This is a rush transcript from â€œThe Story with Martha MacCallum” September 29, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWSÂ ANCHOR:Â AndÂ I’m Bret Baier. WeÂ areÂ just two hoursÂ away fromÂ theÂ first presidential debate ofÂ theÂ 2020 election cycle hereÂ inÂ Cleveland, Ohio. One poll says nearly threeÂ inÂ four registered voters plan to tuneÂ inÂ to see President Trump face offÂ againstÂ Democratic nominee Joe Biden tonight.Â
MACCALLUM:Â FireworksÂ areÂ anticipatedÂ asÂ theshowdownÂ comesÂ againstÂ aÂ tenseÂ backdropÂ inÂ thenation.Â AÂ SupremeÂ CourtÂ battle,Â racialÂ unrest,Â andÂ aworldwideÂ pandemic.
BAIER: It’ll be 90 minutes ofÂ in-person, unscripted, uninterrupted debate moderated by our own Chris Wallace.Â AndÂ withÂ theÂ election only 35 daysÂ away, both candidates will be working to solidifyÂ their baseÂ andÂ pick up some undecided voters ifÂ they can,Â andÂ they paintÂ their opponent unworthy of office.
MACCALLUM: So,Â asÂ theÂ opening question ticks closer. Let’s checkÂ inÂ withÂ theÂ outlook withÂ theÂ – forÂ theÂ Biden campaign with correspondent Peter Doocy. Good evening, Peter.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Martha, good evening.Â AndÂ when Joe Biden gets hard questions, he sometimes reacts harshly, like six monthsÂ ago when he was challenged byÂ aÂ factory workerÂ about his record onÂ theÂ SecondÂ Amendment.
DOOCY: But ifÂ there’s one kind of question that Biden really doesn’t like, it’sÂ theÂ kindÂ about whether or not he’s still got it, like this one fromÂ aÂ reporter curiousÂ about whether Biden had takenÂ aÂ cognitive test.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)Â
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: No, I haven’t takenÂ aÂ test, whyÂ theÂ hell would I takeÂ aÂ test? Come on, man. That’s like saying you before you got this program, you takeÂ aÂ test where you’re taking cocaine or not. What do you think?Â AreÂ youÂ ajunkie?
(END VIDEO CLIP)Â
DOOCY:Â AndÂ theÂ Trump team is signalingÂ they plan to tryÂ andÂ elevate questionsÂ about Biden’s mentalÂ abilityÂ andÂ about his son, Hunter BidenÂ atÂ thedebate tonight.Â AndÂ we haveÂ already seen how he reacts when voters streamline those storylinesÂ intoÂ asingle query.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)Â
BIDEN: Goddamn liar, man. That’s not true. Let him go. Look,Â theÂ reason I’m running is because I’ve beenÂ aroundÂ aÂ long timeÂ andÂ I know more than most people knowÂ andÂ I can get things done.Â Andthat’s why I’m running.Â AndÂ you want to check my Shavon. Let’s do pushups together, man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)Â
DOOCY:Â ThereÂ areÂ not many places to run outside ofÂ theÂ debate hall here because ofÂ allÂ theÂ Secret Service fences, but we do expect to see BidenÂ andTrump’s motorcades rolling here toÂ theÂ debate site momentarily. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Exciting night. Peter, thank you very much. So, joining us now with what to expect from Joe Biden tonight is former presidential candidateÂ andÂ former mayor of South Bend,Â Indiana, Pete Buttigieg who is nowÂ aÂ surrogate forÂ theÂ Biden campaign. Mayor Pete, great to have you with us tonight. Thank you for being here.Â
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be with you.Â
MACCALLUM: So, I can’t help but wonder, when you lookÂ at tonight, you might thinkÂ about what might have been,Â there wasÂ aÂ time when you were one ofÂ theÂ front runnersÂ inÂ this group of candidates who is running.Â AndÂ I just want to look back toÂ aÂ moment onÂ aÂ former debate stage. This is between youÂ andtheÂ former vice president Joe Biden. Watch.Â
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)Â
BUTTIGIEG: We needÂ aÂ perspective right now that will finallyÂ allow us to leaveÂ theÂ politics ofÂ theÂ past,Â inÂ theÂ past, turnÂ theÂ pageÂ andÂ bring change to Washington before it’s too late.
BIDEN: Politics ofÂ theÂ past. I think we’re notÂ all that bad. So, I don’t know whatÂ aboutÂ theÂ past of Barack ObamaÂ andÂ Joe Biden was so bad. What happened? What is it that he wants to doÂ away with? We were just beginning.Â
BUTTIGIEG: ThoseÂ achievements were phenomenally important becauseÂ they metÂ theÂ moment. But now we have to meet this momentÂ andÂ this moment is different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)Â
MACCALLUM: So, youÂ arguedÂ at that point that it was time to turnÂ theÂ page, thatÂ theÂ momentÂ inAmerica is different nowÂ andÂ Joe Biden obviously wasÂ theÂ winnerÂ inÂ that primary contest. But one ofÂ theÂ biggest points thatÂ theÂ president will bring upÂ againstÂ him is that he’s beenÂ inÂ Washington for 47 years. So, what do you thinkÂ about thatÂ asÂ we get ready for tonight?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, I think what we’re going to see tonight is two very different people with two very different ideas of what matters. We’re going to see President Trump turn onÂ theÂ distraction machine like heÂ always does.Â
He’ll think up some crazy to getÂ theÂ Twitter sphere going.Â AndÂ Vice President Biden is going to be talkingÂ about us, not us, political figures, us,Â theAmerican people,Â andÂ how our lives would be differentÂ andÂ better.Â
If we hadÂ aÂ president whoÂ actually leveled withÂ theAmerican peopleÂ instead of lyingÂ aboutÂ theCoronavirus, president whoÂ actually understood what it was like to come upÂ inÂ theÂ middle classÂ instead of being bornÂ aÂ multimillionaireÂ andÂ then using tax tricks not to have to pay his share, you’re just going to see two fundamentally different people with fundamentally different visions.Â AndÂ onÂ theissues,Â theÂ American peopleÂ alreadyÂ agree with Joe Biden. So, I’m looking forward to seeing him make that case tonight.
