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Race in America highlighted in final presidential debate in Nashville

Updated: Oct. 22, 2020 at 3:16 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - Security was tight on and around Belmont’s campus Thursday night. The National Guard also there in case any problems should arise.

This debate was a bit different from the last. This time, there were six different 15-minute segments during the 90 minutes of debate time. While each candidate spoke the other’s microphone was muted to allow the candidates to make their points without interruption.

One of the highlights of the debate was race in America:

Trump: “As far as my relationships with all people, I think I have great relationships with all people,” said President Donald Trump. “I am the least racist person in this room.”

Moderator: “What do you say to Americans who are concerned about that rhetoric?”

Trump: “I don’t know what to say. I got criminal justice reform done, prison reform, opportunity zones. I took care of black colleges and universities. I don’t know what to say.”

Biden rebutted: "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. He started his campaign coming down that escalator and saying he’s going to get rid of those Mexican racists. He banned Muslims because they are Muslims. He has moved around and made every single thing worse.”

WMC Action News 5 Political Analyst Mike Nelson said there was one aspect of the debate that left him wanting more.

“What was not so good is we heard a lot more I’d say about the past than about what they intend to do over the next four years: 39 whichever one of them is elected," said Nelson. "Well, I want to hear what their agenda is for new public policies, domestic policy, foreign policy, economic policy. Take the COVID crisis for example. There was a lot of back-and-forth over who’s fault was it and who should’ve done what and very little about what will happen going forward.”

Now that it’s all over, Tennessee has hosted a grand total of two presidential debates and both of them have happened here at Belmont University.

Belmont, in the heart of Nashville, hosted the 2008 Town Hall debate between then Senators Barack Obama and John McCain.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher says the university competed hard for tonight’s debate starting two years ago and Fisher says the debate commission seems to like Nashville as an oasis of blue inside a red state where supporters of both candidates can be found.

“Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people for at least 2 years. We worked hard to get our proposal together," said Fisher. “We were selected by the debate commission a year ago. We expected a repeat of our 2008 with President Obama and Senator McCain. Turns out a lot of things have changed.”

Fisher grew up in Blytheville, received his MBA from the University of Memphis and his doctorate from the University of Arkansas.

In the past 20 years, he’s led this university to incredible growth with the addition of programs in pharmacy, law and now medicine!

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