Sen. Rand Paul on first debate: 'I can only describe it as exhausting'

This is a rush transcript from “Your World with Neil Cavuto" September, 30 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Thank you, Bill, very, very much.

 

We are following developments right now in New Alexandria, Virginia, where the vice president will be -- the former vice president will be making a stop, right now, Duluth, Minnesota as well, where the president of the United States will be campaigning, again battleground states, all.

 

And this after the big debate that has both sides sort of champing at the bit to either explain themselves or add a little bit to the drama. Word as well that the Presidential Debate Commission wants to rejigger the rules to avoid some of the talk-over that was kind of much going from beginning to end in last night's debate.

 

We will explore what kind of options they're considering, short of a cattle prod.

 

Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. And this is YOUR WORLD.

 

And the day after the big debate, some big disappointment that it wasn't the ratings blockbuster some had thought and maybe hoped. There was talk that it could generate better than 100 million viewers. It might have started out that way. We really don't know.

 

But we do have indications that the audience did peter off as the debate went on. We will get into that in a second.

 

In the meantime, the post-election -- or debate push right now as both candidates try to capitalize on what they sensed were big gains for each of them to their respective bases and still undecided voters. There are many of them still out there.

 

John Roberts with more from the White House right now on the president's plans -- John.

 

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Neil, good afternoon to you.

 

There was a moment last night that's been talked about a lot today. That's when the president was asked by Chris Wallace if he would denounce white supremacist groups. The president said, well, could you name a group? Joe Biden chimed in and said the group Proud Boys, which is a self-described Western chauvinist group.

 

The president said, well, they should stand back and stand by. Nobody was quite sure what the president meant by that. He was asked about it just a little while ago as he was leaving the White House, said he doesn't even know who the Proud Boys are.

 

Listen here.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know who the Proud Boys are. I mean, you will have to give me a definition, because I really don't know who they are.

 

I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work. Law enforcement will do the work more and more. As people see how bad this radical liberal Democrat movement is and how weak, the law enforcement is going to come back stronger and stronger.

 

But, again, I don't know who Proud Boys are, but ,whoever they are, they have to stand down.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

ROBERTS: The Proud Boys themselves are cheering what the president said last night, incorporating "Stand back and stand by" into their logo, even selling T-shirts say "Stand by."

 

Asked today again whether he denounces white supremacy, the president was much more forceful about it. Listen here.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP: I have always denounced any form, any form, any form of any of that. You have to denounce.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

ROBERTS: Now, a lot of criticism about the verbal food fight that erupted last night when there was supposed to be a debate taking place.

 

The Commission on Presidential Debates saying it's going to make some changes for the October 15 and October 22 debates, The CPD in a statement saying: "Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues."

 

The Trump campaign taking issue with the commission, saying -- quote -- "They're only doing this because their guy got pummeled last night. President Trump was the dominant force. And now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs. They shouldn't be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game."

 

There's plenty of blame to go around. I mean, certainly, President Trump was interrupting Joe Biden, but Joe Biden also said, "Will you shut up, man," words that I have never heard uttered in a presidential debate, but words that the Biden campaign is now fund-raising off of, because, as the Proud Boys are selling standing by T-shirts, the Biden campaign is now selling "Will you shut up,man?" T-shirts?

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

ROBERTS: Everybody's got an angle. Everybody's got an angle.

 

CAVUTO: I guess so.

 

I'm curious. Chris Christie was among those -- and I believe he was helping prepare the president for the debate -- saying that it got a little heated. I'm paraphrasing here.

 

ROBERTS: Yes, a little too hot.

 

CAVUTO: Right.

 

How has the president reacted to some of the concerns raised by, well, fellow Republicans?

 

ROBERTS: I don't know how he's reacted in private.

 

But, in public, he came out a little while ago and said that the debate is getting great reviews. So, I think publicly, at least, the president is exuding confidence in what he did last night.

 

But, as you pointed out, Chris Christie saying that, while he thought the president needed to come out and be aggressive, he did get a little too hot last night. So, we will see what the next debate brings.

 

It's going to be a town hall format on October the 15th. It might be more conducive to a substantive discussion of the issues. But you get these two guys together in a room, Neil, you just never know.

 

CAVUTO: You know, it's more like a gut read.

 

John, and you follow these things for many a year, but I clearly got the impression these guys do not like each other. They can't feign it. They can't do the politically correct thing and sort of cover it up and be genteel about it. They don't like each other.

 

ROBERTS: You think?

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

CAVUTO: All right, M&Ms for everybody, M&Ms for everybody.

 

ROBERTS: Yes.

 

CAVUTO: Maybe, had they pursued that with your idea yesterday, you could have been onto something, John.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

CAVUTO: But too little, too late.