MACCALLUM: You didÂ argue, though, that it was time to turnÂ theÂ page.Â AndÂ one ofÂ theÂ things that you talkedÂ about wasÂ theÂ need toÂ increaseÂ thenumbers onÂ theÂ SupremeÂ Court. Now, that isÂ an issue that could be frontÂ andÂ center.Â AndÂ yet Joe Biden whenÂ askedÂ about itÂ andÂ Kamala HarrisÂ asÂ well whenÂ askedÂ about it today, refused toÂ answer that question. What do you say toÂ themÂ about that?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, I thinkÂ their focus right now is onÂ avery immediate fight that’s coming beforeÂ theSenateÂ inÂ aÂ matter of days.Â AndÂ it’s got very real, very personal implications for so manyÂ Americans,Â including members of my family. I mean, remember,Â theÂ SupremeÂ CourtÂ could throw out pre- existing condition coverageÂ inÂ aÂ matter of days. This isÂ anÂ incredibly immediate concern.Â And, you know, we’ve gotÂ all kinds of viewsÂ inÂ our party.Â AndÂ I’mÂ aÂ big fan of bipartisan reforms to reduceÂ theÂ politicization ofÂ theÂ bench.Â
Right now, we’ve gotÂ aÂ much more immediate issue on our hands.Â AndÂ I’m withÂ theÂ majority ofÂ theAmerican people who believe thatÂ theÂ next president ought to pickÂ theÂ nextÂ SupremeÂ Courtjustice.Â AndÂ this isÂ another example of whereÂ theAmerican peopleÂ alreadyÂ agree with Joe Biden. So, I’m looking forward to seeing him haveÂ theopportunity to speak directly toÂ theÂ American people tonight.
MACCALLUM: But nonetheless, this isÂ an issue that’s going to come up tonight, I would imagine,Â andÂ I would imagine it’ll come up next weekÂ asÂ well.Â Andyou have been playingÂ theÂ role of Mike PenceÂ inhelping Kamala Harris get ready for that debate. So, what is she going to say when that does come up? Because she dancedÂ aroundÂ theÂ issue today.Â AndÂ I do think it’s something thatÂ Americans do feel isÂ atÂ theÂ forefront of this conversation. IfÂ they choose Joe BidenÂ andÂ this justice is onÂ theÂ bench beforeÂ then, weÂ areÂ likely to seeÂ aÂ situation whereÂ there’sÂ anÂ argument to expandÂ theÂ court.
BUTTIGIEG: Well, I think sheÂ andÂ Vice President Biden, like mostÂ Americans right now,Â areÂ focused on thisÂ appointmentÂ inÂ front of us right now. But we don’t haveÂ theÂ luxury of talkingÂ about I mean, I loveÂ academic issuesÂ about reform,Â andÂ I’ll continue to takeÂ anÂ interestÂ inÂ them. But right now, I mean,Â inÂ amatter of days, our health care is onÂ theÂ line. That’s what mostÂ AmericansÂ areÂ focused on.Â AndÂ that’s what Vice President BidenÂ andÂ Kamala HarrisÂ aregoing to continue to talkÂ about.Â
Because this isn’tÂ about someÂ arcane, obscure point of legalÂ academia. This isÂ about how our lives go differently whenÂ theÂ SupremeÂ CourtÂ does things like takeÂ away our health care. This is deadly serious stuffÂ andÂ we’re not going to get distracted by issues thatÂ areÂ further downÂ theÂ road.
MACCALLUM: So, how do you like playing Mike Pence? We just had him onÂ aÂ little whileÂ ago. You’re both fromÂ Indiana. I would expect that’s one ofÂ thereasons that you were chosen. You have some pretty strong familiarity with him from back home.
BUTTIGIEG: So, I’m not going to getÂ any behindÂ thescenes stuff. But you’re right.Â
MACCALLUM: Come on.Â
BUTTIGIEG: I was Mayor of South Bend when Mike Pence was governor.Â AndÂ look, I don’t envyÂ theÂ job he’s going to have to do next week. You’ve gotÂ aprofessed Christian who’s going to beÂ inÂ theÂ position of defendingÂ theÂ character ofÂ aÂ president who got caught sending hush money toÂ aÂ porn star.Â
You’ve gotÂ theÂ person who has been placedÂ incharge ofÂ theÂ Coronavirus task force leadingÂ thenational response for our country, this country havingÂ theÂ worst Coronavirus outbreakÂ inÂ theÂ world.Â
So, onÂ theÂ issues, he’sÂ inÂ aÂ tough spot, butÂ also say I mean, he’s obviouslyÂ an effective politicianÂ andÂ an effective debater, that’s part of why he is where he is. I’m looking forward to watching that debate, justÂ asÂ I’m looking forward to watchingÂ theÂ debate tonight.Â
MACCALLUM:Â AsÂ areÂ we, Mayor Peter Buttigieg, thank you very much. Great to have you here tonight. Thanks for comingÂ in.Â
BUTTIGIEG: Great to be with you. Thanks.
MACCALLUM: So,Â after traveling withÂ theÂ president onÂ Air Force One today, Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan is here with someÂ insight on howÂ thepresident’s feelingÂ ahead ofÂ theÂ big night.
BAIER: Plus, we’ll hear from Mayor Eric Garcetti,Â thenational co-chair of Biden’s campaign. Keep it hereÂ asÂ our continuing coverageÂ ahead of this debate continues.Â
BAIER: President Trump is headingÂ into tonight’s main eventÂ asÂ aÂ bit ofÂ an underdog, trailing Joe Biden byÂ about six pointsÂ inÂ theÂ nationalÂ average of polls,Â aÂ wider margin thanÂ inÂ 2016, when he trailed Hillary Clinton by less than three points headingÂ intotheÂ first debate.
MACCALLUM: So, President TrumpÂ also presented withÂ aÂ surprise fromÂ theÂ Biden-Harris camp todayÂ intheÂ form of tax returns, but not his own. Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts hereÂ inCleveland. Good evening, John.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Martha, Bret, good evening to you. Let’s break that downÂ intoÂ aÂ little bit more granularity. On this day backÂ inÂ 2016. President Trump led Hillary ClintonÂ inÂ theÂ battleground state of Ohio by two points. Today, he trails Joe Biden by just over three.Â
So, President Trump goesÂ into tonight’s debate, not onlyÂ theÂ underdogÂ nationally, butÂ also hereÂ inÂ this importantÂ battleground state.Â
InÂ order to turnÂ around those numbers,Â thepresident’s campaign believes that he needs to hit Joe Biden on hisÂ ability to be president, to do something to make it look like Joe Biden is not up toÂ theÂ job, to either force himÂ into lashing out or makingÂ aÂ mistake during this debate. Trump campaign officials believe thatÂ theÂ best way forÂ thepresident to do that is to goÂ after Joe Biden on Hunter BidenÂ andÂ theÂ millions of dollars that Hunter BidenÂ allegedly madeÂ inÂ Ukraine, ChinaÂ andÂ RussiaÂ andÂ what Joe Biden knewÂ about what his son may have been doing. Listen here to Kayleigh McEnany.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)Â
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:Â TheÂ real questionsÂ areÂ really though, for Hunter Biden. We’ve seen that Senate report. He’s got
$3.5 million fromÂ theÂ Moscow mayor’s wife. President Trump hasÂ theÂ U.S.Â
Treasury. Russia pays Hunter Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)Â
ROBERTS:Â TheÂ president’s biggest vulnerability is likely on his response to coronavirus. Karl Rove saying earlier today thatÂ theÂ president needs to go on offenseÂ andÂ point out what Joe BidenÂ andÂ hisÂ advisers were sayingÂ about Coronavirus, when Biden brings that up tonight, which it’sÂ almost certain that he will.Â
Biden, no doubt, is going to goÂ after President TrumpÂ asÂ well onÂ TheÂ New York Times tax story. BidenÂ adding some fuel toÂ theÂ fire today by releasing hisÂ andÂ his running mate, Kamala Harris, his tax returns. BidenÂ andÂ his wife paying just under $300,000Â inÂ federal taxes onÂ income of just under $1 million. Kamala HarrisÂ andÂ her husband paying more than $1 millionÂ inÂ taxes on some $3.1 millionÂ inincome.Â
Now, BidenÂ andÂ Harris’sÂ income putsÂ them solidlyÂ intheÂ top 1 percent ofÂ income earners, which isn’t exactly working-class salary.Â They will beÂ able to say BretÂ andÂ Martha, thatÂ they paidÂ their fair share of taxes, which may make it difficult forÂ theÂ president to explainÂ inÂ tonight’s debate why he paid so little.
