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Who won the Trump-Biden debate? One thing is certain, “it was hard to watch,” political experts say

U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. President Donald Trump participate in the CNN Presidential Debate at the CNN Studios on June 27, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden — his voice low and hoarse — stumbled through 90 minutes of his tightly controlled debate with former President Donald Trump, speaking rapidly and at times losing his train of thought. While Biden, 81, appeared inarticulate at times, Trump, 78, dodged questions and spewed falsehoods with little opposition, says Costas Panagopoulos, head of Northeastern University’s political science department. 

The first presidential debate of the 2024 election took place according to new rules — muted microphones, no studio audience, no opening statements and two commercial breaks — which contributed to virtually no cross-talk or interruptions as the candidates answered questions. Panagopoulos says neither candidate was particularly persuasive, a reflection of the low expectations for the clash — and the mood of the country.

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