MetroFocus: October 16, 2020

Tonight, Reverend Leah D. Daughtry, Faith Leader, CEO of the 2016 and 2008 Democratic National Conventions and former chief of staff for the Democratic Party, and political columnist Amy Holmes, writer for HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” and past speechwriter for former GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, are back with the play by play of Thursday’s presidential town halls.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

LAST NIGHT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN THE SECOND IN A SERIES OF THREE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES, A TOWN FORMAT IN MIAMI.

AS I'M SURE YOU ALL KNOW BY NOW, THERE WAS A TOWN HALL FORMAT MANY MIAMI, BUT THERE'S ALSO ONE IN PHILADELPHIA.

PRESIDENT TRUMP IN TIME TIME, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN IN PHILADELPHIA.

QUESTIONS THEN THAT COME FROM THAT IS FIRST, HOW PRODUCTIVE WAS THAT FORMAT?

SECONDLY, DID WE LEARN ANYTHING NEW FROM THE CANDIDATES, ANYTHING THIS MIGHT ESPECIALLY HELP THOSE UNDECIDED VOTERS TO DECIDE WHO THEY INDEED WANT TO VOTE FOR?

WHAT MIGHT THAT FORMAT PORTEND FOR MOVING FORWARD IN FUTURE CAMPAIGNS?

ALSO, WE WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT NOMINATION HEARINGS THAT HAVE BEEN TAKING PLACE THIS WEEK.

WHAT IMPACT THEY MIGHT HAVE ON THE UPCOMING ELECTION.

MUCH FOR US TO TALK ABOUT, AND WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE BACK WITH US TWO OF OUR FAVORITE POLITICAL COMMENTATORS TO DISCUSS ALL OF THIS WITH US.

WE HAVE THE REVEREND LEAH DAUGHTRY WHO IS A FAITH LEADER, ALSO A POLITICAL STRATEGIST, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, CEO IN 2008 AND 2016 OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION AND OUR GOOD FRIEND AMY HOLMES, A WRITER FOR REALTIME BILL MAHER, A POLITICAL COLUMNIST, REGISTERED CONSERVATIVE AND ALSO THE FORMER SENIOR SPEECH WRITER FOR THE FORMER GOP SENATOR AND MAJORITY LEADER BILL FRITZ.

AS ALWAYS, IT'S A DELIGHT TO HAVE THE TWO OF YOU WITH US TO TALK ABOUT LAST NIGHT.

LET'S START OFF, AS WE'VE DONE IN THE PAST, WITH AN EXAMINATION OF EXPECTATION, SORT OF BIGGER PICTURE EXPECTATIONS IN WHAT WE SAW.

THERE'S A LOT, AS I MENTIONED, FOR US TO FOCUS ON HERE LET'S START WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP.

FOR THAT, AMY, LET ME COME TO YOU FIRST.

WE HAVE -- THE THREE OF US TALKED ABOUT THE CHAOS OF THAT FIRST SO-CALLED DEBATE.

THAT'S VERY KIND OF YOU.

I'M TRYING TO BE DIPLOMATIC AND JOURNALISTIC.

DEBACLE.

OR COMBINE CHAOTIC AND DBACLE.

THERE ARE QUESTIONS AND WE TALKED ABOUT THAT, WHETHER THE PRESIDENT WILL AGREE TO DO ANOTHER GATHERING SUCH AS THAT.

ALSO THINGS INTERVENED INCLUDING HIS MEDICAL CONDITION.

WE GOT LAST NIGHT WHAT WE GOT.

SO COMING INTO THAT NOW, HIM BY HIMSELF IN A TOWN HALL FORMAT, DIFFERENT FORMAT QUESTIONED BY SAVANNAH GUTHRIE FROM NBC NEWS.

WHAT DO YOU THINK GOING IN HIS -- LET'S CALL THEM HIS PEOPLE AND THE PRESIDENT I'M SELF HAD AS EXPECTATIONS FOR THAT?

WELL, IT'S FUNNY, JACK, TO USE THE PHRASES WHAT ABOUT LAST NIGHT.

NORMALLY THAT'S USED IN DATING LIKE A ONE-NIGHTSTAND.

FOR A LOT OF VOTERS, LAST NIGHT WAS A ONE-NIGHTSTAND.

YOU HAD TO PICK ONE OR THE OTHER.

PRESIDENT TRUMP OR VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN BECAUSE THEY WERE SCHEDULED TO -- SUPPOSED TO DEBATE EACH OTHER, BUT THEN LAST NIGHT ON SEPARATE NETWORKS.