BAIER:Â All right, John, thank you. Here now, LosÂ Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti,Â national co-chair ofÂ theBiden for president campaign. Mayor, thanks for being here.
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D-LA) BIDEN CAMPAIGNÂ NATIONAL CO-CHAIR: Great to be with you, Bret. Thanks for having me.
BAIER: What is former Vice President Biden’s strategy headingÂ into tonight?
GARCETTI: We’ve got so much momentum, we’ve got momentum hereÂ inÂ Ohio, we’ve got momentumÂ inÂ Pennsylvania,Â inÂ fact, President Trump is playing defenseÂ inÂ every one ofÂ theÂ swing states that he won last time.Â AndÂ I think it’s because people can seeÂ theproofÂ inÂ their lives, notÂ about kind of fantastical conspiraciesÂ about earpieces or Russia, butÂ aboutÂ their health care,Â about what’s happened under COVID,Â about our economyÂ andÂ those failed promises ofÂ theÂ incumbent.Â
That’s really what tonight isÂ about. That’s what this election isÂ about,Â aÂ referendumÂ about. If it’s this badÂ after four years of Donald Trump, imagine four more years.Â AndÂ so, we’re excited not to haveÂ aÂ mud fight, but toÂ actually talkÂ about whatÂ American peopleÂ aresuffering throughÂ inÂ our plans to do somethingÂ about it.
BAIER: You rightly point out thatÂ inÂ theÂ national polls,Â andÂ keyÂ battleground states, Joe Biden does hold leadsÂ inÂ theÂ pollsÂ aÂ little bit bigger than Hillary Clinton did. We remember 2016. How much stock doesÂ theÂ campaign,Â theÂ Biden campaign putÂ inpolls?
GARCETTI: Well, we’re taking nothing for granted, I mean, I thinkÂ these pollsÂ areÂ probably even moreÂ accurate than 2016. I thinkÂ thereÂ areÂ fewer people whoÂ areÂ shyÂ about whoÂ they’re voting for, likeÂ in2016. But look, we’re going onÂ aÂ whistle stop tour tomorrowÂ andÂ trains going throughÂ theÂ heartland here of Ohio. Those factory towns like Lordstown where President Trump promisedÂ theÂ factories would come backÂ andÂ they have it going toÂ theworking centers of Pennsylvania.Â
This is really ScrantonÂ againstÂ Wall StreetÂ andÂ ParkÂ Avenue. This isÂ about those folks thatÂ areÂ strugglingÂ atÂ theÂ table who play byÂ theÂ rulesÂ andÂ payÂ their taxesÂ andÂ those who twistÂ theÂ rulesÂ andÂ try to playÂ inÂ their own ways forÂ their own cronies. I think it’s pretty clear toÂ Americans that weÂ all pay more probablyÂ inÂ one month of taxes than President Trump playedÂ inÂ aÂ year. That is something that fundamentally feels un-American, either if you’re rich, no problem, but pay your fair share or if you’re not,Â admit that you’reÂ aÂ failed businessmanÂ andÂ get on with it. But you can’t have it both ways.
BAIER:Â All right.Â TheÂ president obviously pushes back on that storyÂ andÂ we’re calling for him to provide that evidence. He says he’s underÂ audit. I want toÂ ask youÂ aÂ couple more things. One is this push by some progressivesÂ inÂ theÂ nationÂ to defund police departments. We understand whereÂ theformer vice president has said his position is. Your home city of LosÂ Angeles kind of helped lead that by cutting $115 million fromÂ theÂ police budgetÂ inÂ July.Â
But you had places like Minneapolis City Council now openly regrettingÂ their decision to push for that effortÂ asÂ they’re seeing crime onÂ theÂ rise.Â
Do you think this isÂ aÂ big issueÂ inÂ your partyÂ about trying to declare where Joe Biden isÂ andÂ where progressivesÂ areÂ on this issue?
GARCETTI: No, I think it’s very clear for those of us thatÂ areÂ onÂ theÂ front lines that we’re getting haircuts not justÂ inÂ police departments, butÂ inÂ fire departmentsÂ asÂ we put our firefighters onÂ theÂ line,Â infiresÂ inÂ theÂ West, our health care workers whoÂ aredefending usÂ allÂ inÂ saving livesÂ andÂ COVID-19. We haveÂ aÂ president who has not stepped up to help local governmentsÂ andÂ state governments.Â
Joe Biden is notÂ inÂ favor of defundingÂ theÂ police. I’m notÂ inÂ favor of defundingÂ theÂ police. IÂ amÂ inÂ favor of refunding communities that have been overlooked by this president.Â
BAIER: ButÂ theÂ city council did?Â
GARCETTI: No, we have had to cutÂ acrossÂ all of our departments,Â includingÂ theÂ police department. But that is it something that isÂ theÂ result, because this president has not stood up, I think, hereÂ inÂ Ohio,Â themayor of Toledo who put it best. He saidÂ theÂ only personÂ inÂ Ohio who is defendingÂ theÂ police is President Trump by not passingÂ assistance for localÂ andÂ state government. So, we will continue to tellÂ theÂ good stories ofÂ allÂ theÂ first responders that defend livesÂ andÂ putÂ their lives onÂ theÂ line. We had two sheriff’s deputies that were shotÂ andÂ brutallyÂ attackedÂ inÂ LosÂ Angeles County, but we needÂ themoney to supportÂ them.Â
You can’t just say you support first respondersÂ andnotÂ actually fundÂ them withÂ theÂ federal funds that we have been waiting for every single day.Â
TheseÂ areÂ theÂ people whoÂ areÂ saving us from COVID,Â theÂ people whoÂ areÂ saving us from fires.Â AndÂ I think that that squarely lands on President TrumpÂ andÂ hisÂ inability to helpÂ America’s local communities.