 

ROBERTS: Just to give you context, back in their heyday, Van Halen used to put in their concert ridder that they wanted a bowl of M&Ms with the brown ones removed.

 

And everybody said, what's that all about? Apparently, it was just so that they could be sure that the promoter read the rider, because they would inevitably get a phone call saying, you want what, which told them that the promoter read the rider.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

CAVUTO: That's wild.

 

All right, thank you, my friend, John Roberts on all of that.

 

ROBERTS: You bet.

 

CAVUTO: I don't know where Senator Rand Paul stands on M&Ms or any other kind of favors we can do for the candidates to bring down the heat, but he joins us right now, the Kentucky Republican senator, Rand Paul.

 

Senator, what did you think of last night's debate? Everyone's saying talk- over, the screaming back and forth, that it was a waste of time. What do you say?

 

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): I can only describe it as exhausting. It was exhausting even to watch, much less participate in. I, frankly, don't think it was that informative.

 

And I have got a suggestion for the Presidential Commission too, if they're listening. Why don't we do a 30-minute interview with each candidate in separate rooms? Don't put them in the same room, but really try to get a little more of an in-depth conversation, challenge them, push them to answer questions more completely.

 

But the debate format is sort of like this mini-war. But I don't think it's that informative. I really would rather see a long-form interview. I would do 30 minutes with each. An hour-and-a-half is, frankly, too long. Anybody that watched an hour-and-a-half that didn't have to, I wonder what was going on.

 

But, also, I don't think it was that great for the people in the middle, those who are undecided yet. I don't think there was a lot that was garnered from last night that might convince you either way.

 

I mean, I think the one important issue on Biden's responses was that, when he was asked, would he pack Supreme Court, he wouldn't answer. And I think that's a pretty important question, because that's a pretty dramatic change to our form of government, and I think could be very destructive.

 

And I think, frankly, the media ought to force him to answer that question.

 

But, other than that, I didn't get a whole lot out of the debate.

 

CAVUTO: You know, Senator, I wonder if the president himself hurt his case to force that out of -- Rand Paul, because the president scored a number of powerful points last night.

 

But on that issue of whether Joe Biden would pack the court or blow up the filibuster, any of these other matters, naming a group in law enforcement that supports him, the president's interruptions were such that they gave Biden an opportunity to not have to bother answering.

 

And I'm wondering, in the next debate, for either gentlemen, whether that's a smart strategy for the guy trying to get the best of him?

 

PAUL: Yes, I think letting Vice President Biden talk more actually might be a good strategy.

 

I do think that, when he said, I am the Democrat party, he was very forceful with that, that he was rebuking his left and saying, I'm not for the Green New Deal, even though he has actually said he was for the Green New Deal in the past. That rebuke to the left-wing needs to be out there and to be aired.

 

But the other thing is when he says, I am the Democrat Party, when he was asked, well, why don't you call the governors and mayors where the cities are on fire in Portland and Seattle and Chicago, he said, well, it's none of my business.

 

I think that point needs to be hammered home, that, if he thinks he is the Democrat Party, he is their nominee, why isn't he willing to do anything to try to have some law and order and stop the arson, the Molotov cocktails, and the violence in our cities?

 

CAVUTO: I would be curious to get your take on the president last night and his comments on this so-called hate group Proud Boys.

 

He seemed familiar with it last night, stand still, stand down, but unfamiliar with it today. What do you know about it? Do you think the president should be more forceful in specific opposition to specific so- called hate groups? What would you advise?

 

PAUL: You know, I think the point needs to be made explicitly that we are unequivocally opposed to white supremacy or any kind of political ideology based on race, any kind of law or legal philosophy based on race.

 

And that goes for anybody. We believe in individual liberty, that every individual is judged as an individual, not collectively as a group, and that it means nothing to say that you are black or white or brown. It's about who you are as an individual. And that's about the party we have always been.

 

That needs to be unequivocal. When you get beyond that, though, I think it is important to note that there are some on the left now -- Black Lives Matter, for instance, in Louisville, Kentucky, has said that they are glad that my wife has were terrorized and that they want us to be terrorized and they want us to live in fear.

 

So, I think this is a group that is using race in an incorrect fashion, and is saying that white people and representatives need to live in fear. And I think there's a problem with that as well.

 

So while, yes, we should denounce white supremacy, we should also denounce any group that is believing in any kind of racial superiority or some sort of collective racial way of thinking of things.

 

CAVUTO: You know, very quickly, Senator, we don't know exactly what the Debate Commission is talking about in setting up new parameters for the next couple of debates, I guess, including the upcoming vice presidential debate.

 

Some have suggested that the moderator be free to cut -- cut their mics if they're going over or if they're doing, well, essentially what they were doing last night. Are you pro cut their mics?

