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The Countdown: Parkland compassion, Rudy Giuliani and LeBron's plea

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  • US election 2020

Twelve days left and the race is getting personal.

A video of an unscripted moment of compassion by Joe Biden for the son of a mass shooting victim has resurfaced and the love for Donald Trump at his rallies is real. What is more powerful at this stage?

LIVE: Supreme court vote comes ahead of final debate

The news in four sentences

image copyrightReuters
image captionSacha Baron Cohen plays Borat in the comedy which features a clip with Rudy Giuliani

1. "I was tucking in my shirt" - Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani said a clip from mockumentary Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, which showed him lying on a bed with his hands in his trousers in front of a young woman, was a "complete fabrication".

2. Iran sent fake threatening emails pretending to be from far right group Proud Boys to Democratic voters, top FBI officials said, but added there was nothing to suggest this had worked.

3. Basketball legend LeBron James introduced a programme to help young black voters spot false political statements on social media that try to discourage black people from voting.

4. "This is not a reality show," said former President Barack Obama in a fiery attack on Donald Trump, while at his own rally Mr Trump said Mr Biden would only bring a depression.

image copyrightDouglas P. DeFelice
image captionThe basketball star has lent his voice to a programme to challenge disinformation aimed at black voters

The match-up: Biden compassion vs Trump charisma

image copyrightAFP/GETTY

With less than two weeks to go, America has two very different pictures of what makes a president. Last night this contrast could not have been clearer and this is how:

An old video of a Joe Biden hug went viral

This two-year-old video uploaded by a film-maker who makes clear that he is doing this to campaign for Joe Biden got millions of views.

It shows Joe Biden hugging the son of a victim of the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Many shared how the unscripted empathy of the moment moved them to tears.

When Democratic vice-presidential pick Kamala Harris was asked how Mr Biden would deal with any personal attacks in the upcoming presidential debate she said: "One of the things I love about Joe Biden... he doesn't take on or talk about other people's kids."

Some commentators have looked into empathy as a winning formula and Democrats will value it in a week where Mr Biden's presence has been virtual.

Trump also evokes emotion - in the flesh

image copyrightMelissa Sue Gerrits

Mr Trump's ability not just to draw large crowds, while the virus surges in the US, but also large adoring crowds has been noticed. Research has backed up the idea that his supporters are unparalleled in enthusiasm for their man.

image copyrightReuters
image captionThis child dressed up as Donald Trump turned up to more than one of his rallies in Pennsylvania

This is what driving Mr Trump and his speeches rely on his positive connection with the crowd: In Gastonia, North Carolina last night he said the word "great" 104 times, "love" 20 times and "vote" 23 times.

image copyrightMelissa Sue Gerrits

Song of the day: No one

In a tweet, New York Times reporter Astead Herndon refers us to Alicia Keys hit song "No one" in response to a question he himself poses: "Who asked for the celebs to weigh in?"

While it is not clear what precisely he is referring to it does come as celebrities from Jennifer Lopez to Amy Schumer plan an all-star special to "celebrate the power of voting". and a few days in which:

  • 50 Cent, Kirstie Alley and Jon Voight backed Mr Trump
  • The Avengers cast held a Zoom with Democratic vice-presidential pick Kamala Harris

The BBC has also looked into whether celebrities help or hurt campaigns. although celebrities have also been criticised for not speaking out.

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