In dueling town halls, Biden's command counters Trump's attacks

www.nbcnews.com
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fairly difficult
Analysis: In dueling town halls, Joe Biden's command of policy counters President Donald Trump's attacks
WASHINGTON — At 8:08 p.m. Thursday, Joe Biden explained why he trusts scientists — and not President Donald Trump — to tell the truth about the effectiveness of anti-coronavirus vaccines and treatments.

"President Trump talks about things that just aren't accurate about everything from vaccines: We're going to have one right away, it's going to happen and so on," Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, said in a town-hall-style interview on ABC.

Seconds later, in a similar interview on NBC, Trump asserted, as he has for months, that the country is "rounding the corner" on neutralizing the disease and that the U.S. is "a winner" on "excess mortality" rates.

"What we've done has been amazing," Trump said. "It's rounding the corner, and we have the vaccines coming and we have the therapies coming."

For just a moment — to anyone watching the two networks simultaneously — it looked like they were debating each other in a newfangled virtual format. But their dual town-hall-duel, brought about when Trump refused to debate remotely after contracting the coronavirus, created a diluted but effective study in contrasts.

Biden demonstrated a command of substance at odds with Trump's caricature of him as intellectually diminished, and Trump revealed that he is more inclined to water down his tone than change course.

Biden, freed from usual debate strictures to speak at length, spent much of the 90-minute event providing context for his thinking on several controversial topics. For example, he reiterated that he breaks from the progressive "Green New Deal" on climate change because he doesn't believe that harmful emissions can be reduced at the rate, or by all of the means, that the proposal demands.

Instead, he said, the economy needs time to "transition" away from fossil fuels, and he dug deep…
Jonathan Allen
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