Wednesday, 30 September 2020

'That was a s**t show': CNN's Dana Bash offers unfiltered frank assessment of tumultuous first presidential debate - as instant audience poll finds 48% believe Joe Biden emerged victorious compared to just 41% for Trump

 CNN host Dana Bash didn't hold back in her assessment of Tuesday night's tumultuous debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Bash candidly described the uncordial 90 minute ordeal – consisting mostly of the two presidential candidates trading insults and shouting over one another – simply as 'a s**t show'.

'That was a s**t show,' the veteran host exclaimed, 'and, you know, we're on cable. We can say that. Apologies for being, maybe a little bit crude, but that is really the phrase I'm getting from people on both sides of the aisle on text and it's the only phrase I can think of to really describe it.'

Her co-hosts Jake Tapper and Abby Phillip shared the same sentiments, describing the event as a 'hot mess inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck' and as a 'complete disaster', respectively.

Amid the admonishment, an instant poll conducted by CBS found that a majority of 48 percent of viewers thought that Joe Biden won the opening debate, to just 41 percent who believe Trump did. Another 10 percent of the viewership believed the event ended in a tie. 

CNN host Dana Bash didn’t hold back in her assessment of Tuesday night’s tumultuous debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden

CNN host Dana Bash didn't hold back in her assessment of Tuesday night's tumultuous debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden

Bash candidly described the uncordial 90 minute ordeal – consisting in large of the two candidates trading insults and shouting over one another – simply as ‘a s**t show’

Bash candidly described the uncordial 90 minute ordeal – consisting in large of the two candidates trading insults and shouting over one another – simply as 'a s**t show'

The admonishment comes as an instant poll conducted by CBS reported that a majority of 48 percent of viewers believe Joe Biden won the opening debate, to 41 percent who believe Trump did

The admonishment comes as an instant poll conducted by CBS reported that a majority of 48 percent of viewers believe Joe Biden won the opening debate, to 41 percent who believe Trump did


The vast majority of viewers - 83 percent - said the tone of the debate was negative, and the most common reaction to the proceedings was annoyance, the poll found. 

A similar CNN audience poll yielded even less favourable results for Trump. A landslide 60 percent of pollsters ruled a Biden victory, with only 28 percent backing the incumbent.

Bash, along with Tapper and Phillips, denounced the debate in its entirety, blaming moderator Chris Wallace – an anchor for rival Fox News – for failing to get a reign on proceedings.

NBC's Chuck Todd described the debate as a 'train wreck', blaming Trump rather than Biden for the chaos. 

'We know who did it. President Trump did this,' said Todd. 

'In some ways it's the only way he knows what he do - he bulldozed over the moderator, he bulldozed and at times flustered Joe Biden but I don't know if anyone wouldn't have been flustered by the president's behavior. 

'I don't know how that helped anybody. If you were watching this as an undecided voter, I don't know if it helped at all. I don't know what you learned.'

He added: 'I think a lot of people are going to look at this and feel perhaps a tad empathetic for anybody that had to participate in this.'  

Meanwhile, veteran commentator Andrea Mitchell said on NBC that the debate was 'such a hot mess' - criticizing the format which allowed Trump to hector both Biden and Wallace. 

'You have to fault the moderator and the way the questions were posed once President Trump was rolling over them and bulldozing them, because they didn't talk about Covid nearly as much as race and violence and protest,' she said. 

'It was really in the ball park of the president because he kept bringing things back to that issue and not letting Joe Biden answer a question. 

'So by blowing it all up and running roughshod over everyone else, he didn't let Joe Biden make the points that he was prepared to make.'  

Barely had the night begun when the two candidates began name calling and fighting, with Biden asking Trump to shut up and slapping him down as the president repeatedly interrupted his answers.

'Would you shut up, man?,' a visibly exasperated Biden said about 20 minutes into the debate after Trump interrupted him again as he tried to talk about the Supreme Court.

And, about 15 minutes later during a discussion on the COVID pandemic, he told Trump again: 'Would you just shush for a minute?'

The president tried to command the stage from out of the box, interrupting his rival repeatedly to make his point, counter Biden, and push himself into the conversation.

It happened so many times that Fox News' Wallace stepped in, asking the president to let Biden finish his answer.

'I'm the moderator of this debate and I would like you to let me ask my question and then you can answer,' Wallace said told Trump.

'Go ahead then,' Trump said and then later adding to Wallace: 'I guess I'm debating you, not him. No surprise.'

At other points, Biden called Trump a 'clown' and a 'liar'; Trump, meanwhile urged Biden to never 'use the word 'smart' with him, saying: 'There's nothing smart about you Joe.'

Tapper summarized the event during Tuesday night's post-debate coverage as 'the worst debate I have ever seen – in fact it wasn't even a debate. It was a disgrace.'

The CNN staple placed the majority of the blame for the apparent lack of decorum on President Trump, who he said 'spent the entire time interrupting; not abiding by the rules he agreed to; lying; maliciously attacking the son of the Vice President'.

Tapper also voiced astonishment at the president's seeming refusal to publicly condemn white supremacists and militia groups when pressed by Wallace.

Instead Trump mention the Proud Boys, a neo-Nazi fascist group, urging them to 'stand down and stand by', before insisting 'somebody has got to do something about Antifa'.

