Margaret Brennan On First Presidential Debate: ‘I Would Love Our Country To Have A Serious Conversation About Where We Are Headed’

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(CBS Local)– There are 34 days until the 2020 Presidential Election and on Tuesday, President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met for their first debate. Like many others, Face The Nation host and CBS News foreign correspondent Margaret Brennan thought it was a struggle to watch. With less than five weeks until the election, Brennan hopes the candidates will provide more details on their plans to help the nation battle COVID-19, recover from an economic depression and deal with racial injustice plaguing people of color.

“It was a tough 90 minutes to watch, particularly for someone like me who was looking to hear more about the policies and the affirmative case that the candidates were to make to the public to say why they should be voted for,” said Brennan, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “We didn’t get a lot of that. We got a lot of over talk, at times it seemed almost shouting and it didn’t look good frankly. Perhaps it is reflecting the state of our very divided populous right now and our tribal politics. It’s also worth remembering and I keep this in mind given I’m still a foreign affairs correspondent on top of Face The Nation, the image it projects to the rest of the world. That chaos that seemed to be on the debate stage at times is amplified and then broadcast to the rest of the world. I also wonder what do our adversaries and allies think in watching this. Democracy looked pretty messy last night.”

Brennan also points out that all the major crises going on right now will still be there regardless of who gets elected in November. Tens of thousands of people are still losing their jobs, a vaccine for the coronavirus will most likely not be widely distributed until 2021 and the country will still be dealing with national security issues domestically and internationally.

“I would have liked to have heard more about what the plan is to deal with all of those things,” said Brennan. “Fundamentally, the office of the presidency and its very first responsibility is to protect us as Americans and tell us how that commander in chief is going to execute on it. We didn’t hear any of that and we certainly didn’t hear much of the economy. Perhaps, a little bit on health care but that was only framed in what is happening in the courts or the legislative solution to fix some of the problems with the existing Affordable Care Act.”

“Face The Nation” airs every Sunday morning on CBS and Brennan tries to use her platform each week to listen to others and provide context to the topics being discussed by her guests and panelists. The host and moderator of the flagship Sunday morning news program on CBS hopes her show can provide important information for undecided voters at home over the course of the next month and a half.

“I’m always imploring people to drop the tribal allegiances and hear what’s being said,” said Brennan. “Some of the things that I’m looking for and I’m concerned about because they’re going to make it very complicated by the time we get to Election Night to have clear views on things such as the COVID infection rate in certain states. Particularly, in the Midwest. Right now, infection rates are rising. Wisconsin in particular, such a key state, they are seeing this happen right now. That trend is worrisome because that trend affects going out to vote in-person. Then you add in the complications and lawsuits and everything we are seeing at the state level in terms of how to execute that. Remember, the election is executed by the states. They are the frontlines here. Watching that is just going to be really complicated to get a clear view and a quick view of what’s going on. I would love to see us as a country have a serious conversation with ourselves about where we want to be headed.”

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