"To me, that means taking the time to talk to folks," former Vice President Joe Biden said

By Benjamin VanHoose
October 16, 2020 10:30 AM
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Credit: Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images

Joe Biden took extra time to address voters' questions at Thursday night's town hall, even after the televised broadcast had wrapped up.

The former vice president, 77, participated in a socially distanced ABC News live town hall event held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, moderated by George Stephanopoulos. Biden took questions directly from voters throughout the 90-minute broadcast — as well as beyond the allotted air time.

According to USA Today, the Democratic presidential nominee continued to take audience questions for 30 minutes after the end of the primetime portion, with the bonus time seen on ABC's online livestreams.

Biden wore his mask as he stood up from his seat and took questions afterward. Later Thursday evening, Biden explained on Facebook why he felt the responsibility to answer as many questions from the public as possible.

"I’ll always put you first," he wrote. "To me — that means taking the time to talk to folks, to listen to your experiences and your needs, and to share my vision of how we can make this country better for you."

Credit: Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images
Credit: Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images

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During the main town hall proceedings, Biden again criticized President Donald Trump for downplaying the coronavirus in public: "He said he didn't tell anybody because he was afraid Americans would panic. Americans don't panic. He panicked."

Some Biden supporters have called on him to pack the court, a phrase referring to legally expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court (which has happened — though rarely — in past centuries).

Separately, Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, have faced scrutiny for saying they won't answer whether they would "pack" the court because, in their words, it's not yet clear if Amy Coney Barrett will be confirmed.

At the town hall on Thursday, Biden addressed the issue and said, "I'm not a fan [of court packing]. I'd say it depends on how this turns out, not how he wins, but how it's handled. ... It depends on how much they rush this."

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Meanwhile, Trump, 74, took part in another competing town hall on Thursday, with Savannah Guthrie moderating an NBC event from Miami, Florida. Guthrie pressed the president on his coronavirus diagnosis timeline, his taxes and conspiracy theories, among other issues.

During the ABC town hall, Stephanopoulos asked if Biden would require everyone, including Trump, be tested for the coronavirus at the next presidential debate, scheduled to be held on Oct. 22 in Nashville.

"It's just decency to be able to determine whether or not you are clear. I'm less concerned about me ... than the people, the guys with the cameras, two people working in the, you know, the Secret Service guys you drive up with, all those people," Biden said.

"And so, yes, I believe he will do that [take a test]. Look, I'm going to abide by what the commission rules call for," he continued. "I was prepared to debate him remotely, which was supposed to happen. And he said he wouldn't do that ... He didn't want to do that."