'I will talk about who won the debate and who lost the debate,' Tapper said. 'But I can tell you one thing for sure: the American people lost tonight – because that was horrific.'

Bash agreed, telling Tapper he had 'just taken the words' out of her mouth. She said: 'The people who have been hurt the most by that are the people who are genuinely looking to see what each candidate stands for and who they should vote for.

'There are still people out there who haven't made up their mind,' Bash continued, speculating the clash could even discourage Americans from voting.

She characterized the debate as a 'bad reality TV show'.

'Yeah it was a complete disaster on all fronts,' Phillip concurred. 'I think if you came into this thinking that two men in their 70s who want to be leaders of the free world for the next four years could have a reasonable exchange of ideas, you came away from this debate thinking that's not possible.


Barely had the night begun when the two candidates began name calling and fighting, with Biden asking Trump to shut up and slapping him down as the president repeatedly interrupted his answers.
An exasperate Joe Biden is shown above

Barely had the night begun when the two candidates began name calling and fighting, with Biden asking Trump to shut up and slapping him down as the president repeatedly interrupted his answers.

Tapper summarised the event during Tuesday night’s post-debate coverage as ‘the worst debate I have ever seen – in fact it wasn’t even a debate. It was a disgrace'

Tapper summarised the event during Tuesday night's post-debate coverage as 'the worst debate I have ever seen – in fact it wasn't even a debate. It was a disgrace'

'You could hardly even hear them at some points there was so much cross talk.'

Much like Tapper, Phillip said she wanted to be clear that must of the disruption came from one side of the stage: President Trump's.

'There was one party on that stage interrupting, yelling over the moderator,' she said. 'The president was in a very agitated state very early on in the debate and the tone was set from that point.'

The 90-minute showdown between the presidential contenders proved early on that it would a be a knock-out, drag-down match, as they squared off over the Supreme Court, handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump's taxes, Hunter Biden's business dealings and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Trump twice leveled slashing attacks on Biden's son Hunter about his business dealings and struggles with drug addiction.

Trump, aided by fresh research from a Republican-run committee, tore into Hunter Biden's overseas business arrangements including deals while Joe Biden was serving as vice president.

But after one angry attack, Biden sought to turn the tables, vaguely referencing Trump's kin and telling the camera: 'This is not about family. It's about your family.'

‘Yeah it was a complete disaster on all fronts,’ Abby Phillip concurred. ‘I think if you came into this thinking that two men in their 70s who want to be leaders of the free world for the next four years could have a reasonable exchange of ideas, you came away from this debate thinking that’s not possible.

'Yeah it was a complete disaster on all fronts,' Abby Phillip concurred. 'I think if you came into this thinking that two men in their 70s who want to be leaders of the free world for the next four years could have a reasonable exchange of ideas, you came away from this debate thinking that's not possible.

Trump also refused to say when he would finally release his tax returns as he as long promised, but took the time to discredit a recent New York Times report that claimed he had only paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he ran for president and first year he served in office.

'I paid $38 million one year, I paid $27 million one year. I went –' the president said, but was interrupted again by Biden.

'Show us your tax returns,' the former vice president insisted.

'You'll see it as soon as it's finished. You'll see it,' Trump said.

'Oh,' Biden sarcastically conceded.

Biden quickly used that as a point of attack, saying Trump 'does take advantage of the tax code' and 'pays less tax than a schoolteacher.'

Trump shrugged off the attack, saying that all business leaders do the same 'unless they are stupid.'

President Donald Trump twice leveled slashing attacks on Joe Biden's son Hunter about his business dealings and struggles with drug addiction

President Donald Trump twice leveled slashing attacks on Joe Biden's son Hunter about his business dealings and struggles with drug addiction

Biden, on several occasions, accused Trump of being a racist. Trump was defending his decision to end racial sensitivity training for federal workers when his Democratic rival hit him with the label.

Biden, on several occasions, accused Trump of being a racist. Trump was defending his decision to end racial sensitivity training for federal workers when his Democratic rival hit him with the label.

Biden, on several occasions also accused Trump of being a racist. Trump was defending his decision to end racial sensitivity training for federal workers when his Democratic rival hit him with the label.

The president said the training was resulting in 'very sick ideas' and teaching people 'to hate our country.'

'If you look at the people, we were paying people hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach very bad ideas and frankly, very sick ideas. It really, they were teaching people to hate our country. And I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to allow that to happen. We have to go back to the core values of this country,' Trump said.

'Nobody is doing that. He's racist,' Biden said.

Trump skirted a question from Wallace about whether he was willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups.

'I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not the right wing,' Trump responded. 'I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace.'

When pressed further, Trump said, 'What do you want to call them? Give me a name. Give me a name?'

Finally, he said, 'Proud Boys — Stand back, stand by, but I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not right-wing problem..... This is a left wing problem.'

Antifa followers have appeared at anti-racism protests, but there's been little evidence behind Republican claims that antifa members are to blame for the violence at such protests.

Trump infamously said there were good people 'on both sides' after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to the death of a counter-protester.

The 2020 vice-presidential candidates, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, will be the next to face off on the debate stage. The pair will go head-to-head on Wednesday, October 7, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The president and former VP will meet again for a town hall-style debate October 15 and then for a third and final debate October 22.

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