Trump and Biden prepare to face-off in first presidential debate

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SHOTLIST CLEVELAND, OHIO, UNITED STATESSHOOTING DATE UNKNOWNSOURCE: THE COMMISSION ON PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES/CWRURESTRICTIONS: NO RESALE 1. Wide shot presidential debate banner unveiled2. Tilt down preparations and stage construction underway inside the venue3. Wide shot preparations and stage construction underway inside the venue JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, UNITED STATESSEPTEMBER 24, 2020SOURCE: AFPTV 4. Close-up Trump walking up to stage5. Extreme wide shot Trump on stage giving speech WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, UNITED STATESAUGUST 20, 2020SOURCE: DC POOLRESTRICTIONS: NO RESALE 6. Sound-up Joe Biden delivers his acceptance speech for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination: "I'm a proud Democrat. And I'll be proud to carry the banner of our party into the general election. So it's a great honor and humility, I accept this nomination for president of the United States of America." HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATESSEPTEMBER 7, 2020SOURCE: DC POOLRESTRICTIONS: NO RESALE 7. Tracking shot Joe Biden waves to supporters before meeting with local labor leaders at the state's AFL-CIO headquarters CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, UNITED STATESAUGUST 24, 2020SOURCE: US POOLRESTRICTIONS: NO RESALE 8. Mid shot Donald Trump on stage at the Republican Convention WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATESSEPTEMBER 27, 2020SOURCE: TWITTER / @REALDONALDTRUMPRESTRICTIONS: NO RESALEEDITORIAL USE ONLY 9. Videographic du tweet de Donald Trump réclamant que son adversaire démocrate dans la course à la Maison Blanche Joe Biden passe un test antidopage avant ou après leur premier débat télévisé de mardi ///-----------------------------------------------------------3 DEPECHES DE CONTEXTE: FOCUSIn first Biden-Trump debate, a show with limited prospects for impact By Catherine TRIOMPHE =(File Picture)= New York, Sept 28, 2020 (AFP) - With just over a month before the US presidential election, Donald Trump and Joe Biden are set to take the debate stage Tuesday, the first show pitting the rivals against each other that's sure to have millions of Americans glued to their screens.But in an ultra-polarized climate with few undecided voters, analysts say it's unclear how much debates, which over the decades have become something of rehearsed performances, can actually move the needle.The first duel between Trump and Hillary Clinton in September 2016 had a record audience of 84 million viewers.If Tuesday's numbers are comparable, the candidates would have more than triple the audiences of their party's conventions earlier this year -- only the Super Bowl football championship does better, with about 100 million viewers per year.But history shows the debates aren't necessarily the key to winning the presidency.In 2016 Clinton was deemed the winner of all three debates -- and ultimately lost the fight for the White House.And in 2004, Democrat John Kerry also lost to Republican George W. Bush, despite superior debate performances.Bob Erikson, a political science professor at Columbia University, said the last time presidential debates were significant at the polls was in 1984, when Ronald Reagan, 73, fumbled against his rival Walter Mondale.But the Californian bounced back in the following face-offs, highlighting the "youth and inexperience" of Mondale in a backhanded joke, and won the vote. - 'Staged performance' - The debates are important, says John Koch -- a professor specialized in debates at Vanderbilt University -- not necessarily because they influence the vote, but because "it's the only time we see both candidates together and the two major parties ostensibly debating, outside of Congress."Still, Michael Socolow, a media historian at the University of Maine, said that since the first televised US debate -- Richard Nixon versus John F. Kennedy -- the duels have grown increasingly less informative.In 1976, the Democrat Jimmy Carter was still "introducing new ideas in a debate," Socolow said, but today "there are very few new and innovative ideas.""Now, it is just a staged performance -- and the idea is if somebody can be knocked off their lines," he said.Few voters are expected to change their minds, and the debates are more geared toward cementing the choices of those wavering.In 2016, 10 percent of voters said they had finalized their candidate during or just after the debate, according to a Pew Research study. This context means style -- and likability -- often count for much more than words.Spectators are likely to be particularly interested in Biden, who has been mostly absent from the campaign trail over coronavirus precautions."They haven't necessarily seen him in action," said David Barker of American University.The political scientist said the debate offers a chance for people to see "whether they are comfortable with him... whether he seems up to the task."The 77-year-old former vice president will likely invoke the loss of his first wife and their daughter in a 1972 car accident, as well as the death of his son Beau to cancer in 2015."He does that every chance he can to demonstrate his level of empathy," Barker said. "That makes him more likeable and more relatable. And it's sad to say that something like that could be such an effective political tool." - Limit risk - In an ultra-mediated society, the hot takes of viewers often matter less than analysis from political commentators, who scrutinize every hesitation, gesture or unexpected quote."What is important is