The following is a transcript of an investigative report on Full Measure News. Click on the link at the end of the transcript to watch the video story.
This week President Trump and former Vice-President Biden met for the first debate in Cleveland. It was a face off filled with real time issues facing Americans on the homefront. Scott Thuman takes a look at what the candidates brought to the stage.
Chris Wallace: The question goes to you first, sir. Two minutes uninterrupted.
Joe Biden: Good luck.
Scott Thuman: It was less of a conversation.
Joe Biden: That is simply a lie.
President Trump: Your party wants to go socialist.
Scott: More of a collision.
President Trump: What did you do over the last
Joe Biden: Because you weren't president, screwing things up.
Scott: President Trump and former Vice President Biden met and argued.
President Trump: Wait a minute, Joe, let me shut you down for a second.
Joe Biden: You're the worst president America has ever had.
Scott: And sometimes debated.
President Trump: Because you didn't think I should have closed our country.
Joe Biden: You know, he talks about the 'Art of the Deal,' China's perfected the art of the steal.
Scott: While moderator Chris Wallace, almost powerless, watched the wheels come off.
Chris Wallace: You know what? Wait. Stop! You're gonna have. Gentlemen!
Scott: The morning after reactions, suggesting the biggest loser of the night, not either candidate, but the American people, and the debate itself. Though it's worth remembering, presidential debates have often been combative.
(video: 2016 Trump Clinton debate)
President Trump: Just go to her website, she tells you how to fight ISIS on her website; I don't think General Douglas MacArthur would like that too much.
Lester Holt: The next segment will continue
Hillary Clinton: Well, at least I have a plan to fight ISIS.
Trump: No, no, you're telling the enemy everything you want to do.
Scott: It's true the tone of the events has changed over the years. There used to be more friendly laughter.
(Video: 1988 Bush Dukakis debate)
President Bush: Before we go to deployment on the midget-man missile, or on the minuteman, whatever it is, we're going to have to -the Mx, Mx we're going to have to do that. (laughs). It's Christmas.
Scott: On Tuesday, Joe Biden chuckled plenty, but he clearly wasn't having fun.
Joe Biden: Will you shut up man.
Trump: Listen who is on your list
Scott: Some tradition did carry on, like the age-old feature of zingers.
President Trump: In 47 months I've done more than you've done in 47 years Joe.
Joe Biden: He wouldn't know a suburb unless he took a wrong turn.
Trump: Oh I know suburbs.
Scott: And while each cycle seems to have its own killer one-liners.
(Video: 1992 Bush Clinton Perot debate)
Ross Perot: There will be a giant sucking sound going south.
Scott: It's hard to imagine anyone topping President Reagan, then 72 and the oldest president to serve, debating 56-year-old Walter Mondale.
(video: 1984 Reagan Mondale debate)
Reagan: I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.
Scott: Sixty-five million Americans tuned in to watch that first debate in 1984. By 2004, when George W Bush met Senator John Kerry, the number was a little lower at sixty-two million. Rebounding in 2016, when Donald Trump squared off against Hillary Clinton in front of eighty-four million people. The early figures from this week's debate suggest the audience was lower than four years ago.
Chris Wallace: Let's try to be serious about it.
Scott: And to those that were disappointed, by the less-than-presidential behavior at times, and perhaps wondering if there's any point in having more nights like this.
Chris Wallace: Mr. President, can you let him finish.
Joe Biden: He doesn't know how to do that.
Scott: Both campaigns quickly confirmed that however messy, however nasty it might get, they'll be back for more.
Trump: Because people want to hear what I have to say.
Click on the link below to watch the video report on FullMeasure.news: