Debate? What debate? Forget the debate! Look over here at these coronavirus numbers!
How do you know that CNN knows that President Trump won last night's debate? This morning, they were hoping that voters will forget all about the debate. And CNN did its best to distract people's attention with the unfolding horror show of new coronavirus cases.
During New Day's 6 am hour, co-host Alisyn Camerota pointed to the latest virus numbers, showing increases in cases and hospitalizations. Echoing those same statistics, co-host John Berman expressed the fervent hope that they'd be enough to make Americans forget about the debate:
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Overnight, more than 71,000 new cases reported. That is the fourth-worst day since the pandemic began. More than 41,000 people are hospitalized. That’s the most in two months. Eight states reporting record hospitalizations. And deaths increasing in more than half of the country....
JOHN BERMAN: 71,000 new coronavirus cases overnight. And more than 41,000 people hospitalized. Both of those numbers heading steeply upwards. By the middle of next week, it may very well be that's all Americans are thinking about. They won't even remember what happened at the debate stage last night.
Over on Morning Joe, MSNBC's John Heilemann also reluctantly acknowledged Trump's strong performance. But he contrived to do so in an insulting way, saying, "Quaalude Trump is better than crystal meth Trump." Translation: the calmer Trump of last night was better than the more intense Trump of the first debate. Even so, insisted Heilemann, Trump was not "that great." So, great-but-not-that-great. We'll take that from a confirmed Trump hater like Heilemann.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So, John Heilemann, your take on the debate last night?
JOHN HEILEMANN: So, the quick takes, right? I think, you know, you think about these two debates. I think Quaalude Trump is better than crystal meth Trump, you know, from the last debate.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Wow.
HEILEMANN: So that was like an improvement. I think —
SCARBOROUGH: It's like getting the benefit of Jon Meacham being here without Jon Meacham being here. Who can ever forget when he talked about the crackhead part of Thomas Jefferson's second adminstration, which ultimately [inaudible] the Louisana Purchase?.
MIKA: Quaalude Trump!
SCARBOROUGH: But go ahead. So Quaalude Trump — so Quaaludes, if we’re going down that road, they wore off about an hour and 15 into the debate.
HEILEMANN: They did. He needed one extra lude to get him through the whole thing and he wasn’t quite there. But I still think, even though Quaalude Trump was better than crystal meth Trump, Quaalude Trump was still not that great.