what happens after the debates, and how it is used," said Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the Democratic National Committee. She said the candidates will likely "try to get their opponent to say things they want them to say, and to use that outside the debate" in advertisements, for example.Still, the format of the debates limits the risk of a gaffe: Since 1988 a moderator has asked questions on themes chosen in advance, with timed responses and counterpoints.The pandemic means a limited live audience, according to US media, and no traditional handshake -- but otherwise the format will probably remain unchanged.Biden will probably appear masked, to emphasize the severity of the coronavirus pandemic which many have accused Trump of minimizing.Debate expert Koch said voters would probably have a lot to gain from a different format, where candidates might need to approach problems in real-time, consult with their advisers and then unveil their solutions live, for example.Such a format would be closer to reality television, but could help voters "see who could handle the presidency," Koch said."But it's not appealing to campaigns, who try to keep everything as surprise-free as possible."cat/mdo/st ------------------------------------------------------------- newseriesIn first Trump-Biden debate, US will finally see its choice By Sebastian Smith =(File Picture+Picture)= ATTENTION - UPDATES with Trump tweet on Biden and comments on Barrett ///Washington, Sept 27, 2020 (AFP) - The volatile US presidential election enters a fierce new stage this week when Donald Trump and Joe Biden hold their first debate -- a television spectacle finally allowing Americans to witness the two antagonists head to head.Tuesday's clash, coming right after Trump defied Democrats and nominated conservative Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Supreme Court liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, could again upend a nail-biting contest.Trump, lagging in the polls and with a history of trying to rattle debate opponents, taunted Biden on Sunday with a tweet launching a new salvo on his mental acuity. "I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night," Trump said. "Naturally, I will agree to take one also. His Debate performances have been record setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???"The president offered no evidence to support his insinuation, and recently-completed negotiations between the Biden and Trump camps over debate conditions reportedly made no mention of any drug test.Both septuagenarians are prone to blunders and gaffes when speaking.But as the 74-year-old Trump has repeatedly depicted the 77-year-old Biden as mentally unfit as he tries to eat away at the Democrat's persistent poll lead.There was no immediate response from Biden to the Sunday tweet, though the former vice president was set to speak to reporters at 12:15 pm (1615 GMT).He has shrugged off such accusations from Trump in the past. On Saturday said he expects "personal attacks and lies" from the president, likening Trump to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.The former vice president has until recently stayed close to his Delaware home due to the challenges of campaigning in person safely during a pandemic. Trump, meanwhile, has been flouting his own government's social distancing guidelines to speak frequently at mass rallies where participants are often tightly packed with few masks in sight, as he criss-crosses battleground states on Air Force One. The Covid-19 restrictions place even more weight on Tuesday's 90-minute debate, the first of three, with millions of Americans weighing two men who each depict the other as an existential threat to the country. - High stakes - Trump sees his nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court -- potentially tilting the court to the right for years -- as a fundamental boost to his troubled re-election campaign.He told Fox & Friends Sunday the Senate will "easily" confirm Barrett before the election, despite furious Democratic opposition.But the live TV debate will be a wild card.Trump needs to break through the bad news of 200,000 coronavirus deaths, the long-lasting economic fallout, and widespread fatigue at the constant upheaval roiling his administration.He sees himself as a tough guy and has huge confidence in his prowess on stage.Yet unlike the fawning treatment he enjoys during his weekly call-ins to Fox News or the adoring atmosphere at rallies, he'll find himself facing a determined rival painting him as "toxic" in front of the entire country."When Joe Biden walks onto the debate stage, it will be the first moment in four years where an American has the opportunity to confront Donald Trump for what he's done," Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist turned outspoken Trump opponent, said on MSNBC.Biden, as the frontrunner, mainly needs just to keep steady. But he'll be up against a man many call a master provocateur -- as with the drugs tweet Sunday."There is virtually no doubt that Trump will try to bait him," David Barker, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, said."Biden does have a history of being thin-skinned." - Who's more ready? - Trump has spent months denigrating Biden's mental state, saying the former vice president is "shot."Biden, though, survived the crucible of the Democratic primary debates earlier this year and has made a string of generally well-received speeches on the campaign trail.And while Trump often takes questions from groups of journalists, it's rare that he'll do the more risky one-on-one televised session with a tough interviewer. Neither has he had to debate an opponent