Fewer fireworks, more substance: 5 takeaways from the final Biden-Trump debate

By Alex Roarty and David Catanese, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

Biden had taken the past four days off the trail to get ready for the debate. His preparation for this exchange demonstrated that it paid off.

"Biden had a shrewd strategy on Hunter allegations to get it on Trump's taxes and bank account, and it worked," said conservative commentator Rich Lowry.

When Trump returned to Biden's son later in the debate, referring to the "laptop from hell," Biden swiftly extinguished the issue again by branding it Russian disinformation.


Trump has continually tagged Biden as "anti-fracking," a charge the former vice president has denied to the dismay of environmental activists. Biden would only restrict the practice on federal lands.


But in the waning moments of the debate, Trump appeared to spot a potential wedge to be used against Biden, when the Democrat signaled he would transition away from the use of oil over time, by halting federal subsidies.

It wasn't a call for an immediate ban, but it was still a position that the president will undoubtedly attempt to score points on as he campaigns through the industrial Midwest during the final days of the race.

"That's maybe the biggest statement in terms of business," Trump said, his eyes widening during Biden's remarks. "Basically what he's saying is he's going to destroy the oil industry. Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma?"

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