 

PAUL: I was thinking more like an opening in the floor, that you fall through the opening in the floor.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

PAUL: And that's it.

 

CAVUTO: A little "Austin Powers" stuff. All right. All right.

 

PAUL: And I think that -- yes, just no sort of warnings, no sort of like, oh, slap on the hand. Just immediately the floor opens.

 

No, it's hard to control two strong-willed people on a debate stage like that.

 

CAVUTO: Absolutely.

 

PAUL: But I think people should think about a long-form interview.

 

Think about, in your career as an interviewer, how sometimes you get more over a long interview as you try to draw someone out. Some interviews are great at drawing something out of people they didn't intend to say.

 

And maybe we'd get more out of them actually individually in a 30-minute, followed by 30 minutes. So, it's a big audience, but you do 30 minutes of the same questions to each candidate, but the follow-on questions by the interviewer might be slightly different to try to draw out a full answer.

 

CAVUTO: That's interesting. That could be a very telling moment.

 

Also, you have got us thinking now, Senator, that we should look at the floor space in the next couple of interviews...

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

CAVUTO: ... and whether you can drop people, like a Dr. Evil thing.

 

PAUL: The trapdoor.

 

CAVUTO: Real quickly, how is your dad doing?

 

PAUL: You know, he's doing...

 

CAVUTO: Yes. How he's doing? How he's feeling?

 

PAUL: He's doing great.

 

And it's a -- it's a miracle of modern medicine. He was given medication to reverse an impending stroke. And he's completely free of symptoms. His symptoms went away as the medicine went in. And we're very thankful.

 

He was back doing his program live. I suggested he could do it taped.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

PAUL: But I called him in the hospital right after the episode was happening, as he was getting better.

 

And he was already complaining: "I have got to finish the interview. We're going to talk about the Iran agreement."

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

PAUL: "I have got to" -- he was ready to go back to the studio and finish the interview.

 

He took one day off, but if it's any sense of his work ethic, he was back the next day doing a live program.

 

CAVUTO: All right, it's in the Paul family DNA.

 

Thank you, Senator. Give my best to dad.

 

PAUL: Thank you.

 

CAVUTO: I'm happy to hear all of that, Rand Paul.

 

We are going to explore this trapdoor thing. I think he might be on to something.

 

All right, in the Green New Deal, now in the Democratic platform, it's in there loud and clear, but, apparently, it's not the same Green New Deal that Joe Biden endorses. What?

 

After this.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I don't support the Green New Deal.

 

TRUMP: Oh, you don't? Oh, well, that is a big statement.

 

That means you...

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRUMP: ... the radical left.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

BIDEN: I support the Biden plan.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

CAVUTO: All right, with a bow to Harry Truman and his own whistle-stop tour, Joe Biden having a train tour across these battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

 

Jacqui Heinrich, now in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, without things went and are continuing to go today.

 

Hey, Jacqui.

 

JACQUI HEINRICH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Neil.

 

Well, Joe and Jill Biden are making seven stops along this trip, ending with a driving event in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, similar to what we saw at the DNC. And Joe's not riding alone. There are people who are struggling to pay their bills that are hopping on board for a leg of the trip to talk with the former vice president about his plans for the country.

 

And he's also addressing crowds like this one. There are several hundred people here. There's also a small group of protesters, Trump supporters, toward the back. People are up on the bridge behind me and awaiting his arrival at the train station here.

 

The focus has been Biden's Build Back Better plan, a big focus on the economy, jobs and the middle class, lots of discussion about how President Trump is out of touch with the middle class.

 

But most of the attention and the questioning has been on last night's debate. Biden said he expected the president's attacks. He tried to quell concerns about a violent transition if the election results are questioned and also criticized the president for failing to condemn a white supremacist group, sharing his own message that the Proud Boys and people like them should cease and desist.

 

He said he wished there was more substance in last night's debate and hoped the Commission on Presidential Debates would make necessary adjustments for the next one.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BIDEN: My hope is that they're able to literally say, the question gets asked of Trump. He has a microphone. He has two minutes to answer the question. No one else has a microphone.

 

And then I don't know what it's going to -- the actual rules are going to be, literally. But that's what seem to me to make some sense. But I'm looking -- I'm looking forward it. My hope...

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HEINRICH: Now, despite some of the criticism of that event, Democrats think Biden did very well.

 

The campaign announced that they broke a single hour fund-raising record between 10:00 and 11:00 last night, hauling in $3.8 million in just that single hour -- Neil.

 

CAVUTO: All right, Jacqui, thank you very much -- Jacqui Heinrich on that.

 

I want to go right now to Tim Ryan, the Ohio Democratic congressman.

 

So much to talk about, including the back-and-forth on the Green New Deal, Congressman.

