Political expert: Biden has opportunity to refute Trump’s claims he is no longer sharp

Tuesday will be the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Political science students in New Jersey will be closely watching the debate at a virtual watch party set up by Rider University’s Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. The head of the institute says that these presidential debates are “Super Bowls” for those who follow politics.
"Debates are about expectations. Debates are about either meeting or exceeding expectations, or not meeting or exceeding. And so, the person who's perceived as winning this debate is going to be the person who exceeds expectations,” says Micah Rasmussen.
Rasmussen says that there are only about 5-7% of people who are undecided in the upcoming election.
"You got two guys who are probably going to wind up scoring some points, landing some punches, but two guys who are probably going to make some gaffes along the way,” he says.
Rasmussen says Biden has a perfect opportunity to refute the president's claims that Biden isn't as sharp as he once was.
"They know what Trump has been saying about Joe Biden. Now, if Joe Biden goes out, and he's exactly what Trump said, that's going to be a problem for Biden,” he says.
Rasmussen says that Biden will probably talk about the COVID-19 pandemic and the president’s taxes.
“Questions over whether or not this guy is broke. Whether or not this guy owes hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. Whether or not he owes big money to foreign creditors,” Rasmussen says.
And he says that Trump may want to focus on the economy before the pandemic, as well as his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
"To his supporters, this is a win. He's now a consequential president, he's nominated three people to that court. He's having a big impact on that court for the next several decades,” Rasmussen says.
Biden's advisors are expecting the president to try and dominate the debate and throw Biden off balance. Rasmussen says the key for Biden is to stay on message.
"He's got to come at the debate from the confrontational, oppositional style…you really have to figure out, are you out to talk to the living room? Or are you out to talk to Trump?” Rasmussen says.
But Rasmussen says that presidential debates have been decreasing in public importance over the years.
“There have been a few moments in history where they've meant a lot, and there have been one or two moments in history where they've meant everything. It has made the entire difference in the race,” he says.
The second and third presidential debates are set for Oct. 15 in Miami and Oct. 22 in Nashville. Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will face off one time next Wednesday at the University of Utah.