Analysis from CNN’s Jeff Zeleny
President Trump is controlling tonight’s debate – that doesn’t mean he’s winning it.
For much of the first hour, Trump dominated the discussion, talked over his rival, steamrolled the moderator – often without any interruption.
It’s clear that the President is trying to win the moment, while Joe Biden seems to be playing more of a long game. Yet at times, he seemed to all recede from the stage. To those listening – and not watching – he went for stretches of time without speaking, intent on biting his tongue.
Judging the winner may be an impossible task. Finding the loser is easy: American voters.
It’s an open question whether any undecided voters – believe it or not, they do exist – were given any measure of clarity. Perhaps that was the President’s aim — to muddy the waters and run out the clock.
But with more than one million ballots already cast, it’s hard to see how the first debate changed the trajectory of the race. And Trump needed that tonight.