 

But I did want to get your take on an idea that the former vice president was advancing for the next debates, that everyone kind of stick to time, everyone know what they have to do. It's the same that was in place for last night's debate.

 

We know the Debate Commission wants to establish some procedures that can enforce this. Would you be open to giving the moderator or the commission the power to cut a candidate or candidates' mics if they interrupt, if they get obnoxious, no matter who does it?

 

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Yes, I won't go as far as the "Game of Thrones" throw-them-through-the-floor analogy that Rand Paul had.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

RYAN: But I think, yes, you cut the mics. You give that power to the moderator.

 

And I think, in this day and age, we should have a modern fact-checking, instantaneous fact-checking, where you can actually keep score throughout the course of the 90-minute debate and figure out right at the end who's saying what, and which is the truth or shades of the truth and all of that.

 

There's no reason why the presidential commission can't put that together as well. I think that would be a great service. Walter Cronkite isn't around anymore to call balls and strikes. So, we maybe need this presidential commission to step in and make sure that the American people, 100 million or however many are watching, actually know instantaneously who's telling the truth.

 

CAVUTO: Even if that applies to Joe Biden and some doozies he was saying last night? So, you think it should apply to both men?

 

RYAN: Well, of course, Neil, it should apply to both, yes.

 

CAVUTO: OK.

 

RYAN: I think Biden...

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

CAVUTO: All right, because much has been made about the president's behavior, Congressman.

 

And I understand your frustration with -- even me covering it on FBN, which, by the way, Congressman, if you don't get, you should demand, but one of the things that came up in this was, where are they going?

 

For example, the focus was on the president and his interruptions. I get that. But Joe Biden called the president a clown. He called him a liar. He said he was a racist, told him to shut up.

 

So, aren't they both, then, being childish? Are you surprised that it's only been deemed one way, only the president was that way?

 

RYAN: Look, Neil, any objective person who was watching this knows that it was the president who consistently was interrupting, badgering, and just trying to manipulate the whole situation in a very obnoxious way.

 

And I have been called worse by my mom...

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

CAVUTO: Yes, but he did it too, Congressman. He did it too. I'm not meaning to be facetious. But -- I'm not being facetious.

 

RYAN: Listen, the -- Neil...

 

CAVUTO: But I'm just saying, like, is there a way to at least, if you're going to great behavior -- and I'm with you.

 

RYAN: OK.

 

CAVUTO: I think, be consistent and all that.

 

RYAN: OK. Let's...

 

CAVUTO: But did the vice president comport himself in any presidential way in response?

 

RYAN: Let's -- let's compare, OK? You say -- you want to use the example of a clown?

 

Donald Trump was -- failed to deny that he would -- he would reprimand a racist group, a white supremacist group. He did not do that. There is no equivalency to calling him a clown vs. not being able, as president of the United States on a debate stage, with 100 million people, knowing what's happening around the issues of race, knowing what's happening around the issues of violence, for our president of this country not to be able to clearly denounce that group and cease and desist and everything that Joe Biden said.

 

How about what he said about Hunter Biden? How...

 

CAVUTO: All right, so, let me turn it around then to you, Congressman.

 

Is it incumbent upon -- is it incumbent upon Joe Biden, then, when he's asked something about the Supreme Court situation now, and that he is not going to comment on what Democrats are calling for, packing the court or getting rid of the filibuster, isn't it incumbent upon him to answer a question like that?

 

RYAN: Look, this is a debate.

 

If he doesn't answer, he should be held accountable for not answering. And people who answer a certain way or don't say things like Trump, they should be held accountable. And I think the American people need to understand this.

 

I never, Neil, never have met somebody who would do on stage to a father who has a son with a drug issue and badger that father on the issue of Hunter Biden and cocaine. That was absolutely disgusting to see the president of the United States get that low in front -- I wouldn't -- I'd be mad at somebody who just did that to a father who was trying to help a kid through a drug problem, let alone on the debate stage.

 

That is...

 

CAVUTO: All right, so, let me ask you this.

 

Do you think anyone, either candidate should -- if either one gets into the other's family, that should not be allowed? Should that be something that the Debate Commission consider? You go into the family and our children and what they're doing, you're out of bounds, cut your mic?

 

RYAN: Absolutely, Neil.

 

But I just want to say, this is the Donald Trump America. This is the America we live in now, where you actually have to tell a president that he's not allowed to bring up his opponent's family or son's issue around addiction.

 

How disgusting is this? I mean, come on. Like, are we really having this conversation right now? We should -- we have to ask the president to denounce a white supremacist group? I mean, are you freaking kidding me?

 

Are we really having this -- we have people that are out of work. We have an economy...

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

CAVUTO: So, if the Biden camp -- all right, well, fair is fair, right?

