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President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced tough questions in their final debate Thursday, but the face-off remained civil. On Friday, both candidates sought momentum for the closing sprint to Election Day. Trump rallied in the crucial state of Florida in an attempt to galvanize the senior vote, while Biden, in Delaware, focused on the pandemic. Amna Nawaz reports.
The final debate is behind them, and now it is a sprint to Election Day for President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
They began today trying to build on debate momentum and to address some lingering questions.
Amna Nawaz has our report.
President Trump today rallied in Florida, a last-minute effort to boost the senior vote.
President Donald Trump:
I'm always here to protect you and love, cherish, defend our nation's seniors. Eleven days from now, we're going to win the state of Florida. We're going to win four more years in the White House.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
Vice President Biden, meanwhile, focused on the pandemic, as coronavirus cases surge across the country.
Former Vice President Joe Biden:
We're not learning to live with it. We're learning to die with it. This is a dark winter ahead.
It was the very first topic the candidates debated Thursday night in their second and final face-off.
I take full responsibility. It's not my fault that it came here. It's China's fault.
Folks, I will take care of this. I will end this. I will make sure we have a plan.
In stark contrast to their first debate, derailed by the president's persistent interruptions…
Who is on your list, Joe? Who's on your list?
This is so unpresidential.
… last night was a tightly moderated affair.
All right, Vice President Biden, your response to that.
And then I do have a question for both of you.
Featuring, for the first time, a mute button, granting each candidate two minutes of uninterrupted time before the other could jump in.
Well, I think we have to respond, if I might?
Please, and then I have a follow-up.
Thank you. And I appreciate that.
The candidates still found plenty of space to spar, with Biden often appealing directly to voters.
It's not about his family and my family. It's about your family. And your family's hurting badly.
And Trump dismissing him as a career politician.
The family around the table, I mean, just a typical politician, when I see that. I'm not a typical politician.
On health care, Biden pledged to build on president's Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Former Vice President Joseph Biden:
What I'm going to do is pass Obamacare with a public option to become Bidencare.
While Mr. Trump again promised to end it, though still no details for preexisting conditions protections.
I'd like to terminate Obamacare, come up with a brand-new, beautiful health care.
The two clashed on climate change and renewable energy, arguing deeply divergent views.
Because the oil industry pollutes significantly, because it has to be replaced by renewable energy over time, over time. And I'd stop giving — to the oil industry, I'd stop giving them federal subsidies.
Basically, what he is saying is, he's going to destroy the oil industry. Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma?
And both faced tough questions on immigration, Trump, for his policy separating thousands of migrant families.
They said, look at these cages. President Trump built them. And then it was determined they were built in 2014. That was him.
And Biden for record deportations when he was vice president and a failure to pass comprehensive reform.
We made a mistake. We made — it took too long to get it right. Took too long to get it right. I will be president of the United States, not vice president of the United States.
On questions about race, again, two very different answers.
I never had to tell my daughter, if she's pulled over, make sure she puts for — a traffic stop, put both hands on top of the wheel and don't reach for the glove box, because someone may shoot you.
Nobody has done more for the Black community than Donald Trump. And if you look, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln, possible exception, but the exception of Abraham Lincoln, nobody has done what I have done.
Has anybody already voted?
On issue after issue, even our post-debate panel, featuring voters from six different states, remained divided, on everything from pandemic.
I think Trump put it very well when he said we have to learn to adapt and learn to live with COVID-19.
We should have a leader who is leading, and not ripping off a mask every time he turns around.
To racism in America.
America is a systemic racist country. It didn't start 50 years ago.
Who's been in charge of the system, Trump or Biden?
Despite some heated debate, civility reigned…
I have enjoyed talking with everybody and hearing all your opinions.
And I am so thankful for each one of the panelists that are here, because I've learned so much from each and every one of them.
And the voters largely ended up where they began.
Who changed their minds about who they're voting for? Anyone?
In the coming days, these voters will join the more than 51 million Americans who have already cast their ballots in this presidential election.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Amna Nawaz.
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