No knockouts at Biden, Trump debate 12 days before vote

No knockouts at Biden, Trump debate 12 days before vote

President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden traded accusations of graft and clashed on the Covid-19 pandemic on Thursday but without landing a knockout blow 12 days before the election in a final debate that many saw as Trump's last big chance to change the narrative.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace (C) at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 i
Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the debate in Nashville, Tennessee, turned out to be the relative civility compared to the disastrous first debate last month when Trump spent much of the time shouting frontrunner Biden down.

This time, Trump called his Democratic opponent "Joe" and even lauded the moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News, who had a mute button to keep order, saying: "I respect very much the way you're handling this, so far."

The most heated early exchanges were over mutual accusations of graft.

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Trump had signalled he'd try to damage Biden with his pursuit of murky accusations that his son Hunter was involved in graft in China and Ukraine while Biden was vice president under Barack Obama.

Trump, 74, did try to raise the issue repeatedly, saying there were "damning" allegations. He put Biden, 77, on the spot by saying: "I think you owe an explanation to the American people."

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