President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off Oct. 22 for their final debate ahead of the 2020 election. The 90-minute debate moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker was held at 9 p.m. EDT at Belmont University in Nashville.
As in previous debates this fall, the candidates did not shake hands and there was no large live audience, following public health guidelines as the country continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. But, after a chaotic interruption-filled first debate, and a canceled second debate, which the Commission on Presidential Debates had intended to conduct virtually following Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, the final meeting of the candidates featured a few new rules.
The scaled-back audience — largely family and staff — was required to wear masks. And each candidate would have his microphone muted during the other’s opening two-minute response to each of the six debate topics, so that they both had an opportunity to speak without interruption. After initial answers, candidates didn’t have their microphones muted during open discussion, but interruptions like those that marred the first debate would’ve count toward their allotted time.
With a week and a half until Election Day, pressure is mounting for the candidates, their campaign teams and their parties. But what are voters thinking?
To take the pulse of what matters most to Americans in this moment, PBS NewsHour’s Amna Nawaz moderated a live panel with six voters following tonight’s presidential debate.
Watch Amna Nawaz’s discussion with voters from across the country in the player above.
Meet the voters:
Sean Shewmake is a 47-year-old spoken word artist and real estate agent living in the suburbs of Atlanta. He said he voted for Obama in 2008, but quickly became disillusioned with his “establishment” politics, and in 2016 voted for Trump.
Bruce Penuel is a 68-year-old retired police officer from Collegeville, Pennsylvania. He says he thinks Biden is too old to be considered a good candidate and thinks Trump has the ability to do good things if “he just keeps his mouth shut.”
Scarlett Hronek is a 25-year-old teacher living in Summerville, South Carolina. She plans to vote for Trump in November because she believes the Republican Party is more aligned with her socially conservative values and support of the military.
Austin Lucous is a 21-year-old college senior at Wright University in Dayton, Ohio. Though he said his parents are solidly Republican and he voted for Trump in 2016, he is supporting Biden this election season.
Lorraine Zapata is a 58-year-old elementary school principal from Lancaster, California. She said she is voting for Biden because of his record on health care and diversity issues.
Lexton Smith is a 66-year-old retired executive chef and former restaurant owner from Camden, New Jersey. He counts issues of race among the top reasons he plans to vote for Biden this November.
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