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  • Writer's pictureOlga Nesterova

OPINION: The first Presidential Debate that shook the world

Biden vs Trump - the first Presidential Debate 2024, CNN
Biden vs Trump - the first Presidential Debate 2024, CNN

Last night the world had witnessed a debate between the current and former Presidents of the United States who could account for quite the opposite achievements within the past 3.5 years. One was bringing the country back on its feet while the other was collecting felonies in courts across the nation.

Here’s my humble take on what did occur.

When it comes to Biden, we generally see a solid administration and team behind his performance. Which, sadly, didn’t lead to a quite smooth sailing at the debate. Biden seemed overly prepared for a different kind of debate. In fact, at some point it was shared that he had his final TWO rehearsals of the full 90 minute debate on the same day of the actual facedown.

While this debate was optical, fast paced, clickbait-driven, aggressive and unsubstantial, Biden seemingly was prepared for a policy rundown which he wasn’t able to master within the time constraints set by CNN that allowed for only 2 minute statements and 1 min rebuttals. These rules had to be the core fundamental basis behind the debate prep and seemingly were ignored. Media’s notion that Biden’s one job was to convince voters that age was not a factor is exactly what failed him. His job was to showcase his strengths, which are, in fact, his policies, the people-factor and character. These would shine in a townhall setting, especially against such opponent as Trump.

Trump had an equally slow start looking deflated compared to his earlier self prior to the pornstar hush money trial. If he were to debate that version of himself, he would’ve lost by a landslide. He stuck to his old guns - lies, yet could remember only a few. The repeated notion about our “country being a disaster” and Biden “being the worst president” felt flat, repetitive and, equally, less than entertaining. People who tuned in for his charisma, failed to get satisfied.

Factchecking was not on CNN’s agenda nor in their plans, which led to approximately 30 lies stated by Trump. Were they waiting on Biden to do their job within the limited time he was allocated?

There was indeed no winner, but there was and is a lot of confusion which was fuelled by CNN’s “commentary” that followed the debate. Every single anchor and analyst repeated a mysterious statement referring to a “senior democratic official” who was “calling for Biden to step down immediately.” We still wait to find out who that mysterious individual was given that none of Biden/Harris staffers nor executives have voiced their opinion.

After the debate concluded Biden stopped by the democratic watch party addressing the crowd as the Joe we were hoping to see at the debate. He also mentioned that “it was tough to debate a liar” while his campaign confirmed that the President had a cold, hence his raspy voice and soft spoken style of the debate. In the clip shared across social media from the watch party Biden appeared to be upbeat, quite active and charismatic talking to his supporters directly while sharing the stage with Dr. Jill Biden as the crowd chanted “four more years.”

As to Trump, he arrived alone and left unannounced. There was no family support nor a follow up on his performance rather than the Republican party’s upbeat mood post debate.

In my opinion, the biggest surprise was served by the CNN itself that seemed to have made a complete “180” culminating their expansion efforts to the right wing demographic with a quite pathetic “interview” post debate conducted by Anderson Cooper who continuously interrupted Madam Vice President Harris. His attempts to “grill her” as to whether she works with the “same old Biden we saw today” felt provocative, unnecessary and quite flat, whereas the VP shone bright despite the interview style drawing a wave of admiration from the advisers and fellow politicians.

Altogether, I share two concerns. One is the question of why Biden/Harris campaign agreed to debate a convicted felon before he was even an officially nominated candidate in the first place, and then failed to prepare the President for the actual debate style he was facing. Second would be the vivid desperation of CNN to expand their fanbase to include MAGA as they struggle to maintain their budged amid the financial uncertainties.

Altogether, it was a night that needs to be digested and, perhaps, forgotten for the sake of democracy that still faces its main opponent in the face of Project 2025.


PS from me to you. Please read.

This election is more than just Biden versus Trump. It’s about the democracy and constitution versus Project 2025. For me as a White House correspondent it doesn’t matter which administration I report on. I’m not paid by neither. But for me as an American citizen though, it is important which country I live in. For me as a woman it is important which rights I have. For me as a Ukrainian born American citizen it matters what is being done for my birth country. For me as a European born American citizen it matters what is being done in Europe and whether there is a war. For me as a daughter, it is important if my parents have access to care. So for those reasons, I’m asking you to think broader. To get out of the “he said - she said” level of conversation and realise that elections and actions have consequences.


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