I TUNED IN TO PRESIDENT TRUMP, I DON'T THINK THAT WILL SURPRISE OUR VIEWERS.

I REALLY WANTED TO SEE IF HE WOULD REDEEM HIMSELF AFTER THAT DEBATE WITH JOE BIDEN, HIS POLLING NUMBERS ABSOLUTELY TANKED.

HE WAS SPIRALING.

HE REALLY NEEDED TO ADDRESS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, HAVE A NICE WHERE HE LOOKED GOOD, WHERE HE LOOKED IN COMMAND, IN CHARGE, NOT CRAZY, NOT ANGRY, AND I THINK HE ACCOMPLISHED THAT.

IF ANYTHING, JACK, I WAS ABSOLUTELY MESMERIZED BY THE WOMAN SITTING BEHIND HIS SHOULDER THE ENTIRE TIME NODDING AND CLAPPING AND HIGH-FIVING.

I HAD THE SAME REACTION.

I'M SURE MANY PEOPLE DID.

DOES SHE WORK FOR THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN?

HOW DID SHE GET THAT REALLY GOOD SEAT BEHIND THERE?

SHE BECAME MORE DEMONSTRATIVE AS THE EVENING WENT ON.

IT WAS ASTONISHING.

THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN COULD NOT HAVE PAID FOR A BETTER ADVERTISING.

SHE WAS CHOSEN BY NBC.

I KNOW WHEN YOU DO THOSE, IN THE PAST WHEN I WAS WITH BOTH ABC AND NBC I MODERATED POLITICAL TELEVISED PANELS.

THE AUDIENCE WAS TOLD, IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE HERE, WE HAVE TO DEMAND THAT YOU NOT BE DEMONSTRATIVE AND GIVE ANY SIGNALS OR SIGNS.

I DON'T BELIEVE THEY SAID THAT TO THEM.

IT'S BEYOND ME.

PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE EXPRESSIVE.

IT WAS INTERESTING TO SEE THAT REALTIME REACTION BY A VOTER.

BUT GETTING INTO THE MODERATOR, HOW DID SAVANNAH GUTHRIE DO.

I'LL GET TO THAT IN A MINUTE.

LET ME TOSS IT OVER TO THE REVEREND.

FOR A BIGGER PICTURE OF EXPECTATIONS.

REVEREND DAUGHTRY, WATCHING FROM THE OPPOSITE END, ACROSS THE AISLE, IF YOU WOULD, WHAT DID YOU ANTICIPATE THE EXPECTATIONS WOULD BE IN TERMS OF THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF, AND HOW DID YOU THINK IT PLAYED OUT?

WELL, I THINK AMY IS EXACTLY RIGHT.

HE HAD TO USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO REDEEM HIS PERFORMANCE OF TWO WEEKS AGO.

SEEMS LIKE 12 YEARS AGO, BUT TWO WEEKS AGO, AND TO SHOW A DIFFERENT SIDE OF HIMSELF TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

I THINK IN TERMS OF TONE AND TEMPERAMENT, HE ACCOMPLISHED THAT TO SOME DEGREE.

HE WAS STILL IN THIS ONE-ON-ONE SETTING SHORT ON DETAIL.

THE WOMAN ASKED ABOUT HEALTH CARE AND HOW HE WAS GOING TO MANAGE HER HEALTH CARE COSTS, AND WE JUST KEPT HEARING THAT HE WAS GETTING RID OF OBAMACARE, WHICH IS GREAT BUT HOW ARE YOU REPLACING IT WHEN YOU'VE HAD THREE YEARS TO PUT A PLAN FORWARD.

A LITTLE SHORT THERE ON SPECIFICS.

HE MAINTAINED WHAT WE'VE SEEN OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS WHICH IS THIS SENSE OF HIM BEING AGGRIEVED THAT EVERYONE IS DOING HIM WRONG, SOMEHOW BEING CHEATED OUT OF EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE IS OUT TO GET HIM WHICH IS, I THINK FOR MANY PEOPLE, ANNOYING.

THE WOMAN BEHIND HIM AND THE WOMAN WHO STARTED THE QUESTION WITH 'YOU'VE GOT A GREAT SMILE.'

CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?

SO BIZARRE, SO ODD.

WAIT, WHAT KIND OF EVENT IS THIS?

MY BIGGEST GRIPE OF THE NIGHT WAS NOT WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP OR WITH JOE BIDEN BUT WAS REALLY WITH WHOEVER THE NETWORK DECISION MAKERS WERE WHO DECIDED TO PUT THEM HEAD-TO-HEAD.