 

So, if the Biden campaign brings up the Trump children and their ties and business and otherwise to the White House, what's fair, what's foul?

 

RYAN: Whatever the rules are, the rules are.

 

I think -- I think that would obviously be fair. I think that's all -- a lot of that's out of bounds, especially when you're talking around addiction or issues around addiction and the pain and the heartache around the death of a child.

 

And that just -- that, to me, is appalling, Neil. And I think Trump really hurt himself with that, to be honest.

 

So, he's allowed to keep saying whatever he wants. Here's the thing. You can make up all the rules you want. There were rules for this debate, and Trump didn't abide by any of them.

 

So, like, you could make up all the rules you want. But I guess, if you're turning off the microphone, that may work. But I don't think you can -- you can restrict President Trump to not saying things, because there is no line he won't cross, there is no bottom that he will hit.

 

CAVUTO: All right, he was talking about Hunter Biden there and those references and business ties, a son who is still very much alive.

 

But you raise a very good point, Congressman, that maybe just leave family out of it. We will see.

 

RYAN: I mean, I can't believe we even have to agree on that.

 

But, I mean, look, if your family business dealings -- and Biden answered that. I thought the president crossed the line when he starts talking about an issue around addiction.

 

I come from Ohio, where we have had a ton of issues around addiction, around heroin, around opiates. This has devastated many, many states like Ohio. And for the president that drag that up, that is irrelevant to the well-being of most people.

 

They want to talk about jobs, the economy, health care, and all of that. And he ends up talking about that. I just -- I think he really hurt himself, Neil. I think he did himself no favors.

 

CAVUTO: All right.

 

RYAN: And it's just going to be, how do we get through this the next five weeks?

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

CAVUTO: Well, they all got into a lot of stuff, none of them well, because it went on and on and on, and the talk-over just made it virtually unwatchable.

 

But you raise a number of good points. We will see if the Debate Commission is listening to any this and coming up with ideas, the "Game of Thrones" stuff and the Dr. Evil stuff from "Austin Powers" notwithstanding.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

CAVUTO: So, we will see.

 

Congressman, thank you very, very much.

 

And, indeed, the Debate Commission is looking into these changes that they can implement as soon as, I understand, the vice presidential debate in about a week. So, they want to get hopping on this. We just don't know what they're going to get hopping on.

 

Stay with us. You're watching "Your World."

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

CAVUTO: All right, if the markets were worried about last night's crazy today, they had a funny way of showing it, ending the third quarter strongly up, the second improving quarter in a row, not so much for the month, all the major averages down for the month.

 

And now we go into the final quarter -- after this.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

CAVUTO: All right, a strong day for the markets the last day of the month.

 

As I said, not a great day for the major averages on the month, a very good quarter, though, but this latest jump, especially the last trading day of the month, seemingly emanating out of Washington with talk that Democrats and Republicans are closer than we think to a stimulus bill regarding the coronavirus.

 

Now, they're still apart by a few hundred billion dollars. It's just chump change today.

 

But Charlie Gasparino of FOX Business fame on what is impacting what.

 

I don't think, as a lot of people were saying, it had anything to do with the debate or the election. I think it had a lot to do with that stimulus measure that apparently got much closer and warmer than people thought.

 

Your thoughts?

 

CHARLIE GASPARINO, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

 

No, I agree with you 100 percent, Neil. And in this world, $100 billion is like -- that's like Cavuto money, just throw it around. You know what I mean?

 

CAVUTO: Really? Sure.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

GASPARINO: It's like how much you owed on taxes compared to Trump last year.

 

But...

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

GASPARINO: The -- I'm sorry. I couldn't pass that up.

 

CAVUTO: No, of course not.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

GASPARINO: Thank you.

 

But, listen, if you looked at futures, they were trading off this morning. I mean, my initial read and some other people I was speaking with, some -- the high-end financial advisers, was that Biden -- however you think this thing was shaking out last night, both of them didn't do so well, Biden came out ahead. He was still standing.

 

And what the president needed to do, the knockout punch he really didn't do. So, people were starting to talk about -- more seriously about a Biden presidency. If you look at the betting odds, they started going up dramatically on Biden winning, winning in November.

 

Not saying he will. I'm just telling you what the betting odds were saying. So, you saw futures trade off. And then they turned around. And they turned around on stimulus.

 

Listen, the markets love stimulus. We were talking to John Tamny on your FBN show today. And he was like, why is it that markets go up on stimulus? They shouldn't go up. Government stimulus never really works.

 

And he's right in the long term. It -- these sort of spending plans are incredibly effectual to jazzing up the economy long term. However, markets don't really react just long term. They react short term to a positive headline. And they like these headlines.

