President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden squared off in their second and final debate of the 2020 election cycle on Oct. 22.
Watch special coverage of the first presidential debate in the player above.
The incumbent and his Democratic challenger shared the stage at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, in front of moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News. Thursday’s debate was meant to be the third and final of the election season, but the debate scheduled for Oct. 15 was canceled, after the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis prompted the Committee on Presidential Debates to make the debate virtual, and Trump refused to participate. Biden instead scheduled a town hall that night, and the president later scheduled his own town hall for the same time.
This 90-minute debate, which started at 9 p.m. EDT, was split into six 15-minute segments, with no ad breaks. The topics as set by Welker were, in no particular order: Fighting COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security, and leadership.
After a chaotic first debate, the CPD announced that they would be considering rules changes in order to “ensure a more orderly discussion.” On Monday night, it was announced that each candidate would have his microphone muted during the other’s opening two-minute response to each of the six debate topics. After initial answers, candidates will not have their microphones muted during open discussion, but interruptions like those that marred the first debate will count toward their time in the debate Thursday.
Debate night schedule
Digital coverage started at 7 p.m. with segments on key election issues.
At 8 p.m., senior political reporter Daniel Bush hosted a debate pre-show featuring correspondents Lisa Desjardins and Yamiche Alcindor reporting the latest on the candidates. He also talked to the NewsHour’s William Brangham about election security and University of Chicago history professor Destin Jenkins about race and the economy. Georgia Public Broadcasting producer Bill Nigut and South Florida public radio correspondent Tom Hudson joined to talk about their states, both of which are key battlegrounds in the presidential election where early voting is underway.
At 9 p.m. the debate kicked off, and NewsHour correspondents, producers and reporters live-tweeted to provide insights and analysis. When the debate ended around 10:30 p.m., Newshour continued coverage with a post-show analysis on air and online. Then at 11 p.m., correspondent Amna Nawaz hosted a live, digital-only voter panel talking to voters about their reactions to the debate.