THAT WAS A LOSS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THEM BOTH DOING A FORMAT LIKE THAT, BUT WHY DO THEY HAVE TO BE ON THE SAME NIGHT AT THE SAME TIME?

IT WAS NOT A WIN FOR OUR DEMOCRACY.

WE'LL GET BACK TO THE BIGGER PICTURE, BUT LET'S STAY ON THAT FOR A SECOND.

AS SOMEBODY WHO LITERALLY NEEDS TO AND WANTS TO WATCH EVERY MINUTE OF THOSE, I WOULD MUCH HAVE PREFERRED JUST MOVE ONE BACK AN HOUR I WORKED FOR NBC FOR A LOT OF YEARS.

THE PEOPLE WHO WERE THE DECISION MAKERS WHEN I WAS THERE ARE NOT THERE ANYMORE.

I HAVEN'T HEARD SOMEONE SAY IT WAS MY DECISION, I DECIDED AND HERE IS WHY.

MY THOUGHT WAS, OKAY, I CAN UNDERSTAND THEY'RE BOTH FREE THAT NIGHT BECAUSE ORIGINALLY THEY BLOCKED THAT OUT FOR THIS.

THIS MAKES SENSE.

ONE GO AT 8:00, ONE GO AT 9:00.

WOULDN'T THAT MAKE SENSE?

MY OPINION, IT SADDENS ME THAT I THINK SOME PEOPLE DIDN'T G ET TO SEE IT.

AMY, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

DID IT BOTHER YOU?

THERE HAS BEEN SOME REPORTING ON THIS.

THERE WAS SPECULATION THAT MAYBE THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN MADE DOING THIS COUNTERPROGRAMMING A CONDITION OF DOING THE TOWN HALL WITH NBC.

NBC SAID THAT'S NOT THE CASE, THAT IT WAS THEIR DECISION, THEY WANTED TO PROGRAM IT EXACTLY AS THEY DID.

TO BE HONEST, JACK, I THINK THIS IS JUST ALL INSIDE BASEBALL.

I THINK FOR MOST AMERICAN VIEWERS, THEY'RE EITHER GOING TO SEE THE CLIPS TODAY ON THEIR MORNING NEWS OR THEIR EVENING NEWS OR THEIR TWITTER FEED OR FACEBOOK, AND THAT IS ACTUALLY I THINK SERVED JOE BIDEN.

WATCHING JOE BIDEN FOR, WHAT, AN HOUR AND A HALF, THAT SEEMS LIKE A SNOOZE.

SO IF YOU GOT OFF SOME GOOD LINES, GOT OFF SOME GOOD MOMENTS, THEN HIS CAMPAIGN CAN CLIP IT, PACKAGE IT, PUT IT IN A CAMPAIGN AD, SHOOT IT OFF TO ALL THEIR SUPPORTERS AND MAKE SURE IT'S ON TODAY'S NEWS FEED, AND THAT WORKS.

I THINK WE'RE CONSUMING POLITICAL DEBATES AND POLITICAL CONVERSATIONS IN A VERY DIFFERENT WAY IN 2020, NOT JUST BECAUSE OF COVID AND THE PANDEMIC AND THAT WE'RE ALL ON ZOOM AND DOING THESE THINGS REMOTELY, BUT ALSO JUST BECAUSE OF THE WAY THAT MEDIA IS, AND THAT THESE CAMPAIGNS, THEY DO TAKE THESE MOMENTS AND THEY DO CHOP THEM UP AND PUT THEM IN CAMPAIGN ADS.

PEOPLE ARE GETTING IT ON THEIR iPHONES AND iPADS AND COMPUTERS THE NEXT DAY.

IT'S JUST A REALLY DIFFERENT WORLD.

I'M NOT THAT WORRIED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT, THAT YOU HAD THEM HEAD-TO-HEAD AND PEOPLE HAD TO CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER.

I THINK BASICALLY BY THE END OF THE WEEK, WE'LL KNOW ALL THE HIGHLIGHTS.

LET ME COME BACK THEN, REVEREND, IF I CAN, SAME QUESTION THAT I POSED TO AMY, BIGGER PICTURE QUESTION AND EXPECTATIONS, AND WE STARTED TALKING ABOUT THAT.

FOR FORMER VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN -- SO COMING INTO THIS, WHAT DO YOU THINK THEN THE EXPECTATIONS WERE FOR THIS SESSION?

AND HOW DO YOU THINK THEY DID IN TERMS OF THOSE BIGGER PICTURE EXPECTATIONS?