face-to-face since Clinton in 2016."Normally, that first debate is the toughest for the incumbent," said Aaron Kall, director of debate at the University of Michigan and co-author of "Debating The Donald."The debate moderator, Fox News host Chris Wallace, has set topics ranging across the Supreme Court, he pandemic and economic disasters, racism and the integrity of the election itself.But whether Wallace can keep the two men on topic remains to be seen.bur-sms/ch/bbk/st ------------------------------------------------------------- newseriesTrump demands Biden take drug test for first debate By Sebastian Smith =(File Picture+Picture)= ATTENTION - RECASTS, UPDATES with Biden press conference ///Washington, Sept 27, 2020 (AFP) - President Donald Trump demanded Sunday that his Democratic rival Joe Biden take a drug test for their first debate, which will bring them face to face for the first time in the volatile US presidential campaign.Tuesday's clash, coming as Biden leads the charge against Trump's bid to install conservative Amy Coney Barrett in the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg's lifetime seat on the Supreme Coart, will thrust the nail-biting contest into a fierce new stage.For the first time, millions of Americans will watch as the two antagonists -- who depict each other as existential threats to the country -- step into the ring live on television, after months of shadow-boxing.Trump, lagging in the polls, taunted Biden Sunday with the fresh salvo on his mental acuity. "I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night," he tweeted, saying he would take one also. "His Debate performances have been record setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???"The president offered no evidence to support his insinuation, and recently-completed negotiations between the Biden and Trump camps over debate conditions reportedly made no mention of any drug test.When asked by reporters about the demand Sunday, Biden laughed before declining to comment. Both septuagenarians are prone to blunders and gaffes when speaking -- but the 74-year-old Trump has repeatedly depicted the 77-year-old Biden as mentally unfit.Biden has shrugged off such accusations. On Saturday he said he expects "personal attacks and lies" from the president, likening Trump to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.The former vice president has until recently stayed close to his Delaware home due to the challenges of campaigning in person safely during a pandemic. Trump, meanwhile, has been flouting his own government's social distancing guidelines to criss-cross battleground states, speaking frequently at mass rallies where participants are often tightly packed with few masks in sight. - High stakes - Trump sees his nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court -- potentially tilting the court to the right for years -- as a fundamental boost to his troubled campaign.He told Fox & Friends Sunday the Senate will "easily" confirm Barrett before the election, despite furious Democratic opposition.But Biden hit back, accusing Trump of rushing Barrett's nomination in order to launch a new assault on health care.The president and the Republican-held Senate "see an opportunity to overturn the Affordable Care Act on their way out the door," Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.He again urged the Senate to delay the confirmation until after the election, noting that early voting had already begun."Never before in our nation’s history has a Supreme Court justice been nominated and installed while a presidential election is already underway," he said.Barring a huge surprise, Republican senators, who have 53 out of 100 votes in the upper house of Congress, are expected to confirm Barrett. - Confronting Trump - The TV debate will be a wild card.Trump needs to break through the 200,000 coronavirus deaths, the long-lasting economic fallout, and the widespread fatigue at the constant upheaval roiling his administration.He sees himself as a tough guy and has huge confidence in his prowess on stage.Yet unlike the fawning treatment he enjoys during his weekly call-ins to Fox News or the adoring atmosphere at rallies, he'll find himself facing a determined rival painting him as "toxic" in front of the entire country."When Joe Biden walks onto the debate stage, it will be the first moment in four years where an American has the opportunity to confront Donald Trump for what he's done," Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist turned outspoken Trump opponent, said on MSNBC.Frontrunner Biden mainly needs just to keep steady against a man many call a master provocateur."There is virtually no doubt that Trump will try to bait him," David Barker, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, said. - Who's more ready? - Biden, though, survived the Democratic primary debates earlier this year and has made a string of generally well-received speeches on the campaign trail.And while Trump often takes questions from groups of journalists, it's rare that he'll do the more risky one-on-one televised session with a tough interviewer. Neither has he had to debate an opponent face-to-face since Clinton in 2016."Normally, that first debate is the toughest for the incumbent," said Aaron Kall, director of debate at the University of Michigan.The debate moderator, Fox News host Chris Wallace, has set topics ranging across the Supreme Court, the pandemic and economic disasters, racism and the integrity of the election.But whether Wallace can keep the two men on topic remains to be seen.bur-st/bbk -------------------------------------------------------------

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