CLEVELAND — Tuesday's presidential debate at the Cleveland Clinic's Samson Pavilion got so tense that it led to a range of rebukes once unthinkable to say to a sitting president.
"Will you shut up, man?" former Vice President Joe Biden said to President Donald Trump, who had continuously needled and interrupted Biden throughout the night. The remark quickly caught fire on social media, and it even became its own t-shirt.
Some have criticized Biden for snapping at Trump, with even some in his own party worried he sunk to the president's level. However, the Democratic nominee is standing by what he said.
"No," he told 3News' Russ Mitchell Wednesday when asked if he regretted what he said. "I just wish the circumstances hadn’t of been what they were."
Biden instead attacked Trump for his "viciously classless" conduct during the debate, and indeed the president interrupted Biden far more than Biden interrupted him. Many of the president's attacks were not about policy, but were instead personal and revolved around both Biden and his son, Hunter. That did not sit well with the former vice president.
"We knew when his people announced to all of the major outlets that they were going to try to attack my family and to get me angry," he said. "All I kept thinking was, 'I wonder how many people had to take their kids away from the television set when this was going on just to say, 'This is not who we are. This is not who we are as a nation.'' That’s all I kept thinking."
Although exit polls (including CNN) show most watchers feel Biden won the debate, the event overall has been panned by commentators on both sides, with some calling it the worst of its kind in American history. Trump's interruptions (which went against the rules his campaign agrees to) drew the most ire, while Biden also referred to the president as a "clown" and a "racist."
"This election isn’t about my family or his," Biden said. "It’s about your family, it’s about the family of the American people. I just wonder, my Lord, what must they be thinking?"
Some have questioned whether any more debates should be held, but Biden confirmed to Mitchell he plans to attend the two remaining one scheduled. However, he would like to see some changes to prevent things from getting out of hand.
"I would hope they would be able to gain more control," Biden said. "I just hope there’s an opportunity to actually answer the question."
3News has also requested an interview with President Trump, but has not heard back.