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Politics Battle-tested debate veteran Joe Biden will be tuned in Tuesday night (opinion)

21:06  28 september  2020
21:06  28 september  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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The much anticipated first 2020 presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will undoubtedly captivate the nation. Political pundits, activists, and voters should not underestimate Biden's debate acumen. As the Democratic presidential nominee's Senate colleague for a dozen years, and as someone who has participated in Republican presidential primary debates, I know firsthand that he possesses performance skills necessary to succeed in Tuesday's debate.

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Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks after a virtual meeting on safe school reopening, in Wilmington, Delaware, on September 2, 2020. © JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks after a virtual meeting on safe school reopening, in Wilmington, Delaware, on September 2, 2020.

Recently, observers on all sides of the political spectrum have questioned Biden's ability to display a sound debate performance, but I expect him to bring his 'A' game.

Let us not forget, Biden is a career politician who has spent more than four decades in Washington. That would give anyone a depth of knowledge of every issue and a comfort that comes from debating them on the Senate floor for more than 35 years. We also witnessed him hold his own in the vice-presidential debates against former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and most recently in some of the primary debates, he outmaneuvered his Democratic opponents -- many of whom are well-respected debaters in their own rights.

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As someone who worked alongside Biden in the United States Senate, almost always on opposing sides of our nation's most critical issues, I can affirm that he would not have risen into Democratic leadership if he did not hold the skills necessary to succeed on Tuesday night's stage.

Trump must be prepared to take the fight to Biden. Hillary Clinton was a tough challenger in 2016, but Biden has many more years of substantive national debate experience than her.

Most political pundits dismissed Trump heading into the 2016 debates, yet he came out swinging and, from my vantage point, caught Clinton off guard in each one. It is imperative that he brings the same intensity and focus on Biden's deplorable record on policies ranging from taxes to trade and his extreme agenda in order to win Tuesday night.

Beyond his bravado, Trump shepherded in an incredibly strong economy -- one which hit the lowest unemployment rate in a half-century in 2019, historically low unemployment for African Americans and Hispanics, and a soaring stock market. I am confident that he will do it again during a second term.

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And for many conservatives like myself, one of his most impressive accomplishments has been nominating more than 200 constitutionalists to the federal bench, with a third Supreme Court justice nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, who could be confirmed soon.

Trump needs to put this record front and center when he squares off with Biden. And then he must contrast those accomplishments with Biden's agenda of raising taxes, what even former Obama defense secretary Robert Gates has called his many questionable foreign policy decisions, his advocacy for damaging trade deals like NAFTA, which cost nearly 880,000 jobs in its first decade per the Economic Policy Institute, and his support for liberal immigration policies that reward illegal behavior with a glide path to citizenship and -- as studies have shown -- drive down wages for far too many American workers.

The first presidential debate will be a knock-down, drag-out fight between the two candidates. After more than a week of virtually no campaign appearances so he could prepare for this debate, no one should doubt Biden's ability to rise to the occasion.

It is my hope that Trump will remind American voters why he ran for president in the first place -- to fight for the men and women of this nation, the blue-collar families that have been forgotten time and time again by our national policymakers. If he does, he can defeat Biden on Tuesday and reset the presidential race heading down the home stretch.

Rick Santorum wearing a suit and tie © CNN Rick Santorum

'Will you shut up, man?': Testy exchanges on health care, Supreme Court among debate top moments .
They bickered on who should appoint the next Supreme Court justice, their stances on health care and even brought each other’s families into the fray. Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News struggled to rein in the candidates and at times admonished Trump as interrupting more frequently than Biden. © Mario Tama, Getty Images A server wears a face shield and face-covering as people sit to watch a broadcast of the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

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This is interesting!