WELL, THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN HAS SPENT SEVERAL WEEKS, IF NOT MONTHS, TRYING TO PAINT JOE BIDEN AS AN OLD DOTTERING -- GUY WHO DOESN'T KNOW HIS WAY AROUND -- AND COMPLETELY DEBUNKED THAT MYTH.

HE WAS CLEAR.

HE WAS PRECISE.

HE WAS ENGAGING.

HE WAS WARM EVEN AND WAS ABLE TO ANSWER PEOPLE'S QUESTIONS IN WHOLE SENTENCES, WITH COMPLETE THOUGHTS AND WITH DETAIL.

TO THE EXTENT THAT FOLKS THIS MORNING, SOME OF THE PUNDITS ARE SAYING THAT IT'S -- IT WAS A SNORE, IT WAS A SNOOZE -- YOU KNOW WHAT?

AFTER LAST WEEK, PERHAPS WHAT WE ALL NEED IS A BIT OF A SNOOZE-FEST WITH SOMEONE NOT MAKING NEWS BASED ON PERSONALITY, BASED ON TEMPER TANTRUMS, BUT WE HAD A GUY LAST NIGHT WHO WAS STEADY, EVEN, DETAILED AND ENGAGING AND THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR RIGHT NOW.

MY SENSE -- AMY, LET ME ASK YOU IF YOU AGREE WITH THIS.

ADDS SOMEBODY WHO LOOKS AT BIGGER PICTURES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE.

MY SENSE IS THAT IS THE IDEAL FORMAT FOR THE FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, TO BE ABLE TO SIT AND NOT COMPETE WITH SOMEBODY ELSE, NOT BE RESTRICTED TO -- HE'S THE FIRST ONE WHO WILL SAY TO YOU, I CAN'T ANSWER A QUESTION IN TWO MINUTES.

THAT'S FINE.

THAT'S NOT A CRITICISM.

THERE ARE A LOT OF US LIKE THAT, THAT CAN'T ANSWER A QUESTION IN TWO MINUTES.

IT SEEMED TO ME THAT THAT FORMAT WORKED FOR HIM.

WHAT DO YOU THINK, AMY?

AS SOMEONE WHO STRETCHES MY TWO MINUTES EVERY CHANCE I GET, I'M VERY SYMPATHETIC.

BUT I THINK GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS COULD HAVE PUSHED HIM A LOT MORE.

I REALLY LIKED SAVANNAH GUTHRIE BEING SPICY AND PEPPERY AND SPARRING WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP.

YOU KNOW, JACK, AS WELL AS I DO, IF YOU HAVE THE PRESIDENT SITTING IN FRONT OF YOU, YOU WANT TO TAKE THAT OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY PRESS, AND U YOU'VE DONE YOUR RESEARCH AND YOU WANT TO GET THERE.

I LIKE THAT SAVANNAH GUTHRIE DID THAT.

WE HAVEN'T TALKED ABOUT IT YET, BUT GEORGE STEPH NAP LAWS DIDN'T ASK JOE BIDEN ABOUT ONE OF THE BIGGEST STORIES OF THE WEEK WHICH IS HIS SON HUNTER.

I WILL GET TO THAT.

I PROMISE I WILL GET TO THAT WITH YOU.

I KNOW A LOT OF CONSERVATIVES ARE COMPLAINING THAT THEY THOUGHT SAVANNAH GUTHRIE WAS INTERJECTING TOO MUCH AND SHE SET HERSELF UP AS DONALD TRUMP'S DEBATING PARTNER.

FOR ME, I LIEKTD IT.

I LIKED KEEPING THINGS MOVING, KEEPING THAT CANDIDATE PRESSED AND HAVING TO ANSWER AS SPECIFICALLY AS YOU COULD.

T I THOUGHT DONALD TRUMP ACTUALLY SHINED.

IT WAS INTERESTING THAT NBC HAD I THINK ALMOST ALL OF THE QUESTIONERS, ALMOST ALL OF THEM WERE WOMEN.

IT WAS CLEARLY A SETUP TO CHALLENGE DONALD TRUMP THAT HE'S NOT DOING WELL WITH WOMEN, NOT DOING WELL WITH SUBURBAN WOMEN IN PARTICULAR.

I THOUGHT HE HANDLED THOSE QUESTIONS AND THOSE QUESTIONERS VERY ADEPTLY AND WITH AGILITY, AND IT WORKED REALLY WELL.

FOR JOE BIDEN BEING IN A SETTING WHERE IT'S KIND OF COKIE AND SLOW AND HE'S GOT GEORGE STEPH NAP LAWS TOSSING THESE SOFTBALLS, OF COURSE THAT'S GREAT FOR JOE BIDEN.