 

I think some other things are going on here. Listen, we're getting an uptick in COVID cases. But if you talk to enough traders, they are looking not at the cases. They're looking at the hospitalizations. That is something that's kind of -- that's come down.

 

Now, if those hospitalizations peak up again, you could see stocks trading off on that as well. I mean, that's become the new barometer on Wall Street is hospitalizations of COVID, so not just cases.

 

So there's some positive trends out there. And the other thing is, one thing about Biden, he at least -- and, listen, I don't like his tax plan. I think it's bad for the economy. It's anti-growth. He's going to have a -- if he wins, he's going to have a Democratic Congress pushing for much more regulations, and who knows, maybe breakup of tech.

 

But he rejected socialism last night, so that -- when you listen to his words, last night, they weren't as scary as -- they weren't AOC words, let's say, or Bernie Sanders. So, the market took maybe a little bit of solace on that, even though, Neil, I will tell you, if the Democrats control everything, it's going to be a 180 from the Trump economic policies.

 

And there's going to have to be a recalibration of stocks, I mean, just has to.

 

CAVUTO: We will see. We're still a ways to go, about a month to go.

 

Thank you, my friend, very, very much, Charlie Gasparino, star of FOX Business Network, which, if you don't get, you should demand. And if you're still not getting it, you should just leave your home and go off on a rampage and just say, why don't I have it?

 

All right, in the meantime here, some interesting developments that are happening right now across the country regarding the virus.

 

In New York City, I know this might shock some of you in the rest of the country, that they have not had indoor dining for the better part of, what, half-a-year.

 

It came back to the Big Apple today -- after this.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

CAVUTO: All right, for a lot of you in the rest of the country, it might seem like, New York City only now is allowing indoor dining?

 

Well, yes, it took place today at 25 percent capacity, but better late than never.

 

Now, how's that going down? Aishah Hasnie joins us in New York City -- Aishah.

 

AISHAH HASNIE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Neil.

 

A big day for restaurant owners and managers. Cosmic Diner right behind me waiting for the dinner rush right now. No one's inside. We have seen people, though, dining here pretty much throughout the day.

 

It's at 25 percent capacity here in New York City, but the question is, will it last, Neil? Restaurant managers have been very busy cleaning in preparation for today. Some have even spent thousands of dollars on those air filtration systems.

 

Among the guidelines, diners must get their temperature checked at the front door, and one person in the party has to hand over their contact information for tracing purposes.

 

Now, it's no secret, Neil, restaurants are struggling to survive. According to a New York City Hospitality Alliance poll, nearly 90 percent of the city's restaurants could not make their rent in August. Some managers and owners told me 25 percent indoor dining, simply not enough.

 

The state is hoping to expand that to 50 percent by November 1, but New York City's daily infection rate -- check this out -- just spiked above 3 percent for the first time in months. The mayor here, Bill de Blasio, says he's watching the seven-day rolling average. And he says he will reevaluate the whole thing if the infection rate continues to rise.

 

But whether it's indoor or outdoor, in those bubbles, medical experts that I have talked to say it's all about ventilation here. That is the key.

 

An interesting note. Mayor Bill de Blasio today, Neil, said that he would not participate in indoor dining as of yet, at least until the weather -- at least as long as the weather remains nice. He's going to keep on doing the outdoor dining. So, interesting there -- Neil.

 

CAVUTO: Aishah, thank you very, very much, Aishah Hasnie on all of that.

 

Jon Taffer with us right now. The name, of course, rings a big old bell to you, the "Bar Rescue" host, so much more. Jon did a lot for his fellow restauranteurs and bar owners, shop owners through this whole crisis. So, he gives a lot back and has some advice for those who are going to be opening up now. It's 25 percent capacity.

 

Jon, great to see you. How you doing?

 

JON TAFFER, HOST, "BAR RESCUE": Good, Neil. Great to be with you.

 

CAVUTO: You know, I remember, last time you were here, you were talking about, look, you can talk about 25 percent capacity, but you're essentially, for a restaurant or bar, you're really looking at 100 percent of your expenses, so just to get the staff in hand, turn the lights back on, get the business roaring again.

 

So, you're still going to be underwater as this kicks off, right?

 

TAFFER: Oh, absolutely, Neil.

 

For example, generally, the occupancy cost of a restaurant, what they pay in rent or mortgage or whatever, runs about 10 percent of revenue. So, if you're cutting revenue by 75 percent, now you're looking at a cost of 30-40 percent occupancy cost. That's why 90 percent of New York restaurants can't pay their rent, obviously. The numbers just don't work.

 

But there's an interesting thought, Neil. I, through a number of friends' restaurants, both fine dining and casual, have been tracking denials of reservations. Now, in a lot of places, like New Jersey and Connecticut, the numbers are actually ahead of last year, because New York's been shut down.

