as the debate going on, but Trump also has had free rein, often spreading misinformation about issues including his role on January 6th.

PREVIOUSLY: Two years after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Trump was looking for a middle road on abortion in tonight’s presidential debate.

He may have found it, at least for a few minutes until the issue turned into an ugly dispute over the horrors of rape and murder between Joe Biden and his predecessor.

Trump said that with Roe Vs. Wade repealed, “what happened is we brought it back to the states and the country is now coming together on this issue.”

“It’s been a terrible thing what you have done,” Biden said. “…The idea that states are going to do this is like saying we are going to bring civil rights back to the states.”

That was one of Biden’s more energetic moments. More often than not, as Biden has delivered answers in a raspy voice and coughing at times, Trump has appeared far more energetic, even if a number of statements will not survive the fact check post debate.

PREVIOUSLY: Joe Biden had a bad stumble as he talked about healthcare. He appeared to lose his train of thought as he talked about eligibility. He paused and then said, “Look, we finally beat Medicare.” That made no sense.

Trump responded, “He did beat Medicaid. He beat it to death, and he’s destroying Medicare,” while claiming that Biden’s border policies are overtaxing the systems.

PREVIOUSLY: Biden and Trump started their presidential debate with no handshake, quickly sparring over some of the superlatives over their presidency.

The first question, to Biden, was what he would say to voters who believe that they are worse off during his presidency than during Trump.

“Take a look at what I was left with when I became president, Mr. Trump left me,” Biden said, noting that the economy “was in freefall, the pandemic was badly handled, many people were dying, all he said was it was not that serious, just inject a little bit of bleach in your arm.”

Trump responded by claiming that his presidency saw “the greatest economy in the history of the country. We have never done so well. … We got hit with Covid, and when we did we spent the money that was necessary so we didn’t end up in a Great Depression.”

In their allotted time, both candidates attacked each other’s record while defending their own — pretty standard for a debate. But Trump was more adept at turning any question to his own talking points, while Biden was more halting.

The CNN debate marked a big departure from past cycles, not just in who is organizing the event but the timing: This is the earliest ever general election matchup of each major party’s presidential candidates.

The debate also may end up being far different in tone: In studio, with no audience, and with mics muted on a candidate when it is not his turn to speak. The could make for a far different experience than in 2020 when, at the first debate, Trump interrupted Biden so frequently that the latter told the former to “shut up.”

In advance of this debate, Biden has spent nearly a week at Camp David in preparation for what may be a key moment of his campaign, as he looks to tamper notions over his ability to serve another four years because of his age. With Trump holding leads in a number of polling averages, Biden also needs a bit of a shakeup at this stage of the race.

Trump, meanwhile, also faces his own questions of fitness, as Biden has hammered him for his role in inciting a mob to attack the Capitol on January 6th. Biden has characterized his rival as unhinged, given his rants on social media and at rallies, and may try to further trigger Trump at this evening’s event.

The debate itself was just the type of event that focused national attention on the presidential race, as broadcasters, cable networks and streamers planned to pick up the CNN feed. Up to know, the expected uptick in audiences for election season has been a bit disappointing to the networks, as polls show much of the public has disfavored a rematch between Trump and Biden.

POTUS Debate: “A Game Changing Debate” That Sends Democrats Into Panic And Shock Over Joe Biden’s Performance (2024)
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