I'D LIKE TO SEE JOE BIDEN IN A SETTING SIMILAR TO WHAT WE SAW DONALD TRUMP WITH LAST NIGHT, A REALLY AGGRESSIVE QUESTIONER, REALLY PRESSING HIM AND PUTTING HIS BACK TO THE WALL.

I SHOULD MENTION THAT SAVANNAH IS A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE, FORMER COLLEAGUE.

WHEN SHE WAS A YOUNG REPORTER WORKING FOR COURT TV AND I WAS ONE OF THE ANCHORS.

IT WAS THE FIRST TIME PEOPLE LOOKED AT HER AND SAID, WOW, SHE'S TALENTED.

SHE DID, AMY -- I MENTIONED GEORGE STEPH NAP LAWS IS A GOOD FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE.

WE WORKED TOGETHER.

CERTAINLY PEOPLE SAID, OKAY, WHAT'S THE ROLE OF THESE MODERATORS SUPPOSED TO BE?

ALL THREE OF US HAD THESE CONVERSATIONS A COUPLE TIMES ALREADY.

MY GUESS IS, IF YOU ASK PEOPLE ON THE STREET, THEY'D SAY THE ROLE OF THEM IS TO -- I'LL USE A PHRASE THAT ONE OF MY MENTORS, FRED FRIENDLY USED.

FRED FRIENDLY, REMEMBER, THE CONSCIENCE OF JOURNALISM, STARTED TELEVISION NEWS ESSENTIALLY.

I REMEMBER HE SAID TO ME WHEN I FIRST STARTED DOING THIS, YOUR JOB IS TO BE A RESPECTFUL SKEPTIC, AND EACH OF THOSE TWO ELEMENTS IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE OTHER.

AND I WATCHED BOTH THE MODERATORS LAST NIGHT.

YOU MIGHT HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS AS TO HOW THEY EACH PERFORMED AND SHOULD THEY HAVE DONE SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY.

T I THINK THEY WERE BOTH RESPECTFUL.

THESE PEOPLE DESERVE RESPECT.

WHETHER YOU WANT TO VOTE FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP OR NOT HE'S THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

JOE BIDEN IS THE FORMER VICE PRESIDENT.

I GOT THE SENSE THAT YOU GOT THE SKEPTICAL AND RESPECTFUL COMPONENTS.

DO YOU THINK, AND THIS GOES BACK TO SOMETHING I MENTIONED BEFORE, DO YOU THINK, AND I WOULD VOTE YES ON THAT.

DO YOU THINK IN THE FUTURE WE MIGHT SEE THESE SO-CALLED DEBATES -- THEY'RE NOT DEBATES BY ANY DEFINITION.

DO YOU THINK WE MIGHT SEE FORMATS SHIFTING WHERE THE COMMISSIONS RUNNING THIS MIGHT SAY, LET'S DO THESE TYPES OF THINGS, BECAUSE MAYBE PEOPLE LEARN MORE ABOUT NOT JUST CONTENT AND SUBSTANCE, BUT PERSONALITY.

AM I LOOKING AT THIS DIFFERENTLY AND ENHANCING THESE MORE THAN WE SHOULD BE.

REVEREND, YOU FIRST.

I LIKED LAST NIGHT'S FORMAT VERY MUCH.

I THINK IT REALLY GIVES THE VOTERS AN IDEA, A CLOSE-UP VIEW OF THE CANDIDATES, THEIR TEMPERAMENT AND HOW THEY ANSWER SPECIFIC QUESTIONS.

IT TAKES THEM OUT OF THIS FAKE TWO-MINUTE FORMAT WHICH WHO CAN ANSWER A QUESTION -- I'M A PREACHER.

THERE'S NO WAY YOU ANSWER A QUESTION IN TWO MINUTES.

SO IT GIVES THEM SOME TIME TO REALLY UNPACK ISSUES.

AT THE SAME TIME IT GIVES THE MODERATOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO PUSH BACK, PEEL THE ONION AND GET US, THE VOTERS SITTING ON OUR COUCHES, THE ANSWERS THAT WE NEED WITHOUT BEING CONSTRAINED TO A CLOCK.

I THINK THE ONLY PURPOSE, THE SIDE BY SIDES HAVE IS TO SEE THEM UP AGAINST ONE ANOTHER AND WHAT ANY PERS NALL, VISCERAL REACTIONS MIGHT BE.