 

But I wanted to see. You hear that restaurants are full at 25 percent, you can't get a reservation for a week. So we tracked the denials to see what the total volume of reservations where. If the restaurants were open 100 percent, based upon the research we did, which was a small sampling, they'd only be full about 40 percent anyway.

 

From what de Blasio said, many people are not prepared to go to a restaurant yet. So the outside factors are playing a major role as to how many guests are coming, not only the allowed occupancy by each state.

 

So I suggest, if the restaurants had a 50 percent rule in New York, they would still only be running at about 40.

 

CAVUTO: So how do you advise those who are going to have to live with the 25 percent thing maybe for a while?

 

TAFFER: Well, the only way to do it, Neil, is to negotiate some type of a solution, because the fixed costs are going to kill you.

 

By the time you pay occupancy, insurance and product costs, you're not going to have the money to cover labor. So, it becomes a real issue if we don't renegotiate fixed costs like rent and work deals through with landlords.

 

Hoping for November 1, going up to a 50 percent occupancy in New York, for example, doesn't mean the marketplace is going to respond to 50 percent. That might not happen for months.

 

CAVUTO: Jon Taffer, "Bar Rescue" fame, so much more, thanks, my friend. I appreciate it.

 

TAFFER: Good to see you, Neil.

 

CAVUTO: All right, same here, Jon.

 

Interesting development we're getting out of the Federal Reserve, and it might sound gobbledygook and a little wonky, but the Fed now is warning big banks, don't be purchasing your stock or doing anything like that through the end of the year.

 

This is a bit unusual here, because banks have returned to considerable good health these days, even with the pandemic, some say maybe because of the pandemic. But they have these capital reserves requirement. The banks have a lot of money on the side just in case everything goes kablooey, and you know what hits the fan.

 

And they think, when they purchase shares or repurchase their own shares, it might lift the prices of their stock, but underlying that is the loss of money on the table.

 

So, I don't know whether this is telegraphing concerns going into the end of the year the Federal Reserve has either about the economy or a financial drop or some instability. But it's telling banks, the biggest ones among them, including Bank of America, and Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, a host of others, do not buy back your stock.

 

More after this.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

CAVUTO: All right, James Comey making a virtual appearance on Capitol Hill, but there was nothing virtual about the reaction.

 

Mike Emanuel with more -- Mike.

 

MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Neil, good afternoon.

 

After more than four hours of testimony, Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham offered this conclusion: Some folks either need to go to jail or be fired.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Somebody has to pay that price, because, if they don't, we will keep doing this again. If it can happen to a Republican, it can happen to a Democrat.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

EMANUEL: The former FBI director responded to criticism from the current Attorney General, Bill Barr, about the Russia probe.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: This was an investigation that was appropriately predicated and opened that had to be opened. And it was, in the main, conducted in the right way, picked up by the special counsel, led to the indictment of dozens of people.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

EMANUEL: Some Democrats argued, with this hearing coming 34 days before the election, that this was all about politics.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): I never thought of it as either the Trump reelection committee or any other election committee.

 

And we shouldn't be debasing ourselves this way.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

EMANUEL: Republicans rallied behind President Trump, who has repeatedly claimed being a victim of biased federal law enforcement during the Comey era -- Neil.

 

CAVUTO: All right, Michael, thank you very much, my friend, Mike Emanuel on Capitol Hill.

 

We're learning a little bit more post-debate, the big night, the impact of all of that . Democrats are saying right now that Joe Biden raised about $10 million during Tuesday's presidential debate.

 

Again, that's a staggering sum for one debate. I don't know what the historic reference point is.

 

We will explore that with our panel, a fair and balanced look at what happens now in the next debate.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BIDEN: People out there need help.

 

TRUMP: But why didn't you over the last 25 years?

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

BIDEN: Because you weren't president, screwing things up.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRUMP: No, no, no. You were a senator. And, by the way, you were ...

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

BIDEN: You're the worst president that America has ever had. Come on.

 

TRUMP: Hey -- hey, Joe, let me -- let me just tell you, Joe, I have done more in -- in 47 months, I have done more than you've done in 47 years, Joe.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

CAVUTO: Told you already the Debate Commission is looking into this.

 

I guess it just got a little out of control. That might be a polite way of saying it. And they want to avoid that in the next two presidential debates and the upcoming vice presidential debate.

 

We don't know what they're changing, whether they're going to have trapdoors, cauldrons of fire, cut mics. But we do know that they want to try to keep things orderly.

 

Anyway, Kelly Jane Torrance of The New York Post. We have Mustafa Tameez, the Democratic strategist.

 

Mustafa, I hope I pronounced that correctly.

 

And Kelsey Bolar, the Independent Women's Voice senior policy analyst.

