Go to the Transcript?


If one were to take the transcript of what Biden said and edit out the pauses, his verbal tics to to avoid stuttering, and the few cases where used a wrong name and then corrected, and you just read it without hearing his thin, tired voice, you’d think he had done a fairly good job of calling out his own strengths and Trump’s weaknesses, though far from perfect.

Compared to Trump he was a relative paragon of accuracy, truth, context, and detail. A transcript of what Trump said would read like his usual schtick—a minestrone of lies, random claims, projections, personal attacks, grievances, and tangents. One might think, then, that Biden had had the better night.

Trump, measured against a neutral yardstick, had a terrible night, but Biden was not a neutral yardstick. Given that the biggest concern people have about him is his age, he had a terrible night. Trump played to his base, recycling lines from his rallies. He didn’t lose anybody from MAGA world, though he probably didn’t win many new converts.

Biden, however, sent a shiver of panic down the shiver-ready spines of Democrats. I would guess that a lot of people Googled some version of “alternatives to Biden?” tonight. Biden is the one who needs to win over the middle and hold the left. If Nate Silver is right, Trump is currently in a better position than Biden. Trump’s position probably improved tonight.

The images of Biden’s face with his mouth oddly open will haunt. The Dems can make up some ground by cutting up Trump’s many outrageous statements into clips for ads—he said a lot of terrible stuff—but they have a steeper hill to climb now, and there will be more talk of alternatives to Biden.

Tom Corddry
Tom Corddry
Tom is a writer and aspiring flâneur who today provides creative services to mostly technology-centered clients. He led the Encarta team at Microsoft and, long ago, put KZAM radio on the air.


  1. Good analysis, Tom! Will any group
    of Dem poobahs have the gumption to try to convince Biden to drop out of the race? I doubt Biden will take that advice, so the rest of us have to get ready to steel ourselves to do battle to sustain democracy vs Trump’s despotic regime.

  2. ”with his mouth oddly open” As an old person with COPD, my reaction was “This guy is having trouble breathing.”

  3. Agree, Tom, but perception is everything when it comes to a TV « debate ». Lies spoken with confidence Trump truth whispered by Grandpa Joe. He couldn’t land a punch despite many opportunities. Biden is dead meat. Truth is at great risk. I now truly fear for democracy and the threat of fascism.

  4. It was over in the first 10 minutes, as far as America’s attention span. Big question remaining is how many minds were changed in the all-important swing states. I’m tired of hearing how Biden is leading by a hair nationally. It’s all coming down to those red-infected states. As climate change sweeps over us, Trump will finish us off by selling himself to the oil and coal industry for $1 billion. Nice round number for selling out our country and our planet.

  5. “Compared to Trump he was a relative paragon of accuracy, truth, context, and detail.”

    Can we all please keep this in mind? We’re either going to have Biden or Trump. That’s the stark truth.

    We know what Trump promises to bring us. We know. We’ve been warned, over and over and over again.

  6. Biden’s performance was the result of the tired policy wonk elitists who came from the shadows of Hillary and Barrack, advising Biden with their bluster to hear themselves talk and sound important. Tom Perez and others cloud the room with their various opinions, while totally forgetting that Trump is a showman TV star who understands how to ‘script’ comments. Of course, both camps knew the format…how many seconds each had before the green light turned red or amber. Trump clearly orchestrated each of his segments. Biden did not. His ‘prep time at Camp David’ with 16 wonky ‘experts’ clearly muddled what could have been Biden’s night. Instead of 16 ‘strategist blow hards’ he needed a television producer!! Certainly, Biden’s age is a concern but the knuckleheads around him just don’t get it as many of them learned nothing from Hillary’s failed campaign — for the same reason! With all the celebrity types rallied behind Biden, why in the world Biden’s campaign didn’t tap those who know how to produce a 90-minute TV show…minute by minute…word for word. Trump had canned talking points for every one of his segments. Biden was left to extemporaneously lay out a vision while fending off Trump’s various lies and distortions. Joe, get some advisers who live in the present!!!


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