A few catch-phrases in presidential history have risen above the debates themselves. There’s Ronald Reagan’s “There you go again.” Or Walter Mondale’s “Where’s the beef?” Al Gore’s sigh and Dubya’s nod also instantly became iconic. Joe Biden made his own attempt at catch-phrase history Thursday night, with “C’mon.”
Here’s a rundown.
Covid will be over soon
After Trump downplayed the severity of the virus — “I don’t know that we’re going to have a dark winter at all, we’re opening up our country.” — Biden let out his first exasperated “C’mon” of the night.
“I go back to this. He did nothing, he did virtually nothing. And then he gets out of the hospital and he talks about, don’t worry, it’s all going to be over soon. C’mon. There’s not another serious scientist in the world who thinks it’s going to be over soon.”
Trump accused Biden of excessive fear of the pandemic, saying “he wants to close down — he’ll close down the country if one person in our massive bureaucracy says we should close it down.”
“Simply not true,” Biden responded, working up to his signature dismissal as he mocked the president’s position: “And by the way, all you teachers out there, not that many of you are going die, so don’t worry about it, so don’t worry about it. C’mon.”
The president’s tax-release timeline
In response to questions about reports he paid $750 in income taxes for two of the last four years, Trump pledged, again, to release his tax returns at some point.
Biden: “He’s been saying this for four years. Show us. Just show us. Stop playing around…. Last time he said what he paid, he said, ‘I only pay that little because I’m smart. I know how to game the system.’ C’mon. C’mon, folks.”
Trump accused Biden of secretly wanting “socialized medicine and health care. When he talks about a public option, he’s talking about destroying your Medicare…and destroying your Social Security.”
Biden: “He’s very confused. He thinks he’s running against somebody else. He’s running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people… This is the guy who’s tried to cut Medicare. So, I don’t — the idea that Donald Trump is lecturing me on Social Security and Medicare? C’mon.”
Prospects for a second Covid economic relief package
Trump accused the Democrats of holding up relief for political reasons: “Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve anything because she would love to have some victories on a date called November 3rd.”
Biden was not amused, pointing to the fact that House Democrats passed a massive additional relief package in May. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Biden said, “will not support that…C’mon. What’s the matter with this guy?”
Trump’s record on race
Trump assured voters he’s “the least racist person,” after reprising his argument that, save perhaps for Abraham Lincoln, he’s done more for Black Americans than any president in history.
Biden all but snorted. “Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. He pours fuel on every single racist fire, every single one,” Biden said. “C’mon, this guy is a dog whistle about as big as a fog horn.”