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Savannah Guthrie steals the show from Donald Trump

Trump and Biden replaced their presidential debate with rival election events - but it wasn't the candidates who shone

Savannah Guthrie steals the show from Donald Trump

Donald Trump and Savannah Guthrie

Getty

Donald Trump and Joe Biden were supposed to have their second presidential debate tonight. As is 2020's way, this did not go to plan.

Less than three weeks before the election, a churlish game of political chess began. After it was announced the debate would be online, Trump moved his pawn two places forward and cancelled. In response, Biden pushed rook to A5 and announced he would host a town hall instead. Not to be outdone, Trump moved king to F3 and said he too would host a televised debate - the check move? The same time and day, on a competing station.


But the checkmate in this tiresome game was not had by either candidate. The true winner of tonight was Savannah Guthrie.

The NBC broadcaster hosted the president's town hall in Miami, sitting socially distanced from him in front of a small audience. The moment the whistle blew, she was off. While the president dodged questions, talked over her, lunged on his stool, sweated, ranted, misrepresented, patronised, mocked - Guthrie held steady. We have seen plenty of moderators ask smart questions in this election cycle, but Guthrie did the even more important job of making sure the person answers.

Joe Biden over on ABC with former White House communications director George Stephanopoulos was a much more subdued affair. Although the pair covered a host of important issues, it is clear that Trump-Guthrie were the winning partnership when it came to public attention and conversation.

No matter how many times the president argued with her - even saying "so cute" to the accomplished news anchor when she held him to task - Guthrie continued her line of questioning. Where as in the past the president has ploughed through questions about his tax returns, white supremacy and QAnon, she held on until the president was forced to show his true colours.

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