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The 3rd presidential debate was not rivetting television, for me, in part because I was still scarred from the first, and I’m not a great fan of the love affair with untruths that seem to be the president’s forte. I gave it 30 minutes and decided that sleep was better. My wife tried to stay with it longer, but I had to wake her up to turn off the TV before the debate had finished. Neither of us can vote in the elections, anyway, so it’s really background material for a life ahead.

The moderator, Kristen Welker (NBC), gets props for her handling, though with the benefit this time of a microphone cut-off during the opening two minutes of each candidate’s remarks.

The microphone rule would have made for a much better first debate, which was an absolute ‘train wreck’ that helped the president, who thought he succeeded in his ploy to constantly interrupt and not let his opponent get in a word.

It was a pity many had to suffer that, but it should be a constant, going forward. Poor Chris Wallace (Fox News) was left “jealous” that he’d not had the same advantage:

The LA Times called the debate a ‘study in exasperation’:

He also went after the president about when he knew and who he told about what he knew about the virus, citing how keep contacts had been able to short the stock markets based on the dire reports, which had not been shared with the public—stories that had circulated back in March:

As the LA Times put it, the debate was a ‘tale of two Trumps’:

‘At the start, the president largely reined in his combative impulses. He interrupted less, spoke softly and even sprinkled in a few niceties toward Kristen Welker, the debate moderator, whom he had been attacking in recent days. But the president’s more familiar instincts ultimately resurfaced.

He ran through the greatest hits of his Twitter feed — falsely claiming he was subject to a years-long “phony witch hunt” involving Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, groundlessly accusing the Obama administration of spying on his campaign.

Having recovered from COVID-19, he seemed none the worse for wear, growing more animated as the evening went on.

One constant throughout: the president’s tenuous relationship with the truth. Fact-checkers were kept busy with his claims of an imminent coronavirus vaccine, his exaggerated toughness toward Russia and other whoppers.’

President Trump is an incorrigible liar and one of the ‘tells’ is his hands and how they come into play as his stories spin around a possible grain of truth. It’s like a fisherman telling about his catch: ‘It was this big; no, this big’.

So, I always look at the hands, which are also part of the illusionists’ arsenal of distraction tools.

That’s all, folks. 🙂