IN THE DAYS OF POLITICIANS, ESPECIALLY AT THE LEVEL OF RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, YOU'RE PRETTY MUCH ABLE TO OR SHOULD BE ABLE TO CONTROL VISCERAL REACTIONS YOU HAVE TO SOMEONE WHETHER YOU LIKE THEM OR NOT --

SHOULD BE ABLE TO.

UNFORTUNATELY WE SAW A COUPLE WEEKS AGO --

WE SAW TWO WEEKS AGO THAT THAT DOESN'T ALWAYS HAPPEN.

BUT I THINK LAST IT IN'S FORMAT REALLY WORKS BEST FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

AMY, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

LET ME MENTION FOR OUR VIEWERS, TALKING WITH REVEREND LEAH DAUGHTRY AND AMY HOLMES, TWO OF OUR FAVORITE POLITICAL EXPERTS ON ALL THIS.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

I THINK WE RIGHT NOW HAVE THIS GREAT BOUNTY OF UNIT ON THIS Q UNITY ON THIS QUESTION.

I LIKE THE ONE-ON-ONE AND LIKE SEEING A WELL-INFORMED MODERATOR INTERVIEWING THE CANDIDATE AND OPENING IT OUT TO OUR FELLOW CITIZENS, HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASK QUESTIONS.

IN DEBATES PAST, PERHAPS YOU REMEMBER LIKE CNN DID A FACEBOOK OR TWITTER OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT -- WE'LL GET TO FACEBOOK AND TWITTER CENSORSHIP, WE WILL, BUT WHERE THEY INVITED PEOPLE ONLINE TO SUBMIT QUESTIONS.

THE MORE THAT WE CAN LEARN ABOUT THESE CANDIDATES AS THEY'RE BEING PRESSED BY FELLOW CITIZENS, AND WE TALKED ABOUT THIS BEFORE, UNCONVENTIONAL MODERATORS, UNCONVENTIONAL VOICES.

THAT REALLY SERVES THE PUBLIC AND MAYBE LIKE THE YEAR 2020 IS THE YEAR THAT THAT SIDE BY SIDE DEBATING FORMAT WAS KIND OF JUST LEFT IN THE DUST BIN AND WE'RE READY TO MOVE FORWARD AND TRY SOMETHING NEW.

I HAVE TO SAY, I WAS IMPRESSED BY THE QUESTIONS POSED BY THE CITIZENS THAT WERE THERE.

I THINK IT'S REASSURING AND REFRESHING BOTH TO UNDERSTAND THAT PEOPLE ARE PLUGGED INTO THIS AND THEY'VE GOT REAL QUESTIONS THERE, NOT DRUM BEATING QUESTIONS, BUT REAL QUESTIONS.

YOU REMEMBER THE DEBATE WITH GEORGE BUSH SR. WHERE A CITIZEN ASKED HIM THE PRICE OF MILK OR THE PRICE OF EGGS AND HE DIDN'T KNOW.

IT WAS A TELLING MOMENT.

IT WAS VERY REVEALING.

I WOULD SAY WITH THE SAVANNAH GUTHRIE-TRUMP DISCUSSION, IT WAS ALSO, THESE WERE THE ISSUES THAT MATTERED TO THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA, THAT MATTER TO TRUMP'S CRITICS.

SHE STARTED OUT WITH COVID AND WENT INTO THE WHITE SUPREMACY ISSUE.

SO THOSE ARE SORT OF IN THAT SILO.

AS A CONSERVATIVE, I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR A DIFFERENT SET OF QUESTIONS, BUT TRUMP AGREED TO IT.

TRUMP AGREED TO IT AND SIT THERE AND BE ON THE STAGE WITH NBC.

I WOULD ADD ONE MORE THING.

LOOKING AT THAT SET, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WENT INTO THAT SET.

IT WAS GORGEOUS.

ANYBODY WHO COMPLAINS ABOUT AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY THESE NETWORKS ARE PAYING TO BRING YOU CANDIDATES.

I HAVEN'T SEEN THE NUMBERS YET FOR RATINGS.

REVEREND, GO AHEAD.

TO AMY'S POINT, I DO THINK AROUND THE QUESTIONS, WE STILL HAVE AMERICANS -- THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF HAS JUST BEEN DECLARED FIT AFTER HIS DIAGNOSIS WITH COVID.

I THINK HER QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS VIRUS, THAT IT'S STILL RUNNING RAMPANT IN OUR NATION AND THE PRESIDENT'S OWN HEALTH AND HOW HE'S NAVIGATING AND HOW HE'S NOW RESPONDING IS NOT SOMETHING THAT I THINK IS A CONSERVATIVE ISSUE OR LIBERAL ISSUE, BUT IT'S WHERE AMERICANS WANT TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON.

