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Published on October 23, 2020 10:13 PM

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Trump comes out strong. But is it too late?
Had Donald Trump debated three weeks ago the way he did Thursday, he might be in a better place.

His defense of his handling of the pandemic was cogent. He aligned himself with the public health experts he's previously attacked. He took credit for a robust stock market.

ut there was no winning this debate — not 12 days out from an election in which 47 million people have already voted and the number of people who say they're undecided is roughly equal to the number of people who lie. Instead, the final 2020 debate functioned largely as one last, 90-minute distillation of everything that has burned Trump all year.

Right at the start, the moderator, Kristen Welker, read to Americans the list of horrors: the number of people hospitalized, the thousands of people who have died since the candidates last debated. The country, Welker said, "is heading into a dangerous new phase."

Then Biden piled on. "If you hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this," he said, saying anyone responsible for as many deaths as the United States has ...