BAIER: Well, we’ll hear what President Trump saysÂ about that,Â theÂ issues onÂ theÂ list. Mayor Garcetti, weÂ appreciate your time.
GARCETTI: Real pleasure to be with you. Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM:Â Also, here tonight, Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, who traveled withÂ theÂ president onÂ Air Force One to Cleveland today. Representative Jordan, good to have you with us tonight. Can you tell usÂ aboutÂ theÂ trip here?Â TheÂ president’s been calledÂ an underdogÂ inÂ this race quiteÂ aÂ bit lately. What kind of mood is heÂ inÂ andÂ what’s hisÂ attitudeÂ asÂ he goesÂ into this fight tonight?
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Never underestimate President Trump. He’sÂ inÂ aÂ great mood. Remember, it was five yearsÂ agoÂ inÂ this very city when he first tookÂ theÂ stage, center ofÂ theÂ stage, never leftÂ theÂ center ofÂ theÂ stage, I think redefined politicsÂ inÂ that very first debate hereÂ inÂ Cleveland five yearsÂ ago.Â
So, look, he’s going to talkÂ aboutÂ theÂ amazing things he’s doneÂ inÂ threeÂ andÂ aÂ half years forÂ theÂ American people have done what he said he would do. I mean, you thinkÂ about taxes cut, regulations reduced, economy growingÂ atÂ an unbelievable pace before COVID, wages up for everyone. Lowest unemploymentÂ inÂ 50 years out ofÂ theÂ Iran deal. EmbassyÂ inÂ Jerusalem, hostages’ home from North Korea. New NAFTAÂ agreement, buildingÂ theÂ wall, now rebuilding our economy post-COVID.Â AndÂ of course, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh onÂ theÂ courtÂ andÂ Coney Barrett on deck. That’sÂ amazing recordÂ inÂ threeÂ andaÂ half years. Contrast that with Joe Biden’s fourÂ andaÂ half decadesÂ inÂ public life. That will be what I thinkÂ theÂ American people will see tonightÂ andÂ theyÂ aregoing to see throughoutÂ theÂ remainder of this campaign.
MACCALLUM: So,Â inÂ terms of Joe Biden,Â thepresident has said that Joe Biden hasn’t really been tested. He doesn’t go out forÂ aÂ lot ofÂ interviews. He’s spentÂ aÂ lot ofÂ theÂ portion of this campaign so farÂ inhis basement. He has gotten outÂ inÂ recent weeks.Â AndÂ this isÂ actuallyÂ theÂ first time he’s flown toÂ aswing state. So, what’sÂ theÂ president going to do to sort of reveal what he feelsÂ theÂ media has not?
JORDAN: Well, I think maybeÂ theÂ first thing Joe Biden will do tonight isÂ announce he’s running for president. I mean, for goodness sake, I think for half of this month, he’s putÂ aÂ lid on his campaign, half ofÂ theÂ days of this monthÂ at like 9:30Â inÂ theÂ morning. I don’t know. I mean, maybe you get upÂ andÂ haveÂ acup of coffeeÂ andÂ call itÂ aÂ day. So,Â theÂ American people haven’t seen him for four or five months of this campaign.Â They’ve sure seenÂ theÂ president,Â theschedule he’s keptÂ andÂ theÂ accomplishments he’s done. So,Â again, I think that will be something that will be highlighted tonightÂ asÂ well byÂ theÂ president.Â
Their records, Joe Biden’s lack of engagement withÂ theÂ American people,Â inÂ this case, he’s probablyÂ thefirst guy to run for president by not running for president. I’ve never seenÂ anything like this. So, I’m sure that will come upÂ asÂ well tonightÂ inÂ theÂ debate.
MACCALLUM: So, what IÂ asked you is, what did he reveal onÂ theÂ planeÂ about how he’s going to goÂ after Joe Biden? What’s his strategy? What kind of stance is he–
JORDAN: I’m not going to getÂ into strategyÂ andtactics ofÂ theÂ president.Â
He’ll be ready like heÂ always is. Look,Â theÂ one thing I knowÂ about this president is, he knows how to win. He thinks likeÂ anÂ athlete. He competes.Â
He will be, I think, ready to go tonight. I think he’ll winÂ theÂ debate.
MACCALLUM:Â All right. Before I let you go, halfÂ thenew Reuters poll out tonight. Half ofÂ Americans say thatÂ they don’t believeÂ theÂ president pays enoughÂ intaxes. What do you say to thatÂ andÂ what do you expect we’ll hear on that tonight?
JORDAN: He paid what he owed. He gives back his salary. He’s done it every single year. I mean,Â andÂ he cut taxes forÂ theÂ American people, for every familyÂ inÂ this country. I mean,Â theÂ real question is what did Hunter Biden,Â theÂ Biden family, take fromÂ theRussiansÂ andÂ fromÂ theÂ Chinese,Â all whileÂ thepresident was doing that?Â AndÂ frankly,Â thepresident’s given $1.6 million toÂ theÂ American – back toÂ theÂ Treasury, toÂ theÂ American taxpayer,Â inÂ theÂ fact thatÂ these salaries 400,000, he’s giving it that back eachÂ andÂ every year. I thinkÂ theÂ American peopleÂ appreciate that.
MACCALLUM:Â All right, whatÂ aboutÂ ACA,Â there’s going to beÂ aÂ lot of talkÂ about that thatÂ Americans can’t risk thisÂ SupremeÂ CourtÂ nominee because she’s going to gutÂ ACA if she getsÂ theÂ opportunity. What do you tellÂ themÂ about that? What do you say?
JORDAN: She’sÂ aÂ great pick.Â AndÂ remember,Â theÂ so-calledÂ Affordable CareÂ Act has beenÂ anything, but most people’s healthÂ insurance has went up since President Obama passed that.Â AndÂ never forget. I mean, I think this is so important to understandÂ about Obamacare.Â AllÂ theÂ liesÂ they told usÂ about that whenÂ they passed it.Â
RememberÂ they told us, you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, like your plan, keep your plan.Â They told us premiums will go down.Â They saidÂ they go downÂ average $2500.Â They said deductibles will go down.Â They saidÂ theÂ website was going to work.Â They saidÂ theÂ website was secure.Â They saidÂ these co-opsÂ they created were going to be wonderful. Every single one ofÂ them went bankrupt.Â
So that’sÂ theÂ Affordable CareÂ ActÂ theÂ Democrats think is so great. I want to haveÂ affordableÂ insurance forÂ American families soÂ they can pickÂ theÂ plan that fitsÂ their family’s needÂ andÂ so doesÂ theÂ president ofÂ theÂ United States.Â AndÂ that’s what he’ll fight for. That’s what Republicans will fight for if we’re givenÂ theÂ opportunity on Election Day.
