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Trump, Biden go head to head in clashing TV shows

Joe Biden campaigns in Florida ahead of his televised town hall meeting. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden were holding competing televised town halls on Thursday, as a coronavirus case in the entourage of Kamala Harris forced Biden's vice presidential pick to suspend travel.

Trump, well behind in the polls ahead of November 3, was set to try and drown out Biden by holding a rival town hall on NBC at exactly the same primetime slot as the Democratic candidate was already scheduled to appear on ABC.

"Watch tonight. We're going have a little entertainment," Trump told his latest rally in Greenville, North Carolina.

Originally, both candidates had been meant to meet for what would have been their second of three presidential debates.

The first, which took place in Philadelphia, was a brutal affair in which Trump repeatedly talked over the top of Biden and the Democrat told him to "shut up." The follow-up, however, was scrapped after organisers switched to a virtual format, citing Trump's coronavirus infection, and the president refused to accept the arrangement.

Trump, who says he is clear of Covid-19 and got back on the campaign trail on Monday, has rallies booked around the country for every night this week.

He predicted to his supporters in North Carolina that Biden would be given an easier time by the moderator and audience over on ABC. "I'm being set up tonight," he said.

The decision by NBC to accept a Trump appearance at the same time as Biden on ABC likely means that few Americans will get to see and contrast the two men.

This may suit reality television veteran Trump, who has often sought to counter-programme his Democratic opponents and hog the media limelight.

But with only 19 days until the election, he is running out of time to overtake Biden, who has run a much quieter campaign focused on Americans' unhappiness with Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Even a close US Senate ally to Trump, Lindsey Graham, said Thursday that Biden may be on his way to victory.

"You all have a good chance of winning the White House," he told Democratic colleagues at the opening of a hearing on Trump's latest conservative Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

(Source: AFP)

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