All right, we’ll call it a draw

I didn’t watch the debate last night. But all you have to do is see the mainstream media calling it a draw to know who won:

Biden brought up the former New York City mayor as he lashed out at Trump for not calling out Russia and other foreign powers for election meddling. In turn, Trump claimed Biden had enriched himself with foreign dollars alongside his son.

‘I don’t make money from China, you do. I don’t make money from Ukraine, you do. I don’t make money from Russia, you do,’ Trump said. The president alluded to Tony Bobulinski, a former business partner to Hunter Biden that Trump brought to the debate as his guest. But it was only a passing mention given the drama Trump’s campaign had orchestrated just hours before the clash on stage.

Prior to the debate, Bobulinski addressed White House reporters and claimed he had proof that the former vice president was aware of his son’s business dealings with China.

‘All of the email, the emails, the horrible emails of the kind of money you were raking in,’ Trump said. ‘And Joe, you were vice president when some of this was happening. And I think you owe an explanation to the American people, why is it – somebody just had a news conference a little while ago – who was essentially supposed to work with you and your family, but what he said was damning,’ Trump continued. ‘And regardless of me I think you have to clean it up and talk to the American people. Maybe you can do it right now,’ the president added….

Trump also found a way to tie Biden’s complaints to his own primary grievance: the Russia probe. After Biden tried to tie the apparent information dumps about his son to Russian election interference, the president scoffed.

‘You mean the laptop is now the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax?’ Trump asked, incredulously.

‘The laptop is Russia, Russia, Russia? You got to be kidding. Here we go with Russia,’ he said – taking the issue that most endangered his presidency and brought on the multi-year Mueller probe and turning it on his rival.

Trump found ways to get in many of his favorite digs as the exchange went on and on. He called Hunter’s laptop the ‘laptop from hell.’ He also found ways to put Biden on his heels by asking when he pitched various plans: ‘Why didn’t you do it in the eight years’ serving with Obama. Biden could only summon a brief answer that only hinted at the GOP opposition he once had to contend with in the House. ‘We had a Republican Congress. That’s the answer,’ he said, without expanding. 

Even with the personal animosity and charges of corruption, the debate lacked much of the fire of the first encounter in Cleveland, in part due to the technological change with the microphones, and possibly due to deliberate decisions by the candidates to hold some of their impulses in check. But a comparatively calm debate that some analysts were already calling a draw denied Trump the opportunity to reset the race, with Biden leading him by 8 points in the Real Clear Politics polling average.