MACCALLUM: Congressman Jordan, thank you very much. Good to have you here tonight.
JORDAN: You bet. Thank you, Martha.
BAIER: Up next,Â theÂ governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, on howÂ theÂ issue of
COVID-19 could play prominently for both candidates tonight, come back to Cleveland.
BAIER:Â AmongÂ theÂ topics of tonight’s presidential debate, COVID-19 devastating toll onÂ American lifeÂ andÂ livelihoodÂ andÂ how President Trump has responded toÂ theÂ crisis.
MACCALLUM: I recently sat down with women voters hereÂ inÂ an Ohio suburb called North Olmstead,Â andÂ they talkedÂ about this topic. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)Â
COLLEEN, OHIO STAY-AT-HOME MOM:Â TheÂ casesÂ areÂ being hyped, but it’s clearÂ theÂ deathsÂ areÂ going down, which matters to me, because we do healthÂ andÂ safety matters. But I do thinkÂ there’s some political gain to it.
DEBORAH BOSNER, OHIO SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: I viewÂ theÂ national response toÂ theÂ virusÂ ascategorically terrible. I’ve been thrilled withÂ theRepublican leadershipÂ inÂ Ohio. I’ve been thrilled withÂ theÂ way that Ohio hasÂ approached it fromÂ aÂ very common sense, science-based perspective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)Â
MACCALLUM: So, joining us now isÂ theÂ Ohio governor, Mike DeWine. Governor, thank you for being here tonight.Â
MIKE DEWINE, OHIO GOVERNOR: Thank you.Â
MACCALLUM: I did haveÂ anÂ interesting conversation withÂ aÂ number of your constituentsÂ theÂ other day.Â AndÂ asÂ you can hearÂ there, Deborah gave you very high marks for how you handled COVIDÂ inÂ Ohio. But she was notÂ aÂ fan of how it was handledÂ atÂ thefederal level.Â AndÂ that continuesÂ inÂ theÂ polls to beÂ aproblem for this president. What do you say to that, toÂ theÂ people of OhioÂ andÂ acrossÂ theÂ country?Â
DEWINE: Well, you know,Â theÂ average voter is not onÂ theÂ calls that we have every week withÂ allÂ thegovernorsÂ andÂ theÂ vice president, sometimes withÂ theÂ president, butÂ theÂ vice president, you know,Â acting forÂ theÂ president, has doneÂ aÂ great job.Â TheseÂ areÂ calls where we just get right down to it, what do you need?Â AndÂ theÂ administration is very, very forthcoming.Â
I think yesterday’sÂ announcement, I will tell you, this could be justÂ aÂ game changer.Â TheseÂ areÂ theseÂ Abbott strip tests thatÂ areÂ inÂ large quality,Â they’re going to be coming to OhioÂ andÂ every stateÂ andÂ theunion.Â
AndÂ asÂ aÂ governor who is fighting this every day, I’m just delighted to have this comingÂ andÂ this isÂ an effort fromÂ theÂ White House,Â they’ve worked withÂ AbbottÂ andÂ they got it doneÂ andÂ it’s going to makeÂ aÂ difference, it’s going to help us on nursing homes. It’s going to help us get more kids backÂ inÂ school, it’s going to help us keep kidsÂ inÂ school.
So, I think it’sÂ aÂ major, major thingÂ andÂ you know, I think when people see that rolled out overÂ theÂ next several weeks,Â theyÂ areÂ going to understand how important it is.Â
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWSÂ ANCHOR: You know, Governor, former Vice President Biden clearly is going to hit this hard, would like to hit COVIDÂ andPresident Trump’s handling of it throughout this debate. You’ve known Joe Biden for yearsÂ andÂ years. How do you see this debateÂ andÂ where it stands goingÂ in?Â
DEWINE: I think peopleÂ areÂ missing, sometimes, but Joe Biden isÂ an excellent debater. I watched him — I sat onÂ theÂ judiciary committee, he was chairman some ofÂ theÂ years, other years he wasÂ theÂ ranking Democrat, but either way, he wasÂ aÂ strong debater, he wentÂ after witnessesÂ inÂ aÂ very expert wayÂ andyou know, if you gotÂ inÂ aÂ debate with him you knew you wereÂ inÂ aÂ tough debate.
So, I think when people lookÂ at what’s going on tonight,Â they need to remember that Joe Biden isÂ an experienced debaterÂ andÂ that’s what you’re going to see tonight.Â
MACCALLUM: I mean, one ofÂ theÂ issues that is sort of unavoidable here is, you know,Â theÂ former vice president’sÂ ageÂ andÂ how he is on his feetÂ andÂ thefact that he has spent so much of this campaign not leavingÂ theÂ house. I mean, what’s yourÂ assessmentÂ asÂ someone who has known him forÂ all those years? Do think he isÂ as, you know, onÂ theÂ moneyÂ andÂ with itÂ asÂ he used to be?Â
DEWINE: Well, I have noÂ indication he’s not. But I think, if you lookÂ at this debate,Â theÂ president, he isÂ theÂ incumbent, he’s beenÂ inÂ people’s living room every single day. Joe Biden, for many voters, even though he’s beenÂ around, beenÂ inÂ politics 47, eight years, whatever.Â
For most voters, even though he was vice president,Â they don’t really focus on somebody untilÂ theÂ point whereÂ they’re going to be potentiallyÂ theÂ next president.Â AndÂ so, for 90 minutes tonight, you know, millions ofÂ AmericansÂ areÂ going to really, to some extent getÂ their real reintroduction to Joe Biden, so I think, you know, he’s gotÂ aÂ lotÂ at stakeÂ andÂ aÂ lot riding — riding on this.Â
BAIER: Well, Governor, we’veÂ appreciated our time hereÂ inÂ ClevelandÂ andÂ theyÂ areÂ doingÂ aÂ great job.Â
DEWINE: I’m glad you’reÂ inÂ Cleveland.
BAIER: Safety wise.Â
DEWINE: Thank you very much, good to be with you.Â AndÂ weÂ also have –Â
MACCALLUM: Good to have you with us.
DEWINE: — we hopeÂ theÂ Indians win tonight, beatÂ theÂ Yankees. So.Â
BAIER: Had to throw thatÂ inÂ there.Â
DEWINE: Good to be with you.
