Karl Rove and Donna Brazile give Trump and Biden advice ahead of debate

Biden and Trump face off in their first debate Tuesday night in Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- They’re living legends in the political world.

Fox News contributors Karl Rove and Donna Brazile – ahead of the initial presidential debate – shared what they’d tell President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden if they were helping the candidates prepare for the showdown.

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“Joe Biden needs to speak to mom-and-pop America and their children at home. Let them know that their 25-year-old kid who’s unable to go back to school because of COVID-19 will now face losing health care. Talk to them. Do not respond only to Donald Trump. Talk to the American people,” said Brazile, who managed Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign and who twice served as interim chair of the Democratic National Committee over the past decade.

Brazile also stressed that the debate – which is being hosted by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio – “is an opportunity to talk to probably the largest gathering of people before the election so he should use his time wisely. Let them know that he understands what’s going on in their house, in their community. … Answer the questions but then talk to the American people.”

The debate – the first of three showdowns between the incumbent president and the former vice president – is being moderated by "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace. Last week he chose six topics for the 90-minute commercial-free showdown that will be divided into six 15-minute sections devoted to each topic.

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The issues include the fierce Supreme Court nomination battle, the worst pandemic to strike the globe in more than a century, a national economy flattened by coronavirus, the racial justice protests and violence that have flared in cities across the nation, and the integrity of the election. The latter is a crucial issue, considering the president for months has railed against expanded voting by mail, repeatedly charging that it would lead to a “rigged election.”

Rove, the mastermind behind both of President George W. Bush’s presidential election victories, highlighted that the president “needs to be figuring out how he can pivot from his answer and push the question back on Biden. And most important of all, he needs to look for opportunities that put Biden on the defense about coronavirus pandemic, because Biden has weaknesses and the weaknesses have not yet been exposed to the American people.”

And Rove urged that Trump “needs to be able to go back on the offense. And he’s got some great material.”