Trump/Biden debate, the last round mastered without a final knockout.

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 Trump/Biden debate, the last round mastered without a final knockout.

Trump/Biden debate, the last round mastered without a final knockout.

Trump/Biden debate, the last round mastered without a final knockout.


Donald Trump and Joe Biden faced each other Thursday night in Nashville in a final debate with a rather constructive and respectful tone that should not profoundly change the dynamics of the twelve-day U.S. presidential election.



Visibly wanting to offer a more disciplined face, after a first cacophonous head-to-head, the American president, trailing in the polls, accused his rival of wanting to "confine" the country because of Covid-19.


"Someone who is responsible for so many deaths should not be allowed to remain president of the United States of America," the Democratic candidate said, predicting "a dark winter" for the world's most bereaved country, with more than 222,000 deaths due to the coronavirus.


The veteran politician criticized the Republican president for "still not having a plan" to stem the pandemic. "There isn't a serious scientist in the world who thinks it's going to go away soon," he hammered, while the White House tenant keeps saying the opposite.


"We're fighting it very hard," replied the stormy billionaire, who arrived unmarked at the scene in Nashville, Tennessee, three weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus.


The exchanges, though lively, were much more audible than the previous time, when the 77-year-old Democrat had called the 45th U.S. president, 74, a "liar", a "racist" and then a "clown". "There's nothing intelligent about you," the former businessman had retorted.


"Both candidates have clearly learned the lessons of their first debate," Aaron Kall, a University of Michigan professor and specialist in presidential duels told AFP.


"A status quo in tonight's debate will likely be seen as good news for Biden's campaign, which enjoys a steady lead in national and state polls," he added.


"He's taking on Joe Biden!"

To Donald Trump, who accused him of trying to implement the politics of the "radical left", Joe Biden said that he won the Democratic primaries where other candidates were more left-leaning than him.

"He's a little lost, he thinks he's facing someone else. he's facing Joe Biden," he ironized.


To avoid the cacophony, organizers had decided this time to cut off one candidate's microphone during the first two minutes of the other's speech for each of the questions, whether it was on the pandemic, racial issues, climate change, or foreign policy.


Donald Trump, as he had announced, asked Joe Biden to "explain himself" on allegations of corruption regarding the activities of his son Hunter in China and Ukraine, when the Democratic candidate was vice-president of Barack Obama (2009-2017).


"Joe, I think you owe the American people an explanation," insisted the president-candidate, who in recent days has accentuated his personal attacks on the integrity of his opponent, hammering home, without any concrete evidence to support it, that the Biden family is a "criminal enterprise".


"Innocent baby"

"You were vice president when it happened, and it should never have happened," said the former real estate mogul, who had invited into the audience a former Hunter Biden associate, Tony Bobulinski, who accuses the candidate's son of using his last name to make "millions" abroad, with his father's consent.


Referring to this guest, Donald Trump called his story "damning". "Don't try to come across as an innocent baby," he said later.


"Never in my life have I ever taken a penny from a foreign source," protested the Democrat, who has so far dodged questions on the subject by being overly protective of his family. "It's not true, not true," he said repeatedly.


He countered by criticizing the president for never agreeing to publish his tax returns. "What are you hiding," he asked.


Unlike previous presidential elections, there will be only two debates this year, the outgoing president has refused a virtual duel on October 15 -- a format proposed to avoid the risks of infection after his positive coronavirus diagnosis.


Candidates' teams announced hours before Thursday's face-off that they had tested negative at Covid-19 after Donald Trump had completed the exercise aboard the presidential Air Force One aircraft.


The Plexiglas walls that had been installed on the stage to separate the two septuagenarians were finally removed.


True to his strategy, centered on a ubiquitous presence on the ground, the U.S. President participated Wednesday evening in a campaign rally in North Carolina and will return to Florida on Friday.


For his part, Joe Biden has remained at home in Delaware since the beginning of the week without any public event. After the debate, he will resume his campaign with a speech in his hometown of Wilmington on Friday and a trip to the key state of Pennsylvania on Saturday.


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