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Trump urged to let Biden do the talking in final debate

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 10/20/2020 Rob Crilly
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President Trump has a chance to walk away with a win in Thursday night’s final debate if he can step back and allow Biden to talk himself into trouble, according to Republican strategists, debate experts, and his unofficial coaches at Fox News.

The debate, in Nashville, Tennessee, comes with new rules and muted microphones following the first debate, which was marked by repeated interruptions.

Sam Nunberg, a senior aide to Trump during the 2016 campaign, said the president needed to lay out competing visions for America’s future in a “non-bullying” manner. The new rules would help, he added.

“Anything Biden says, even though he likes to package it as a moderate, is actually radical. His policy proposals are not popular,” he said.

“Republicans win when we argue the issues. Democrats win when we get into personalities.”

The first debate, held in Cleveland, Ohio, was dominated by Trump’s effort to derail Biden’s train of thought with repeated interruptions. Although Republicans declared him the winner, his hectoring approach dominated the headlines and let his opponent off the hook, according to some.

The Trump campaign has been trying to change the election from a referendum on the president’s performance to a choice between two candidates with different plans for the country.

With less than two weeks before Election Day, the final debate offers a chance to convince a prime-time audience that Biden is a radical socialist, gain momentum, and claw back some of the poll deficit.

On Tuesday morning, during a live TV interview, he was told he needed to change his strategy.

A telephone interview for Fox and Friends on Tuesday morning turned into live debate prep as hosts Brian Kilmeade and Will Cain tried to coach the president in how to let Biden talk himself into trouble.

Kilmeade suggested modeling his approach on the vice president, who successfully parried and pivoted his way through a debate with Kamala Harris to make sure he changed the subject to get to his favorite issues.

“I do my own debating, and I do fine,” replied Trump.

Cain tried again. He said: “After that last debate, there are many who suggested that if you just let Joe Biden share his ideas, America might not be too keen on those ideas.”

“Well, I may do that. If you let him talk, he may lose his train of thought because he’s gonzo,” said Trump. “And I understand that. But I also understand that as he’s going down the line and issuing lies, generally, it’s OK to really attack that.”

Trump also expressed his frustration that the debate will not focus on foreign policy, traditionally the theme of the final debate, an area that he believes would have given him multiple ways to attack Biden’s record in the Obama administration.

“We're talking about things that are not foreign policy. And frankly, it was a change that they made that was far bigger than the mute button,” he told Fox News.

A source close to the campaign, who was not authorized to discuss debate preparation, said: “There are ways to do this. He has to focus on answering the questions he wants to answer, not necessarily answer the ones that are asked."

Erick Sanchez, who was traveling press secretary for Democratic challenger Andrew Yang during the primaries and co-founder of United Public Affairs, said he did not expect Trump to change his strategy now.

“The key is, you want to look presidential, you want to be measured, thoughtful,” he said.

“But that’s never been Donald Trump at any point."

“In spite of that, his base gives him high poll numbers. He’s in a bubble that tells him he’s incredible, and he is going to be thinking about how the polls were wrong in 2016, so I feel it will likely be more of the same.”

Tags: News, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, 2020 Elections, Campaign 2020, Debates, Nashville, Fox & Friends

Original Author: Rob Crilly

Original Location: Trump urged to let Biden do the talking in final debate


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