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President Donald Trump makes a points as Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden listens during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool)

Well, it was quite a contentious debate Tuesday. There were a few surprises. For example, Joe Biden showed up. And he remembered his pants. So that was a good start. The Democrats had not been this nervous about anything since Anthony Weiner asked to borrow their iPhones.

To prepare, Biden hired a WWF wrestler to play Trump and painted him orange. And Trump got Ozzy Osbourne to play Biden. Biden looked gaunt and pale because he rarely stays up past "Wheel of Fortune."

With all the interrupting and vitriol, discussing real policy differences enjoyed a nice respite.

Much of the nation tuned in to watch the highly anticipated debate between President Trump and the Democrat, Chris Wallace. Lost in all the noise were the clearly different policies and tax plans of the left versus Trump's free-market inclinations. I watched stock market futures go down as Biden did better. The choice in this race remains pretty much orange versus pale-white: your 401(k) versus your virtue signaling wokeness.

Oddly, Biden called Trump more names than Trump called him. Biden called Trump "clown," "racist" and "liar" and told him to "quit yapping." But Trump seemed to interrupt more, which some found off-putting. Trump did crush Biden on criminal justice reform, making the point that he pardoned many of Joe Biden's "predators" sentenced under his racist '90s crime bill. So not only did Joe not get to finish his sentences, thanks to Trump, neither did the African Americans he put in prison for too long.

Trump kept bringing up all Hunter Biden's shady dealings, plenty of which go unreported by the mainstream media. Biden lied and said Hunter did not take nefarious money from Russia, Ukraine or China. He did.

Trump's frustration with the media that never write a fair story about him, and with the deep state that has dogged him since his election, showed through. To some, it was not a good look. But to others who had not heard about Biden family corruption and deep state revelations, it could have been illuminating.

Both men wanted the debate to be not as much about their records (especially Biden), but about trashing the other side and making it a referendum on their opponent. Biden spent time trying to focus on Trump's stolen tax returns allegedly showing he did not make or pay much in federal taxes. I am not really sure what the game is for Dems. Is Trump the brilliant, rich guy who fully exploited the tax loopholes Biden and Dems laid out there for him, and we are supposed to envy and hate him? Or is he a lousy businessman who did not make enough to owe taxes? Tell us Dems, please, so we know what we are supposed to hate.

Trump tried to tie Biden to the rioters with his lack of support for law and order. Biden had a subtle message for his supporters in anitfa and BLM who have been rioting and looting in Democrat towns over the past year: "I wear a size 9 shoe." Trump's message to some of his militia-like supporters seemed to be, "Stand down for now, but Bass Pro Shops has a sale on ammo, so you might want to stock up."

Biden dodged questions and firmed up his commitment to the far left by not answering questions on defunding or — as they call it — "reimagining" the police. And by refusing to answer a direct question on the matter, he said in essence that he plans on packing the Supreme Court.

Biden cleared the low bar set for him by his previous gaffes and his confused demeanor. He did better than expected, but neither candidate distinguished himself in the chaotic debate. I am reminded of something I said years ago: The most troubling part of a political race is that one of them has to win.

Contact Ron Hart, a syndicated op-ed satirist, author and TV commentator at Ron@RonaldHart.com or on Twitter @RonaldHart.

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Ron Hart
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