Members of Newsday’s editorial board chatted live as the presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump debated on Oct. 22. Here are their key takeaways:
Rita Ciolli editor of the editorial pages: ☆☆ 2/5 for Trump. Trump acted presidential but still gave no reason for a second term, especially on how he would handle the virus. ☆☆☆☆ 4/5 for Biden. Biden made a compelling, emotionally connecting appeal for calm and reason and effectively using the machinery of government to rid us of this plague.
Mark Chiusano editorial writer: ☆☆ 2/5 for Trump. Really hard to give much plaudits beyond entertainment for a performance that said essentially nothing about plans for a new term. ☆☆☆ 3/5 for Biden. Effectively parried attacks and redirected a lot of the focus back to COVID-19, a seemingly decent strategy while we're still months into this pandemic.
Matt Davies cartoonist: ☆☆☆☆ 4/5 for Biden. He did better than I expected, and articulated a concern for working Americans. ☆☆☆ 3/5 for Trump. He also did way better than expected, but he retreated to his base once again.
Michael Dobie editorial writer: ☆☆☆☆☆ 5/5 for Biden. ☆☆☆☆ 4/5 for Trump. The president might have given his best debate performance ever and was fairly disciplined, but he was beaten easily by a Biden at the top of his game. The former VP was passionate at the right times, pressed his lines of attack on the president, had a plethora of memorable lines, and hit a home run on the final question.
Lane Filler editorial writer: ☆☆☆☆☆ 5/5 for Biden. ☆☆☆ 3/5 for Trump. Biden looked and sounded like the president of the United States. A good one. Donald Trump sounded like the president of the United States too, but a bad one.
Randi F. Marshall editorial writer: ☆☆☆☆☆ 5/5 for Biden. ☆☆☆ 3/5 for Trump. Just because Trump didn't scream or interrupt doesn't mean his performance wasn't still filled with too many lies and too little substance. But he likely appealed to his base, and he didn't hurt himself too badly. Biden, on the other hand, had perhaps his best debate performance ever. He showed what a president can and should be, and anyone who could possibly be on the fence could be swayed by that. At the same time, I don't think any minds were changed tonight.
Cathy Young columnist: ☆☆☆☆ 4/5 for Biden. ☆☆ (maybe ☆☆ + 1/2) 2/5 for Trump. Biden was remarkably self-confident, vigorous and forceful, seemed very well-informed, and had some very memorable lines (and stressed the "decency" angle). Trump didn't do anything outrageous and had some decent arguments, but his refrain that Biden didn't get much done as VP seems like a non-starter, and I think he really stumbled on the final question.
Live analysis from during the debate: