The tactic to ignore Trump’s distractions and speak directly to the American people helped Biden navigate a chaotic debate, according to analysts and debate experts.
The former vice president didn’t have a great night, they said. He missed opportunities to counter some of Trump’s contentions with key facts and engaged in name-calling himself. But Trump set the bar low for Biden’s performance. And Trump’s barrage of interruptions and insults allowed Biden to look competent, empathetic, and presidential in comparison, said Aaron Kall, an expert on presidential debates at the University of Michigan.
“The best thing he did was, instead of showing his anger and channeling it directly toward Trump, he pivoted in several instances directly toward the camera,” said Kall, editor and coauthor of the 2016 book “Debating the Donald.” “He didn’t speak to Trump. He took his message directly to the viewers — the American people.”