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STORY BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD - USA TODAY

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Published on September 30, 2020 12:33 AM

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Presidential debate didn't help Trump catch Biden, but horror show scared America
Presidential debate didn't help Trump catch Biden, but horror show scared America. Our View: Donald Trump the bully and Joe Biden the acceptable stressed to Americans that the United States is infected with more than COVID-19.

In the midst of a deadly coronavirus pandemic, economic distress and racial turmoil, American voters deserved a serious exploration of the nation's problems and the range of solutions. Instead, they got a chaotic insult fest that was like one of those awful 90-minute movies that leave the audience dumber than when it went into the theater.

Entering Tuesday night's clash in Cleveland, it was clear what each presidential nominee had to accomplish.

For Democrat Joe Biden, the task was to present himself as an acceptable alternative for anyone turned off by President Donald Trump. Biden has spent his lengthy career being just that: acceptable, nothing extraordinary, but not too hot, not too cold; not too hard, not too soft; not too liberal, not too conservative. At 77, his remaining task was to prove he is not too old, or too solicitous of the ...