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Interruptions Become Focal Point Of First Presidential Debate

Joe Biden campaigned in Columbus before Ohio's pandemic shutdowns. Donald Trump frequently campaigned in Ohio in 2016, including at John Glenn Interntional Airport.
Dan Konik/Andy Chow

The first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in Cleveland was raucous with Trump interrupting his opponent throughout the event. Supporters of both candidates say the style of the debate draws a contrast between the two candidates.

Columbus City Attorney and Biden supporter Zach Klein says Trump brought “drama and chaos” to the debate, which may have caused many people to turn it off. 

“I can understand viewers walking away from this frustrated but the reality is there is a mature, experienced leader on the stage and that was Vice President Biden and I think we saw that very clearly tonight in spades,” says Klein. 

But Marc Lotter, director of strategic communications for the Trump/Pence campaign, says the president was using a common debate tactic seen in other debates from all levels of government.

“When we’re talking about things that are truly important about the future of our country, about a president who’s going to fight to bring our jobs back it’s important that we not just let a clock decide it, we need to have a thorough discussion,” says Lotter.

Trump supporters say the president was able to lay out his record of success with the economy and what he can do during another term in office.

“In contrast I mean I don’t think Joe Biden even knows what his plans are anymore,” says Lotter. “He’s now trying to suddenly distance himself from his manifesto that Bernie Sanders wrote. He does, or doesn’t support the Green New Deal, I mean he was all over the place tonight.”

Biden supporters say the former vice president was able to keep calm under pressure and deliver to the American people an alternative for the last four years.

“Vice President Biden is the leader of this moment. The leader that can take this country out of chaos and turn it into calm leadership,” says Klein. “To get us out of the coronavirus and get us out of the pandemic, turn around the country, provide health care for everyone and allow people to live their lives the way they want to be without the drama and chaos of the Trump administration.”

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