BAIER:Â All right, Governor, thanks.Â
Up next,Â authorities prepare for protests hereÂ inCleveland tonight, possibly, but first we’ll give youÂ atour of our Fox News work space here.Â
This isÂ theÂ Fox campus here forÂ theÂ debate. This isÂ theÂ place where we get COVID tested every day, we got our hand sanitizersÂ andÂ our masks. Every day we get tested.Â TheseÂ areÂ all officesÂ inÂ these trailers.Â
Let me take you toÂ theÂ whole site. It’s pretty impressive, put upÂ inÂ four days. OK, this is engineering, come on up here. This wasÂ all set up, this isÂ allÂ theÂ cameras,Â allÂ theÂ inputsÂ into Fox New YorkÂ andÂ theÂ headquartersÂ andÂ this is how we get broadcast onÂ theÂ air.Â
Over here, we’ve gotÂ theÂ cafeteria.Â There is Donna Brazile.Â There’s Juan WilliamsÂ andÂ socially-distanced cafeteria.Â All right, here’s our greenroom, where we waitÂ around when weÂ areÂ ready to goÂ andÂ thenÂ themakeup, TamaraÂ andÂ allÂ theÂ makeup folks.Â
All right. Come on up. It’s Mercedes Schlapp. HowÂ areÂ you?Â
MERCEDES SCHLAPP, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN SENIORÂ ADVISER: It’s great to see you.
BAIER: Good to see you. ThisÂ area, one of our reporterÂ areas, kind ofÂ an uplink where some ofÂ theÂ — some ofÂ theÂ hits — I’ve done hits hereÂ inÂ theÂ big setÂ andÂ theÂ man Bill Hemmer. Our show continuesÂ after this.Â
BAIER: welcome back to Cleveland, more than 300Â National GuardsmenÂ along withÂ theÂ FBI, local police, Secret ServiceÂ all hereÂ inÂ theÂ city tonightÂ asÂ some businesses board upÂ inÂ anticipation of protests.Â
MACCALLUM: Black Lives Matter ClevelandÂ amongÂ theÂ groups to expected to demonstrateÂ theÂ height of tonight’s debate.Â
Senior correspondent Mike Tobin is onÂ theÂ ground hereÂ inÂ Cleveland. Good evening, Mike.Â
MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi,Â there, Martha. Hi,Â there, Bret.
I putÂ theÂ numberÂ atÂ about 400 demonstrators out here, we’re just south ofÂ theÂ art museum onÂ thenorth side ofÂ theÂ lagoon hereÂ inÂ theÂ park,Â andÂ you’ve gotÂ theÂ people, you can call thisÂ aÂ peaceful protest,Â theyÂ areÂ marchingÂ around, not really doingÂ anything other than makingÂ their voices heard.Â
There’sÂ alsoÂ aÂ large presence of law enforcement. We sawÂ themÂ inÂ action rightÂ aboutÂ theÂ timeÂ thepresidential motorcadeÂ arrived.Â AÂ couple of young menÂ inÂ hoods crossedÂ theÂ barrier.Â They got withinÂ ahundred feet ofÂ theÂ route ofÂ theÂ presidential motorcadeÂ andÂ Cleveland bike copsÂ apprehendedÂ them.Â They loadedÂ themÂ intoÂ aÂ white vanÂ andwhiskedÂ them off. NeitherÂ theÂ Cleveland police orÂ theÂ Secret ServiceÂ areÂ releasing details on that.Â
NowÂ thereÂ areÂ number of items thatÂ areÂ bannedÂ intheÂ area ofÂ theÂ big event tonight, thoseÂ include flammable liquids,Â fireworks, things like brass knucklesÂ andÂ lumber,Â andÂ that is why police from Shaker Heights tookÂ aÂ number ofÂ theÂ signs thatÂ therefused fascism group had forÂ their demonstration.Â
ButÂ theÂ police measured those signsÂ andÂ figureÂ theyÂ areÂ withinÂ theÂ guidelines,Â andÂ sayÂ they can’t be wider than twoÂ inches.Â They’re withinÂ theÂ guidelines, soÂ they gaveÂ all of those signs back. But withÂ all ofÂ theÂ attention being paid to potential weapons, we found one protestÂ attendee here who was openly carryingÂ aÂ semiautomatic sidearm. Here’s what he had to say.Â
TOBIN: I noticed yourÂ arm. How come?Â
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because what happenedÂ inKenosha is not going to happen hereÂ inÂ Cleveland. What happened hereÂ inÂ Wisconsin is not going to happenÂ inÂ Ohio.Â
TOBIN: So, ofÂ theÂ demonstrators out here,Â theyÂ areBLM demonstrators,Â thereÂ areÂ climate change demonstrators,Â there’sÂ aÂ group refused fascism.Â There is one conservative group that was flying banners overÂ theÂ town earlier today.Â
BretÂ andÂ Martha?Â
BAIER:Â All right, Mike, thank you.Â
MACCALLUM: So breaking tonight,Â aÂ federalÂ appealsÂ courtÂ is upholdingÂ aÂ six- day extension for countingÂ absentee ballotsÂ inÂ Wisconsin’s presidential election. So that decision means that ballots postmarked on or before November 3rd will be countedÂ asÂ longÂ astheyÂ areÂ received by November 9th.Â
BAIER: It’sÂ aÂ big deal.
