(NEXSTAR) – The notion of “looking presidential” went out the window early in Tuesday’s debate in Cleveland between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Within minutes of taking the stage, the candidates began speaking over each other, muddling their messages to the American public and devolving the supposed debate into an exchange largely divorced from real solutions to the economic and health crises facing the country.
Mr. Trump seemed intent on disrupting his opponent, even forcing host Chris Wallace to stop the proceedings and ask him to adhere to the debate rules and allow his opponent to speak. At one point, after being badgered by Trump during a segment on the Supreme Court, Biden asked of the president “will you shut up, man?”
Author Jill Filipovic called it the moment of the night, before referencing Hillary Clinton’s restraint under similar circumstances in 2016. Her comment drew a response from Clinton herself.
In many ways, the focus on racism, Trumps credibility and competence mirrored the first debate of 2016, however Clinton avoided the same level of back and forth bickering that Biden and Trump undertook Tuesday.
Like Clinton, Biden has a clear polling lead just over a month out from the election. Though Biden enjoys a slightly larger margin in battleground states that swung the 2016 campaign. There are also fewer remaining undecided voters than in 2016, and it remains to be seen how those few voters were swayed by what they saw on stage in Cleveland Tuesday night.