Presidential debate coach previews Trump-Biden matchup

A presidential debate coach previewed the first matchup Tuesday between President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden by looking at past performances during an interview on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”

Based on topics chosen by “Fox News Sunday” host and the first presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace including the Supreme Court, records, the coronavirus pandemic, race and violence in cities, and the integrity of the election, Brett O’Donnell, a top GOP political debate coach, said Trump could have the advantage.

“If the president sticks to talking about the economy, he has a distinct advantage,” O’Donnell, who previously coached George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and others, said. “He built an economy that was, by all accounts, one of the greatest in the last few decades. And so if he can make the case that he will be the best person to get us back to that economy, following the coronavirus crisis, then I think he has an advantage.”

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He added, “I think if he is forward-looking and uses what he did on the economy, that could be very helpful to him.”

O’Donnell also believes Trump has the advantage when it comes to the Supreme Court.

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“Joe Biden refuses to release the list of justices that he would pick from for a potential court nominee. I think that’s [an] offense for the president, as well,” he explained. “And I think, also, the president can talk about what’s happening in the streets of America and use that to his advantage, as well.”

Trump previously debated a handful of Republicans in the 2016 primaries before three times debating then-candidate Hillary Clinton.

“No one has yet to figure out how to debate Donald Trump,” O’Donnell said. “If you approach him like a conventional candidate, sort of wait your turn, he defeats you. If you try to get aggressive with him like Marco Rubio did or Hillary Clinton did, it doesn’t work out well […].”

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Biden was aggressive against Paul Ryan in 2012 but if he chooses that approach against Trump, the debate coach warned it could be a “big challenge” for the former vice president.

“I think if the president does what he did in 2016, which is return fire with fire, it’ll serve him very well,” he said. “If he takes the bait and tries to get defensive over his record, then I think Biden can have the upper hand.”

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The first debate, moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, is scheduled for Sept. 29 at Case Western University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. The format will consist of six 15-minute-long segments, each one dedicated to a specific topic.

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