BAIER: It could meanÂ theÂ winnerÂ inÂ Wisconsin will not be known for daysÂ afterÂ theÂ polls close. RepublicansÂ areÂ likely toÂ appeal that case toÂ theÂ U.S.Â SupremeÂ CourtÂ butÂ thereÂ areÂ 29 states now sending out ballots.Â AÂ lot of peopleÂ already votingÂ asÂ this debate get underway tonight.Â
MACCALLUM: Coverage is going to be daysÂ anddays it looks like. SoÂ SupremeÂ CourtÂ nomineeÂ Amy Coney Barrett meeting with senators onÂ theÂ Hill todayÂ asÂ her confirmationÂ battleÂ heats up with exactly five weeks to go untilÂ theÂ election. Karl Rove, Katie PavlichÂ andÂ Juan WilliamsÂ areÂ next. First,Â thevoice ofÂ theÂ people.Â
MACCALLUM: When you talk to your friendsÂ aboutÂ theÂ election, whatÂ areÂ theÂ things that peopleÂ arearguingÂ about or talkingÂ about that concern you right nowÂ inÂ theÂ country? Obviously,Â there’sÂ aÂ lot going on.Â
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:Â There’sÂ aÂ lot of division. I’m looking — I just wish we hadÂ aÂ candidate that could bring people togetherÂ instead of separating –
– you know, I’m getting frustrated withÂ theÂ two-party system. I don’t know.Â
I don’t know whatÂ theÂ answer is.Â
MACCALLUM: What you think of President Trump? Did you vote for him last time, if you want to share?Â
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did. Honestly last election I went to voteÂ andÂ I couldn’t vote for either one.Â Andagain —
MACCALLUM: It might happenÂ again?Â
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It might happenÂ again this time. Have you hadÂ aÂ chance to takeÂ aÂ lookÂ atÂ Amy Coney Barrett?Â
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven’t lookedÂ at her closely, no. I mean, I would hope that we would have hadÂ theÂ same respectÂ andÂ delayÂ inÂ choosingÂ thejudge untilÂ afterÂ theÂ election, like Obama did.Â
BAIER: President Trump’sÂ SupremeÂ CourtÂ nominee has begunÂ theÂ process of meetingÂ theÂ senators who will ultimately decide whether she getsÂ aÂ spot onÂ thebench. JudgeÂ Amy Coney Barrett started offÂ atÂ thetop.Â
Chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel shows us tonight. Good evening, Mike.Â
MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bret, Martha, good evening to you. JudgeÂ Amy Coney Barrett started makingÂ theÂ rounds, hoping to secure votes for her confirmation.Â TheÂ SupremeÂ CourtÂ nominee hadÂ aÂ VIP escortÂ andÂ Vice President Mike Pence to get her started. Day one featured meetings with eight Republican senators,Â including Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who said Judge Barrett hasÂ aÂ good chance of getting his vote.Â
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK GRASSLEY, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE, UNITED STATES SENATE: I usually don’t say that until everything is over. But Judge Barrett has quiteÂ arecord to go on duringÂ theÂ time she was onÂ thecourt. So, I’m looking forward to learning moreÂ injustÂ aÂ few minutes now with herÂ andÂ then I will beÂ attendingÂ andÂ asking questionsÂ atÂ theÂ hearing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)Â
EMANUEL: Republican senators say it’s part ofÂ thejob meeting withÂ aÂ SupremeÂ CourtÂ nominee, somethingÂ at least six DemocratsÂ areÂ refusing to do.Â
AÂ leading Senate Republican fired back today saying her confirmation is very legitimateÂ andÂ very constitutional.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)Â
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: WeÂ areÂ looking forward toÂ agood wholesome discussionÂ andÂ obviouslyÂ aprocess that gives due timeÂ andÂ consideration forÂ individual senators toÂ articulateÂ their views,Â ask her questions,Â andÂ then weÂ areÂ looking moving forward with that processÂ andÂ getting herÂ aÂ vote.Â
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: Some progressivesÂ argue Democrats should packÂ theÂ SupremeÂ CourtÂ ifÂ they winÂ theWhite HouseÂ andÂ take backÂ theÂ majorityÂ inÂ theSenate butÂ theÂ Democratic nominee for vice president sidestepped that issue.Â
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: WeÂ areÂ actuallyÂ inÂ theÂ election, people started voting, people have been voting.Â AlmostÂ amillionÂ Americans have votedÂ andÂ they haveÂ aÂ rightÂ inÂ an election to electÂ their next president whoÂ then will makeÂ theÂ decisionÂ about who will beÂ thenominee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)Â
EMANUEL:Â AsÂ aÂ member ofÂ theÂ judiciary committee, Harris will participateÂ inÂ Judge Barrett’s hearings. Bret, Martha?Â
BAIER: Mike, thanks.Â
MACCALLUM: So, let’s bringÂ inÂ our panel, Juan Williams, co-host ofÂ TheÂ Five, Katie Pavlich, news editorÂ andÂ Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.Â
Juan, let’s start with you. When you takeÂ aÂ lookÂ at, you know,Â these senators whoÂ areÂ choosing not to meet withÂ Amy Coney Barrett, I knowÂ aÂ lot ofÂ them were very upset when Republicans did that with Merrick Garland, so you know, how do two wrongs makeÂ aÂ right here?Â
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CO-HOST & POLITICALÂ ANALYST: Well, I don’t know that it makesÂ aÂ right, Martha. I think essentially, it’s saying listen, weÂ arenot going to extend thisÂ courtesy to Judge Barrett because it wasn’t extended ten months out to Judge Garland. So, I thinkÂ they sayÂ also that when itÂ comesto this nomination, unlike Garland, it’s unprecedentedÂ inÂ terms ofÂ theÂ compressed time schedule.Â
BAIER: Karl, setÂ theÂ table for us tonight, whatÂ areÂ thekey things you’re looking for, for this debate?Â
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I’m looking forÂ theÂ first 30 minutes, howÂ they both come out, because that will setÂ theÂ tone forÂ theevening. Viewership will be highestÂ then. I’m looking for surprise.Â
I think both peopleÂ areÂ — both menÂ areÂ going to come toÂ theÂ debate stage with something that whenÂ they finish delivering thatÂ argument or that punch or that response weÂ areÂ going to say “where did that come from”? BecauseÂ theyÂ areÂ planning some surprises for us.Â
AndÂ finally, I’m looking for tone.Â TheÂ winner of this debateÂ inÂ theÂ minds ofÂ theÂ people thatÂ areÂ up for grabs is going to beÂ theÂ one that seems to be more likable withÂ aÂ vision that seems to be make sense forÂ their futureÂ andÂ setsÂ theÂ contrastÂ inÂ anÂ appropriate way withÂ their opponent soÂ they understand whatÂ theÂ stakesÂ areÂ andÂ howÂ andÂ each one ofÂ them does, that’s going to goÂ aÂ long wayÂ inÂ deciding howÂ they come out ofÂ theÂ end –Â atÂ theÂ end ofÂ theÂ evening.Â
MACCALLUM: So, Katie, whatÂ areÂ you hoping to hear from President Trump tonight,Â andÂ what would you be disappointed if you don’t hear him getÂ inÂ there tonight?Â
KATIE PAVLICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I thinkÂ theÂ president is really going to focus on his economicÂ achievements beforeÂ theÂ coronavirus enteredÂ theÂ countryÂ andÂ I would be disappointed if he did not, when Joe Biden brings up how he has handledÂ aÂ pandemic, if he doesn’t hearken back toÂ theÂ ObamaÂ administrationÂ andÂ howÂ they handledÂ theÂ swine flu, whichÂ also turnedÂ intoÂ aÂ pandemicÂ andleftÂ aÂ lot ofÂ theÂ PPE supplies without proper or substantial restocking so that we can handleÂ thesituation.Â
I wouldÂ also be disappointed if he didn’t focus on what Democrats were talkingÂ about when this virus cameÂ intoÂ theÂ country,Â theÂ issue of impeachment is not something we heardÂ aÂ whole lotÂ about.Â AndÂ thepresident is going to have to makeÂ theÂ argument that you saw what I did withÂ theÂ economy beforehand, it wasÂ theÂ best economy we’ve hadÂ inreally long time, you want to go back toÂ aÂ Joe Biden/Obama policy set where we have GDP that’sÂ theÂ slowest growth since World War II.Â
We can do that but if you lookÂ at what I have planned for you moving forward, we will go back toÂ an era of economic growth, which of courseÂ affects everyone positivelyÂ inÂ theÂ country. We’ve seen that withÂ theÂ Democrat membersÂ theÂ president has often repeated which he’ll talkÂ about I’m sure tonight.Â
BAIER: Katie, it sounds like that helicopter is landing on you currently.Â
PAVLICH: Yes, it’s very loudÂ andÂ windy, so.Â
BAIER: But I hope everybody is OK overÂ there.Â All right.
