Democratic nominee Joe Biden was endorsed by two more labor unions. President Donald Trump is ahead by just 1 percentage point in reliably Republican South Carolina. And Tuesday’s debate set a record for crosstalk.
There are 34 days until the election and 75 days until the Electoral College meets.
Biden Gets the Nod From Two More Unions
Biden picked up the support of two more labor unions, a key voting bloc he’s trying to win back from Trump.
During a visit to a heavy equipment operator training school in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania, the Biden campaign announced he has been endorsed by the International Union of Operating Engineers and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.
Both cited the Democratic nominee’s commitment to rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and history of supporting labor unions.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the president and vice president that our nation needs right now,” said Doug McCarron, general president of UBC. “They share our values, have the experience and expertise to fix the problems facing this country, and above all else have the temperament and empathy to help our divided nation unify and heal.”
Support among blue-collar workers helped Trump narrowly win Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2016. Biden said Democrats failed to reach out to those voters, who had previously been solidly behind the party. This year, Biden has been endorsed by most of the major U.S. unions.
One caveat: Being endorsed by the union leaders doesn’t necessarily translate into votes from all the union members. — Emma Kinery
Trump, Biden Tied in South Carolina (3:08 p.m.)
The list of reliably Republican states that are morphing into second-tier battlegrounds keeps getting longer, with South Carolina the latest to unexpectedly pop up.
In a Quinnipiac University poll of South Carolina released Wednesday, 48% of likely voters backed Trump, while 47% backed Biden, well within the margin of error. It also showed Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham tied with Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, 48-48.
South Carolina, which Trump won by 14 points in 2016, hasn’t backed the Democratic presidential candidate since 1976. The last time a Democratic Senate candidate won there was in 1998.
Recent polls have also shown Biden unexpectedly competitive in Georgia, Ohio and Iowa.
The poll of 1,123 likely voters in South Carolina was conducted Sept. 23-27, before the debate. It has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.
Debate Sets Record for Crosstalk (1:53 p.m.)
The people transcribing Tuesday’s debate had their work cut out for them.
Trump’s aggressive approach to debating, including interrupting and talking over Biden and moderator Chris Wallace, made it hard to note who was talking in transcripts.
Those moments are typically labeled “crosstalk” in transcripts, and there were 73 of them Tuesday — far more than at any other recent debate.
By comparison, Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had 35 moments of crosstalk at their first debate, nine at their second and three at their third.
President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney had only 18 at their first debate, three at their second and nine at their third. — Phil Kuntz
Biden Campaign Selling ‘Shut Up, Man’ Shirts (12:13 p.m.)
The Biden campaign moved quickly after the debate to capitalize on one of his retorts to Trump.
Early in the debate, Trump began interrupting Biden, seeking to throw him off, at one point talking over him as he tried to discuss the Supreme Court opening.
“Will you shut up, man?” Biden said. “This is so unpresidential.”
On Twitter, Biden supporters immediately began calling for a T-shirt with the words on it. Independent designers sprang into action, putting “Will You Shut Up Man?” shirts on sale within hours. The Biden campaign followed suit, with a black T-shirt featuring the words in all caps across Trump’s face.
The shirt is selling for $30, which is counted as a small-dollar donation to the Biden campaign.
Harvard Republicans Back Trump This Time Around (11:13 a.m.)
After sitting out the election for the first time in 128 years in 2016, Harvard Republicans decided to endorse Trump on Wednesday, just hours after the first presidential debate.
The Harvard Republican Club made headlines for refusing to support Trump four years ago, and some conservative undergrads had been lobbying for it to reverse course this time, according to the Harvard Crimson.
In an open letter, the group’s executive board praised Trump’s record on foreign policy and taxes and his commitment to fighting for an “enduring moral order.” The letter also praised Trump’s “careful prudence in all decisions,” arguing that Democrats have “abandoned truth in favor of a radicalized view of a relative reality.”
“After spirited conversation, our board has concluded that President Trump upheld many of his campaign promises to unwaveringly press for the interests of all Americans,” the endorsement from the group’s executive board reads.
Muslims Praise Biden’s Use of Arabic Saying
Biden’s use of a common Arabic saying during Tuesday’s debate delighted Muslims online.
During a question about his taxes, Trump argued that a New York Times report was incorrect and that voters would know that when they see his tax returns, which he has long promised to release eventually.
“When?” Biden said. “Inshallah?”
Loosely translated as “God willing,” “inshallah” is used by Muslims to refer to events that may happen in the future. But in everyday speech it’s also sometimes used ironically, as a joking way of saying something is not going to happen.
The moment was widely noted by Muslims online, who called it a pitch-perfect use.
“Not only did Biden say ‘Inshallah,’ he used it in the colloquial context meaning ‘not really,’” said Shahed Amanullah, managing director of the Frost Capital equity fund, on Twitter.
Nevada Attorney General Warns Trump’s Poll Watchers They could Face Prosecution (9:18 a.m.)
People who heed Trump’s request at the debate to show up at the polls and “watch very carefully” could be prosecuted for voter intimidation, the attorney general of Nevada warned Wednesday.
“Trump also told ‘his supporters’ to ‘go into the polls and watch very carefully.’ But he wasn’t talking about poll watching. He was talking about voter intimidation,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a tweet. “FYI — voter intimidation is illegal in Nevada. Believe me when I say it: You do it, and you will be prosecuted.”
When asked by debate moderator Chris Wallace whether he would encourage his supporters to stay calm and not cause unrest while waiting for the certified election outcome, Trump said he would strongly urge them to monitor voters at polling sites for “bad things.”
Republican officials are recruiting 50,000 poll watchers, claiming they want to prevent Democrats from “stealing” the election. The Virginia attorney general last week issued an opinion reminding people of the illegality of voter intimidation after supporters of the president gathered outside of an early polling site in Fairfax County. — Emma Kinery
Biden Ad Highlights Trump’s Call to Proud Boys to ‘Stand By’ (8:32 a.m.)
The Biden campaign has produced an ad highlighting Trump’s call to the far-right Proud Boys to “stand by” as members of the violent group embraced the moment.
“There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night,” Biden says in a Twitter post accompanying the ad, released early Wednesday.
The ad shows torch-bearing marchers in the street, followed by Trump’s remark during the Tuesday debate that members of the group should “stand back and stand by” when he was asked by moderator Chris Wallace to disavow white supremacists.
The Proud Boys are applauding Trump’s comment. One known social media account for the group made “Stand back. Stand by” part of its new logo, according to NBC News. — Todd Shields and Kathleen Hunter
Post-Debate YouTube Strategies Mirror Campaigns (6:58 a.m.)
President Donald Trump’s campaign highlighted confrontational moments at the debate on YouTube, while Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s camp picked two calmer clips.
In an echo of the aggressive campaign and debate strategies, the Trump campaign posted nearly 22 clips on YouTube in the hours after the debate showing him attacking Biden over his son, Hunter; the Obama administration’s handling of the H1N1 virus; and his support for a 1990s crime bill, among other things.
“President Trump rips Joe Biden for his horrible treatment of Black Americans and his racist comments,” read the title of one video.
The Biden campaign’s videos, meantime, echoed his effort to present himself as a calming influence. In one, Biden urges people to vote and notes that even if Trump cries foul over mail-in ballots, they will still be counted. In another, he criticizes Trump’s coronavirus response.
“Joe Biden on Trump’s Lack of a Covid-19 Plan,” the video was titled.
Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence will debate on Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City.
— With assistance by Todd Shields, Kathleen Hunter, Emma Kinery, and Phil Kuntz