IS THE PRESIDENT OKAY?

IS HE HEALTHY?

HOW IS HIS SON?

HOW IS HIS WIFE?

HOW DOES HIS DIAGNOSIS IMPACT HOW HE'S THINKING ABOUT ALL THIS GOING FORWARD.

WE HAVE TALKED BEFORE IN OUR CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE FACT THAT IT SEEMS LIKE THE VAST MAJORITY OF VOTERS OUT THERE HAVE MADE UP THEIR MIND, AND PEOPLE ARE TELLING US THERE'S A VERY SMALL GROUP OF UNDECIDEDS.

DO YOU THINK -- IT'S HARD FOR US TO OBVIOUSLY KNOW FOR SURE.

GENERAL SENSE, DO YOU THINK UNDECIDEDS MIGHT HAVE WALKED AWAY FROM LAST NIGHT SAYING, OKAY, I'VE GOT A MUCH BETTER ABILITY NOW TO MAKE MY DECISION HERE?

I THINK IT ADDED MAYBE A LITTLE BIT MORE INFORMATION.

IF I KNEW THE ANSWER TO THAT, I WOULD BE PAID MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO WORK ON A PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN.

I WOULD IMPRESS UPON OUR VIEWERS THAT IN 2016 THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HILLARY CLINTON AND DONALD TRUMP BEING IN THE WHITE HOUSE WAS ONLY 80,000 VOTES.

THAT'S IT.

MICHIGAN, WISCONSIN, PENNSYLVANIA.

SO WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THESE UNDECIDEDS AND THERE'S ONLY THIS MANY, IT ONLY HAS TO BE THIS MANY TO SEE WHO ENDS UP AT 1600 PENNSYLVANIA.

REVEREND, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

YEAH, I WOULD AGREE WITH THAT.

IF YOU ARE ALREADY IN SUBMIT, YOU'RE STILL IN SUBMIT.

IF SUBMIT WAS HARDENING, THE CEMENT IS STILL HARDENING.

IF THE CEMENT HASN'T BEEN POURED FOR YOU, I DON'T THINK ANYTHING THAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT BROUGHT THE CEMENT TRUCK TO YOUR HOUSE.

I FEEL LIKE THAT'S A LITTLE BIT LIKE A MAFIA HIT MAN.

NOT THE METAPHOR NECESSARILY WE THOUGHT FROM A FAITH LEADER, WHERE ARE YOU IN CEMENT OOCHS.

WE GET YOUR POINT.

I DON'T THINK IT CHANGED ANYONE'S MIND.

I THINK IT GAVE PEOPLE MORE INFORMATION.

SO WE'LL SEE WHERE THAT TAKES US.

ALSO, LET'S FACE IT, THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT IN THIS CYCLE ALREADY, NEARLY 10 MILLION PEOPLE HAVE CAST VOTES VIA EARLY VOTE, NOT EVEN TALKING ABOUT ABSENTEE BALLOTS.

BY COMPARISON IN 2016, AT THIS SAME POINT ONLY 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE HAD CAST THEIR VOTE -- AND WHO HAVE ALREADY VOTED.

TALKING ABOUT IMPACT ON VOTING.

LET ME GET ONE THING IN QUICK IF I CAN.

AMY, I WANT TO GET TO YOU ON YOUR OTHER POINT.

I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE OTHER BIG NEWS OF THIS WEEK HAS BEEN THE CONFIRMATION HEARINGS BEFORE THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT AND HER NOMINATION TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT.

DO YOU THINK THAT HEARING IS GOING TO HAVE ANY REAL IMPACT ON THE RED GROUP, THE UNDECIDED GROUP WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, WHAT'S TAKING PLACE, AMY?

I DON'T KNOW THAT IT WILL NECESSARILY HAVE AN IMPACT ON UNDECIDEDS.

IT'S REVVING UP THE BASES.

IT'S REVVING UP DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTERS WHO DID WANT TO SEE HIM NOMINATE SOMEONE TO FILL RUTH BADER GINSBURG'S SEAT.

ON THE OTHER SIDE, THERE'S POLLING THAT SHOWS THAT DEMOCRATS, THEY'RE ALSO REVVED UP TO SAY THE SUPREME COURT NOW HAS BUMPED WAY UP THE LIST IN TERMS OF PRIORITIES WHEN WE GO TO THE POLLS ON NOVEMBER 3rd, THAT WE SEE THAT WHO IS PRESIDENT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE WHEN IT COMES TO OUR JUDICIARY AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.