MACCALLUM: She didn’t even flinch.Â
ROVE: She’sÂ all right —
MACCALLUM:Â AndÂ she wasÂ alsoÂ there when I called on her. So that’s good.Â
BAIER: That’s good, too.
MACCALLUM: That’s good.Â
PAVLICH: Yes. Every (Inaudible) tonight, Martha.
BAIER:Â All right, listen, Juan, Joe —
MACCALLUM: So glad.
BAIER: — Joe Biden,Â afterÂ aÂ day of back-and-forthÂ about this negotiation pre-debateÂ aboutÂ theÂ Trump campaign sayingÂ there wasÂ aÂ negotiationÂ about ear pieces,Â aboutÂ theÂ Biden campaign saying thatÂ theTrump campaign said thatÂ they didn’t want Chris Wallace to sayÂ theÂ number of COVID debts.Â
Well Joe Biden justÂ aÂ few minutesÂ ago tweeted out this. He said, I have my earpieceÂ andÂ my performance enhancers ready,Â andÂ it isÂ an ice cream, salted peanut butter chocolate flex. So,Â aÂ little trolling byÂ theÂ Democratic nominee, Juan.Â
WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I mean, it’sÂ also entertaining, it’sÂ all kind ofÂ aÂ lead up toÂ theÂ big moment that weÂ areÂ anticipating tonight. You know, it’s kind of ridiculousÂ at some level, drug test, transmittersÂ inÂ someone’s head. You know, I don’t know.Â
At some point you want to say OK, enough withÂ thejuvenileÂ antics, let’s go forÂ aÂ real debate, let’s go for substance. When we getÂ into this debate tonight, I think thatÂ theÂ president wants to make itÂ aÂ choiceÂ andÂ he needs toÂ articulateÂ theÂ vision that Katie was talkingÂ about. What is his second termÂ agenda?Â
AndÂ I think Joe Biden, for his part, wants to say toÂ theÂ American people, you’ve gotÂ aÂ safeÂ alternative to what Biden will say has beenÂ theÂ chaosÂ andÂ thejuvenile behavior,Â theÂ Twitter storms, that we’ve experienced overÂ theÂ last four years.Â
BAIER: We should point out that both campaigns denied whatÂ theÂ other campaign said.Â
BAIER: We covered that back-and-forthÂ inÂ those statements.Â
BAIER: Karl, is thisÂ aÂ normal thing what you saw today happened?Â
ROVE: Well, no.Â There reallyÂ areÂ trying to getÂ inside each other’s brains.Â
I would forÂ theÂ record point out two things. One is,Â theÂ ice cream that was shownÂ inÂ aÂ tweet from Joe Biden isÂ theÂ same ice cream that wasÂ inÂ Nancy Pelosi’s refrigerator when she openedÂ theÂ door. I know that because I eat Jeni’s ice creamÂ asÂ well, really good stuff.Â
PAVLICH:Â AndÂ it’sÂ an Ohio company.Â
ROVE:Â There we go.
MACCALLUM: It’s very expensive. It’sÂ an Ohio company.Â
ROVE: Yes, well, yes,Â there we go.
ROVE:Â AndÂ second ofÂ all, you know, look, this is notÂ theÂ first time. You may remember, I think it wasÂ a2004 debate, President Bush hadÂ aÂ bad suit that hadÂ aÂ bump onÂ theÂ back of itÂ andÂ theÂ theory was that I had putÂ aÂ transmitterÂ inÂ his backÂ andÂ I was talkingÂ inhis earÂ theÂ entire debate.Â
TheÂ guy who never graduated college was guidingÂ theÂ guy who isÂ aÂ Yale history majorÂ andÂ Harvard MBA. So, this is notÂ theÂ first time this has come up, but it’sÂ allÂ anÂ attempt to getÂ inside each other’s headsÂ andÂ it’s frankly useless, it really doesn’t work.Â
MACCALLUM: So, I mean, obviously, I spoke to some people hereÂ inÂ OhioÂ andÂ some ofÂ them said thatÂ they wanted to hear substance tonight, thatÂ they didn’t likeÂ all this back-and-forth. IÂ askedÂ them specificallyÂ aboutÂ theÂ drug test issue.Â AndÂ they said, you know, I want to hear whatÂ theÂ vision is forÂ thenext term.
So, you know, Katie, when you lookÂ at that, I mean, that is reallyÂ theÂ job that lies beforeÂ theÂ president tonight, is to be, you know, presidential, to reach out to some of those voters who maybe don’t loveÂ thechaos that muchÂ andÂ showÂ theÂ visionÂ andÂ theÂ way forward. How do you see thatÂ andÂ how do you want to review that?Â
PAVLICH: Martha, watching herÂ interviews with local votersÂ inÂ Ohio, I can imagine that other voters, swing votersÂ inÂ places like PennsylvaniaÂ andWisconsin feel very similarÂ andÂ you can see whenÂ they’re giving you thoseÂ answers, that it painsÂ them, thatÂ they haveÂ aÂ very tough choice to make, thatÂ theseÂ areÂ decisions thatÂ affectÂ their livelihoodÂ andtheir lives moving forward, whether it’s COVID or healthcare orÂ theÂ economy.Â
This isÂ aÂ top choice forÂ themÂ andÂ both candidates tonight have to makeÂ theÂ case that this isn’t just vote for me because I’m notÂ theÂ other guy, vote for me because I will make your life easier come NovemberÂ andÂ comeÂ inauguration dayÂ inÂ January 2021.Â
BAIER: Well, listen, we’ve talkedÂ about thisÂ aÂ lot. It’s nowÂ an hourÂ andÂ four minutesÂ away. Panel, thank you very much.Â
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: You know, Bill Hemmer is from OhioÂ andÂ he thanks you guys, he’sÂ aÂ big Graeter’s ice cream fan.Â
MACCALLUM:Â AndÂ he turns me on to that,Â andGraeter’s isÂ alsoÂ aÂ great Ohio ice cream.Â
All right. WeÂ areÂ going to takeÂ aÂ quick break. Special coverage continues rightÂ after this. Stay with us.Â
BAIER: That’s it for our special two-hour debate preview. Coming up, Tucker Carlson.Â
MACCALLUM: Please stay with usÂ at 9 o’clock Eastern forÂ theÂ first debate between President TrumpÂ andÂ Joe Biden. Chris Wallace of Fox news will beÂ themoderator. I’m Martha MacCallum.Â
BAIER:Â AndÂ I’m Bret Baier. Good evening. It is finally here from Cleveland.
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