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Trump and Biden spar on economy and abortion at their presidential debate

By JONATHAN J. COOPER

PHOENIX (AP) — President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump opened their first 2024 president debate without shaking hands and went right to mixing it up on policy Thursday night. Some key moments from their 90-minute faceoff.

Economic fireworks

Their first exchange delved into the economy.

Biden spoke softly, in a hoarse voice, as he talked up the economic gains on his watch, saying he rescued it from “free fall” and “chaos” when he took over the presidency from Trump in 2021. He cleared his throat several times.

Trump listened with a bemused expression but did not try to interrupt, though his microphone was muted while Biden spoke.

When it was his turn to speak, Trump bragged about the state of the economy during his term, saying “everything was rocking good.” He blamed Biden for rising prices that have frustrated Americans.

“Inflation is killing our country,” Trump said. “It’s absolutely killing us.”

Candidates tangle over who’s extreme on abortion

Biden blamed Trump for eroding abortion rights after the Republican’s three appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court voted to reverse Roe v. Wade, which had recognized a nationwide constitutional right to abortion. The reversal has energized many voters who support abortion rights and it helped power Democratic victories in the 2022 midterms and special elections.

“It’s been a terrible thing what you’ve done,” Biden said, turning to his rival. He pledged to restore the law under Roe if given a second term but didn’t say how he’d accomplish that. He said the idea of turning abortion laws back to states “is like saying we’re going to turn civil rights back to the states.”

Trump said his presidency returned the issue of abortion to the people through state laws. He said he supports abortion ban exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, and he repeated his false claim that Biden supports abortion up to and after birth.

“We think the Democrats are the radicals, not the Republicans,” Trump said.

Trump pushes Jan. 6 falsehoods, minimizes conduct of those convicted of rioting

Trump lied about his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol, and tried to deflect by pivoting to other issues.

Pressed on his role, he said he encouraged people to act “peacefully and patriotically,” then changed the subject to launch an attack on former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

He said Biden ought to “be ashamed” for the way the Jan. 6 defendants have been handled.

Trump, who has floated the idea of pardons for the 6 rioters, suggested his supporters who stormed the Capitol were actually peaceful and are now being politically persecuted.

In fact, the rioters engaged in hand-to-hand combat with police and used makeshift weapons to attack officers. More than 1,400 people have been charged with federal offenses stemming from the riot, and more than 1,000 of them have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial.

“The only person who’s on this stage that’s a convicted felon is the man I’m looking at right now” Biden said of his rival.


Source: Berkshire mont

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