This is what Blowing it Looks Like


Sorry, but Joe Biden blew it. I suppose that we were foolish to believe that debate preparation for the president would help prepare him to face up to Trump, an opponent who spends his days – when not contesting multiple criminal cases – at self-promoting rallies.

When the nation’s voters – many millions of them – tuned in to last night’s debate, what they first heard was the nation’s president, an aging white man struggling with a mouth full of cotton. Biden’s flat speaking voice continued throughout the early part of the debate. It wasn’t until just before the commercial break that the president was able to summon a stronger voice, a tone more like the one that delivered this year’s State of Union speech.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s utterances held strong while his in-camera facial expressions mocked his opponent’s responses with stagey grimaces, frowns and face-splitting sneers.

Trump repeatedly failed to answer the moderators’ direct questions; instead he brought up the Afghanistan withdrawal, Hunter Biden’s conviction and other irrelevant topics. He alleged migrants were bringing in drugs, committing rape and murder and would destroy social security. He insisted his “retribution would be success” and asserted that he would not support NATO.

Incumbent presidents rarely do well in debates. Even President Obama scored poorly in his first debate with challenger Mitt Romney. But while the odds were against Biden avoiding more than a mild setback, this failure may have consequences. The fact that California Gov. Gavin Newsom was on hand — ostensively to preside at the after debate — may offer one alternative solution to a looming problem. The party conventions remain ahead and, after last night’s performance, they may give the faithful second thoughts.

Jean Godden
Jean Godden
Jean Godden wrote columns first for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and late for the Seattle Times. In 2002, she quit to run for City Council where she served for 12 years. Since then she published a book of city stories titled “Citizen Jean.” She is now co-host of The Bridge aired on community station KMGP at 101.1 FM. You can email tips and comments to Jean at


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