The Commission on Presidential Debates issued a statement after Tuesday’s debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden that said the commission was looking at making adjustments as a result of moderator Chris Wallace losing control of the debate to Trump and Biden who interrupted and talked over each other and Wallace numerous times.
“The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate. Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues. The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly. The Commission is grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.”
Later Wednesday CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell reported the commission is looking at cutting mics, “EXCLUSIVE: @CBSNews has learned the Commission on Presidential Debates plans to issue strict new rules in the coming days that include cutting off a candidate’s microphone if they violate the rules, per an informed source.”
EXCLUSIVE: @CBSNews has learned the Commission on Presidential Debates plans to issue strict new rules in the coming days that include cutting off a candidate’s microphone if they violate the rules, per an informed source.
More tonight on the @CBSEveningNews
— Norah O’Donnell 🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) September 30, 2020
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Former Bush 43 press secretary Ari Fleischer noted that it was Biden who first broke the rules and repeatedly interrupted Trump, “I rewatched the start of the debate. The 1st Q went to Trump who gave an uninterrupted 2-min response. Then Biden gave an uninterrupted 2-min response. Then it went back to Trump, whose answer was interrupted 3 times by Biden. If you didn’t like it, blame Biden for starting it.”
I rewatched the start of the debate. The 1st Q went to Trump who gave an uninterrupted 2-min response. Then Biden gave an uninterrupted 2-min response. Then it went back to Trump, whose answer was interrupted 3 times by Biden. If you didn’t like it, blame Biden for starting it.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) September 30, 2020
Flash back to 2012 when then-Vice President Biden (D) debated Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). A report from the time by ABC’s Good Morning America shows Biden heckling and interrupting Ryan over and over again, reportedly about 82 times. The result: a Saturday Night Live skit and no calls to change the rules or cut mics.
In the 2012 VP debate, Biden interrupted Paul Ryan 82 times, made faces the entire time, and dropped a steady stream of insults on Ryan. The media LOVED it.
In 2020, he came out and tried to use the same tactic on Trump. pic.twitter.com/UZ0UaCyX0O
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) October 1, 2020
Of course, it was all fun and games when Biden brought us this style of debate in 2012. Here’s how SNL saw it: pic.twitter.com/VCf1cEsAEh
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) October 1, 2020
Excerpt from the New York Times report on the debate:
Joe Biden knew Lloyd Bentsen.
Lloyd Bentsen was a friend of Joe Biden’s.
And the vice president made full use of his old Senate colleague’s 1988 debate playbook, shaking his head and scoffing pityingly at Representative Paul D. Ryan, trying to paint his opponent as a latter-day Dan Quayle.
Mr. Ryan was no Dan Quayle, but he did make the mistake of mentioning John F. Kennedy in an argument over whether tax cuts recharge the economy. Mr. Biden flashed a Cheshire Cat grin and said to Ryan, after waiting a beat to let the moment sink in, “So, now you’re Jack Kennedy?”
The vice presidential debate on Tuesday was supposed to be a reboot for the Obama campaign after the president’s dismal performance at his debate with the Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney, last week. Mr. Biden, clearly delighted to come to President Obama’s rescue, relished his role, addressing his opponent as “my friend” but dismissing his arguments as “malarkey.” He laughed at Mr. Ryan’s remarks so often and so heartily that at times he seemed like a guest at a comedy club roast, not a vice president debating the fate of the nation with his opponent.
It was a sharp and spirited debate, with both candidates delivering some lacerating blows, but Mr. Ryan at times seemed disconcerted by the sheer blowhard intensity Mr. Biden brought to the night. Mr. Ryan tried to be respectful, listening to the vice president with a tilted head, choirboy smile and puppy-dog eyes, but he showed his irritation when Mr. Biden kept interrupting to attack his policy on Medicare. “I know you’re under duress,” he told the vice president, prompting another belly laugh.
For Mr. Biden especially, the night was his chance to relive past debates and unleash his inner barroom brawler. He had to be contained and courteous when he debated Sarah Palin four years ago, lest he look like a bully. This time he let loose. And unlike the courtly Mr. Bentsen in 1988, Mr. Biden turned his temperature up, singeing the young man across the table with patronizing grins, but mostly withering retorts. His interruptive barrage was as relentless as his silent mugging for the camera…
Back then this behavior by Biden was accepted as normal politics. But let President Trump do it and the media allied with the debate commission call for the rules to be changed so Trump can be silenced on the debate stage.