Larry Hogan’s advice to Biden and Trump for debate: ‘Give it to them straight’

Anticipation is building for Thursday's presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump

As millions prepare to tune in, former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, shared his thoughts during a campaign stop at a small business near Frederick, Maryland. He was candid about his expectations for the debate.

"Well quite frankly, I don’t really have high expectations," Hogan said. "I think it’s going to be interesting to watch, but I’m not sure either one of the candidates is going to have a big night. Like everyone else, I’m interested in seeing what they have to say. But I’m not expecting a whole lot."

When asked about the candidates' ability to attract independent voters, Hogan was skeptical. 

"I think it’s certainly possible for certain independent voters, but both candidates are having difficulty attracting them right now. We’ve got the two least popular presidents in American history, both around 30% approval. Close to 70% of the people in America really can’t decide who to vote for and really don’t want to vote for either one," he said.

Hogan emphasized the importance of President Biden being "lucid and on-the-ball," noting the president’s mixed performance in public appearances. 


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"We’ve seen him at times when he’s pretty sharp and on top of his game and other times when he’s really struggling," Hogan said. "The bar is kind of set pretty low, but I think he’ll probably do better than people expect. He’s got to answer some tough questions." 

Regarding debate strategy, Hogan advised both candidates to be straightforward with voters: "I think the former president ought to get out there and make his case without interrupting and being overly critical. I think they both ought to answer the questions and be as direct with voters as they can. It’s something I’ve always focused on — give it to them straight. There’s usually too much spin and attacking. I’d like to hear how they’re going to take care of the hard-working people of America that are struggling right now and how they’re going to fix the problems facing us."

Hogan highlighted key issues that need addressing, particularly by President Biden. 

"The president's got some serious issues — a very difficult road to try to get re-elected. People are very unhappy. He’s got to address inflation, rising prices, the cost of groceries, housing, energy, and everything else. He’s got a complete failure on the border. We’ve got to figure out how to secure the border and fix the broken immigration system."

As the debate nears, Hogan acknowledged it’s still early in the election season. 

"People don’t usually start focusing on making up their minds until after Labor Day. Maybe it’s a chance for them to either make it or break it early. If one really has a bad night and stumbles, it gives some room to potentially make some changes before the Democratic convention," he said. 

When asked if a poor performance by President Biden could prompt the Democratic Party to consider a change at the top of the ticket, Hogan didn’t dismiss the possibility.

The former governor was also asked about his willingness to debate Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks in his Senate race. 

"I’m not sure. We’ve already committed to two debates and we haven’t heard anything from our opponent," he said. "At this point, she’s refused to accept any debates. We can’t be doing debates every week, but we’ve committed to a couple — one in the Washington area and one in Baltimore."

The debate between President Biden and former President Trump airs Thursday, with millions of Americans expected to tune in.