REVEREND, I DO WANT TO ASK YOU THIS QUESTION, AND IT DOES TOUCH UPON THE SUPREME COURT ISSUE WHICH IS, IS EARLY VOTING SUCH A GOOD THING WHEN THERE IS STILL SO MUCH BREAKING NEWS?

RUTH BADER GINSBURG PASSING AWAY AND THE PRESIDENT NOMINATING AMY CONEY BARRETT.

WE'RE NOW SEEING THE HUNTER BIDEN STORY BREAKING IN THE 'NEW YORK POST.'

I'M NOT SO SURE I'M SO SUPPORTIVE OF ALL THIS EARLY VOTING WHEN THERE'S STILL A LOT THAT CAN HAPPEN BETWEEN NOW AND NOVEMBER 3rd THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND OR EITHER MAKE YOUR VOTE FOR BIDEN OR TRUMP OR STAY HOME.

REVEREND, I'M GOING TO ASK YOU TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION, BUT ADD ANOTHER ELEMENT WHICH WAS VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN SAID LAST NIGHT, LOOK, I'M NOT CERTAIN ABOUT THIS ISSUE OF PACKING THE COURT, BUT I WILL COME OUT WITH MY POSITION BEFORE NOVEMBER 3rd.

SHOULD PEOPLE BE VOTING BASED ON THAT?

I THINK THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALREADY VOTED ARE PEOPLE, TO USE MY EARLIER REFERENCES, DECIDED AND THEY ARE VOTING FOR THEIR CANDIDATE NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS.

BUT I THINK WHAT WE'RE ALSO SEEING IS THE EFFECTS OF THE BROKENNESS OF OUR ELECTORAL SYSTEM.

PEOPLE IN GEORGIA STOOD ONLINE FOR EARLY VOTING FOR 11 HOURS.

SO WHEN YOU HAVE THIS KIND OF SYSTEM WHERE PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT WHETHER THEY WILL BE ABLE TO VOTE IN A TIMELY MANNER ON ELECTION DAY AND THEY DON'T WANT TO WAIT, THEY KNOW WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO, THEY'VE DECIDED.

SO THEY'RE EXERCISING THE RIGHT TO GO EARLY AND VOTE OR TO CAST ABSENTEE BALLOTS IF THAT'S THEIR CHOICE.

I THINK OVERALL ONE OF THE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS CYCLE AND IN 2016 IS WE'VE GOT TO FIX OUR ELECTION SYSTEM.

NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO STAND IN LINE 11 HOURS TO CAST THEIR VOTE.

WHETHER REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRATIC OR INDEPENDENT.

I'VE GOT A MINUTE LEFT HERE.

SO A QUICK QUESTION, 30 SECONDS FROM EACH OF YOU.

ARE WE GOING TO SEE ANOTHER -- PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE NEXT WEEK?

WHAT DO WE THINK, AMY?

I HAVE NO IDEA.

I HOPE SO, AND I HOPE IT WORKS OUT.

WE SAW THAT STEVE SCULLY HAD A LITTLE BIT OF PROBLEM.

BUT I DO WANT TO TELL OUR VIEWERS, BECAUSE I DON'T THINK PEOPLE APPRECIATE THIS, I DON'T KNOW THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A RESULT NOVEMBER 3rd.

WISCONSIN, FOR EXAMPLE, DOESN'T EVEN START COUNTING THOSE ABSENTEE BALLOTS UNTIL 8:00 P.M.

ELECTION NIGHT.

THE THREE OF US WILL HAVE A LOT OF TIME TO TALK TO FILL THAT GAP.

REVEREND, LAST THOUGHT, 15, 20 SECONDS HERE.

I THINK WE SHOULD BE PREPARED THAT IT'S GOING TO BE A LONG ELECTION NIGHT.

WE SHOULD STOP CALLING IT'S LEX DAY AND CALL IT'S LEX SEASON.

THE POINT IS THAT EVERY VOTE MATTERS.

EVERY VOTE SHOULD BE COUNTED.

SO I WANT TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE VOTE, WHETHER YOU'RE VOTING EARLY, BY ABSENTEE OR ON ELECTION DAY.

MAKE SURE YOU VOTE.

MAKE SURE YOU VOTE.

REVEREND, DR. AMY HOLMES, ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO TALK WITH YOU.

WE'LL TALK SOON.

YOU BOTH BE WELL.

THANK YOU, JACK.

THANK YOU.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019