Moderator: Good evening and welcome to tonight’s presidential debate between former Vice President Joe Biden…and former Vice President Joe Biden. Mr. Biden, Mr. Biden: Thank you for being here. Mr. Biden, the first question is to you. President Trump on Saturday nominated Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court amid an outcry over how close that nomination is to the upcoming election. Do you believe the President should have made a nomination now or left the seat vacant so that the people ultimately get to decide who fills the seat?
Joe Biden (September 23, 2020): The Constitution says that’s the one chance the American people have to make an impact who they want choosing the next nominee and who in the Senate — you know, the president gets to propose and the Senate disposes, and so this is the one chance on the Constitution where the American people have an opportunity. And to rush this is just close to — it’s just a fundamental violation of constitutional principles.
Moderator: So to clarify, Mr. Biden, you’re saying that the President is violating underlying Constitutional principles by filling this seat now?
Joe Biden (September 22, 2020):The discussion should be about why he is moving in a direction that's totally inconsistent with what the Founders wanted. The Constitution says ... voters get to pick a president who gets to make the pick, and the Senate gets to decide.
Moderator: Okay, Mr. Biden. Your opponent, Mr. Biden believes that the seat should be left open. Do you agree with that assessment?
Joe Biden (May 24, 2016): The American people deserve a fully staffed Supreme Court of nine. Not one disabled and divided, but one that is able to rule on the great issues of the day: Race discrimination, separation of church and state, whether there’s a right to an abortion — and if so, safe and legal abortion, police searches. These are actual cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, before the courts. We have to make sure that a fully functioning Supreme Court is in a position to address these significant issues, and that geographic happenstance cannot fragment our national unity.
Moderator: As a result of this debate over the Supreme Court, Mr. Biden, a number of members of your party have suggested that Democrats pack the Court with liberal justices if Democrats win the presidency and both houses of Congress this November. Do you agree with that plan?
Joe Biden (September 27, 2020): I know you’re gonna be upset with my answer, but what I’m not gonna do is play the Trump game, which is a good game he plays – take your eye off the issue before us. If I were to say yes or no to that, that becomes a big issue, that’s the headline here.
Moderator: So Mr. Biden, you don’t have any opinion on court packing. Mr. Biden, what do you think of court packing?
Joe Biden (March 20, 1983):President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to the United States Senate, the United States Congress, a proposal to pack the court. It was totally within his right to do that. He violated no law. He was legalistically absolutely correct. But it was a bonehead idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make, and it put in question there for an entire decade the independence of the most significant body, including the Congress in my view, the most significant body in this country — the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Moderator: Obviously Mr. Biden, you and Mr. Biden have very different views on the Supreme Court. Switching gears now to the Coronavirus pandemic: It is now responsible for more than a million deaths worldwide and 200 here in the United States. When it first began, President Trump responded immediately by halting travel to the U.S. from China. Do you believe that was the right move?
Joe Biden (February 1, 2020):This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia—hysterical xenophobia –and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science.
Moderator: So you believe it was xenophobic, but was it effective?
Joe Biden (March 13, 2020): Banning travel from Europe or any other part of the world may slow it, but as we’ve seen, it will not stop it. And travel restrictions based on favoritism and politics, rather than risk, will be counterproductive.
Moderator: Mr. Biden, your opponent Mr. Biden clearly believes that President Trump’s travel ban was ineffective and xenophobic.
Joe Biden (April 5, 2020): You got to go faster than slower. And we started off awfully slow.He indicated that I complimented him on dealing with China. Well, you know, 45 nations had already moved to keep, [to] block China's personnel from being able to come to the United States before the president moved.So, it's just, it's about pace.It's about, it's about the urgency, and I don't think there's been enough of it, urgency.
Moderator: Okay, so Mr. Biden you believe President Trump was right to enact the travel ban, but that he didn’t do so quickly enough.The other major issue in America today is violence in its streets.Mr. Biden, your thoughts on this violence.
Joe Biden (August 31, 2020): We have to stand against violence in every form it takes. Violence we’ve seen again and again and again, of unwarranted police shooting, excessive force, seven bullets in the back of Jacob Blake. Knee on the neck of George Floyd, killing of Breonna Taylor in her own apartment, violence of extremists and opportunists, right wing militias
Moderator: Mr. Biden, your opponent clearly believes that the most significant forms of violence in America today come from the police and right-wing militias.Mr. Biden, what do you think about the looting, arson, and violent assaults committed by criminals during the rioting that has sprung from protests over policing in America?
Joe Biden (November 18, 1993): We must take back the streets. It doesn’t matter whether or not the person that is accosting your son or daughter or my son or daughter, my wife, your husband, my mother, your parents — it doesn’t matter whether or not they were deprived as a youth. It doesn’t matter not whether or not they had no background that enabled them to become socialized into the fabric of society. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re the victims of society. The end result is they’re about to knock my mother on the head with a lead pipe, shoot my sister, beat up my wife, take on my sons. So I don’t want to ask what made them do this. They must be taken off the street.
Moderator: In order to protect themselves from the lawlessness that America has seen in the streets this summer, people have taken to arming themselves.Gun sales have surged over the past four months, including the sales of what you have called “assault weapons.”Mr. Biden, do you support this?
Joe Biden (January 17, 2013):There is a Second Amendment. The president and I support the Second Amendment. And it comes with the right of law-abiding responsible citizens who own guns; use it for their protection as well as for recreation.
Moderator: Mr. Biden, your thoughts?
Joe Biden (March 11, 2020): Do you want more of them on the street? Do we want to do that?
Moderator: So, to gun owners out there who say well, a Biden administration means they’re going to come for my guns …
Joe Biden (March 11, 2020):Bingo, you’re right. If you have an assault weapon, the fact of the matter is they should be illegal, period. Look, the Second Amendment doesn’t say you can’t restrict the kinds of weapons people can own.
Moderator: Another major issue that has arisen during this campaign, especially in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania, is fracking.Mr. Biden, do you support fracking?
Joe Biden (July 31, 2019):No more. No new fracking. And, by the way, on the Recovery Act, I was able to make sure we invested $90 billion in making sure we brought down the price of solar and wind. That is lower than the price of coal. That's why not another new coal plant will be built.
Moderator: Okay, Mr. Biden, your opponent clearly wants to ban fracking. Do you want to ban fracking?
Joe Biden (August 31, 2020):I am not banning fracking. Let me say that again: I am not banning fracking no matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me.
Moderator: That’s a very clear answer and I thank you for it. Obviously you both disagree on the major issues of the day, but Mr. Biden, Mr. Biden, I want to thank you both for your candid answers during this spirited and enlightening presidential debate. That’s all the time we have. I’m Dan O’Donnell your moderator saying thank you for watching.