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Metro Detroit voters react to first 2020 presidential debate: 'I found it very painful to watch'

Posted at 9:39 AM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 12:22:59-04

(WXYZ) — The first of three presidential debates is leaving many metro Detroit voters scratching their heads, or feeling short changed. Michigan is a key battleground state, which Pres. Donald Trump won by a slim margin in 2016 over his then-opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Tuesday night's debate was 90 minutes marked mostly by interruptions, name calling, or the two candidates, Pres. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, shouting over one another.

The first 2020 presidential debate, held in Cleveland and moderated by Fox News host Chris Wallace, left voters like Florencia Solis of Oak Park feeling discouraged.

“I just felt like he was kind of a bully, Trump. And just bulldozed over everybody, the moderator and Joe Biden," she said. “Maybe they should start turning off the microphone off who’s not supposed to be talking to allow the other person to talk.”

Janice Murff of Clinton Township said while the debate was exhausting, it reaffirmed what she already felt.

“I had pretty much had my mind made up, and it just confirmed it," Murff told Action News.

Voter Joanne Spence from Royal Oak, who's still unsure of who she'll support on Nov. 3, isn't any clearer after this first debate.

“I found it very painful to watch. I felt bad for the moderator trying to keep them under control," she said.

The debate was broken up into categories ranging from the Supreme Court vacancy to COVID-19, the economy, election integrity and racism to name a few. A recent New York Times' report on Pres. Trump's tax record was also discussed, as was the climate crisis briefly.

"We won the election and therefore we have the right to choose her," said Pres. Trump of his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

His opponent, Joe Biden saying "The American people have a right to have a say in who the Supreme Court nominee is. They're not going to get that chance now because we're in the middle of an election already."

When addressing claims in the New York Times' report, which sates that Pres. Trump paid little or no federal income tax over 15 years, the president told Wallace "I paid millions of dollars in taxes. Millions of dollars of income tax."

Pres. Trump notably wavered when asked to denounce white supremacist groups. Biden at one point called Pres. Trump a clown, and the war of words didn't stop there.

We asked undecided voter Joanne Spence if either candidate seemed to win the debate.

“Not for me," she said.

Pres. Trump and Joe Biden are scheduled to debate two more times next month.