 

Kelsey, the Debate Commission wants to change things to avoid talk-over and all of that. How? What do you think they do?

 

KELSEY BOLAR, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM: Neil, the Debate Commission wants to make little tweaks to try to somehow control these two big personalities on stage.

 

But what really needs to happen is, the Debate Commission needs to change their leadership and look to new media, new ways to host these types of debates and enable the candidates to actually have long-form conversations about policies.

 

I think that's why American voters were so frustrated; 61 percent said they walked away from the debate feeling annoyed. And that's because nobody's really clear on where the candidates stand on their policies, particularly Joe Biden, who one second was for issues, policies such as the Green New Deal, the next second, he's against them.

 

So we certainly need to change the way that these debates are formatted and welcome new media into the mix.

 

CAVUTO: You know, Kelly Jane, I mean, both sides knew the rules. Chris Wallace was laying them out. You had a two-minute response, another minute to respond to the response that your opponent had.

 

And then the wheels were off the wagon, and both of these guys were going at each other nonstop. So is there any way to control that? This stands out, but it's not unprecedented. We have seen other debates where that can sort of get a little unwieldy here.

 

But what do you think?

 

KELLY JANE TORRANCE, NEW YORK POST: Yes, Neil, it's kind of irresistible.

 

When someone's saying something about you that you don't think it's true, or you think it's unfair, you want to respond. And even if you know the rules ahead of time, it can be hard to control yourself.

 

I don't think there's much that the commission can do, short of having a mute button. Perhaps that would work. When it's one person's turn...

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

CAVUTO: What about a trapdoor? I mean, for Dr. Evil, a trapdoor worked. It worked, yes.

 

TORRANCE: I think the dunk tank. If you do it three times, then you're all wet.

 

CAVUTO: All right.

 

TORRANCE: At the same time, I think in some ways we do overanalyze and put a lot more importance maybe on these debates than they actually have for voters.

 

Keep in mind, the first debate in 2016, 62 percent of voters thought Hillary Clinton won. She did not win that election.

 

CAVUTO: No, it's a very good point.

 

Mustafa, too, much has been made of Joe Biden complaining about the president constantly interrupting him. Given the fact that he had some stammering, stumbling responses to a couple of questions about whether he would follow up on Democrats' push to pack the court if they take the Senate and get rid of the filibuster and all, the president's interrupting might have saved him.

 

What do you think?

 

MUSTAFA TAMEEZ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: The president can't control himself. That's the honest truth.

 

He cannot control himself, whether it's -- he's on a debate stage. He cannot control themselves whether sitting in the Oval Office. He cannot control themselves if he's on Twitter. That's the problem.

 

We have a president who does not know how to lead, who does not how to be presidential. He even said, when he got elected, that he would be presidential, and he couldn't.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

CAVUTO: It was Joe Biden who said of the president, he's a clown, he's a liar, he's a racist. It was Joe Biden who told the president to shut up.

 

So, I guess two can play at this childish game.

 

TAMEEZ: Neil -- Neil, are you kidding me?

 

The president of the United States makes fun of people and calls names all day long for everybody under the sun. And he had done it last night.

 

CAVUTO: I'm not denying that. I have seen it myself.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TAMEEZ: Well, you're not -- if you're not denying it...

 

CAVUTO: I just want to know, though, do you think, do you think that Joe Biden responding in kind helped his cause?

 

I mean, hear -- to hear him today, he almost said, like, I'm Churchill.

 

But, I mean, it was not Churchillian.

 

TAMEEZ: Look, Joe Biden was restrained. He looked directly into the camera and talked to the American people. And he talked about the issues that they cared about, and he connected with them.

 

President Trump, on the other hand, looked into the camera and stood with white nationalists and white supremacists.

 

I mean, there's a real contrast here. Everybody in the world sees it. I'm not sure why we can't talk about it here.

 

CAVUTO: All right.

 

Well, bottom line, there's going to be, we hope, two more debates and one more vice presidential debate.

 

Kelsey, if you had one thing you would recommend to the commission to put in place immediately, what would it be?

 

BOLAR: We need answers.

 

Joe Biden should not be able to not tell the American people whether he would abolish the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court. That would fundamentally change our democracy as we know it.

 

CAVUTO: So, answer without interruptions, answer without interruptions, right, both sides.

 

BOLAR: Absolutely.

 

CAVUTO: All right.

 

BOLAR: Absolutely.

 

CAVUTO: I think we have made progress here.

 

I want to thank all of you.

 

If the Debate Commission is watching, you're welcome. It's just what we do, basic cable. We're trying to help out.

 

All right, so that will do it here.

 

We're also going to be following tomorrow the market fallout from this and growing optimism about stimulus. It might pan out. It might not.

 

See you tomorrow.

 

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