Trump, Biden tie on debate flobs
There are a whole host of metrics you an use to judge the winner of a presidential debate. If you applied who was most aggressive, President Donald Trump won the thing going away. But, if you used connecting with the audience, it was no match, as former Vice President Joe Biden empathically prevailed.
However, there is another element that is seldom applied: How many TV commercials was a candidate able to exploit based on some flob your opponent made? And, in that instance, both gentlemen stepped into it big time.
“You’re going to destroy the petroleum industry,” Mr. Trump looked his opponent in the eye as Mr. Biden opened a topic that lit up the president like a pen ball machine.
Mr. Biden had a nuanced answer about wanting to get the country moving to renewable energy, which would eventually, he hoped, lead to no reliance on fossil fuels and carbon-producing oil. He explained it would be a phased out over time, because “they pollute.”
It took him a long time to lay all that out and, if the viewer listened you knew he did not not say “destroy,” at all. But therein lies the challenge. When a candidate has to “explain,” he or she is in trouble, given the attention span of an audience, which, on a good night, is as long as a gnat’s.
Mr. Trump was more efficient. He fired back with a 10-second attack that everyone could understand.
“Will you remember that Texas, Pennsylvania,” and Ohio?, Trump said, as he took his turn looking dead into the camera, sensing he had a “got ya” moment with his opponent. “This is serious,” he gloated, without wanting to appear so.
“It is serious,” Mr. Biden walked deeper into the trap that was just sprung on him.
The Biden team, after the fact, realized this was a problem, as Texas has lots of voters who depend on crude oil, Pennsylvania has gold in them there hills filled with coal, and Ohio is home to Marathon Oil. And, oh, yeah, all three states are in play as to which candidate will prevail.
On the tarmac after the debate, Mr. Biden strapped on his walking shoes to walk this puppy back. They call it damage control and that is still going on today.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was confronted with this “worst moment” as Fox moderator Chris Wallace confronted her last Sunday on the “destroy the oil industry” Trump theme. She said he never said that and then she had to go on and explain, again, what he really meant, which was, “He is not going to extinguish a lot of those industries from day one.”
If the Trump folks don’t turn this into an attack ad, Mr. Biden should light a candle.
However, the incumbent has his own “foot in mouth” malady.
“I’m the least racist person in this room,” Trump boasted, as nobody on the Biden team believed that for a second.
First the boasting implies that he does have some racism. It’s just not as bad as yours. Hardly a thing you want to concede as you are feverishly trying to cut into your opponent’s strong standing with the Black voter.
Secondly, it will not take the Biden folks long to find enough sound bites over the years from Mr. Trump that could be used against him to take the edge off his assertion.
“I blocked low income housing from going into the suburbs,” the president has said repeatedly to those suburban women who are voting for Mr. Biden. He didn’t use the term “Blacks going into the suburbs,” but, sure as shootin’, the Democrats will point that out that as an example of another racial “dog whistle” aimed at scaring white voters.
Or how about his blasting of Black football players who exercised their First Amendment rights by taking a knee during the national anthem? The president thought they should be fired. Do ya think that endures him to that voting block and labels him the “least racist” guy in the room?
You could argue that does not make him a racist, but the Democrats are not about to take the time to explain that, just as Mr. Trump didn’t nuance the oil industry statement his opponent said.
On the flob front, the debate was a tie, and watch for the resulting commercials coming to a TV box in your home soon.