The latest on the 2020 election

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:00 p.m. ET, October 16, 2020
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10:15 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

Trump raised $135 million less than Biden in September

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

President Donald Trump walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on October 1 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on October 1 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee announced a joint fundraising haul of $247.8 million in the month of September — up from the $210 million the GOP raised in August, but far behind the massive total raised by former Vice President Joe Biden and Democrats in the final stretch of the campaign.

Biden raised $383 million in September, breaking a monthly fundraising total record that his campaign had just set in August. Biden and the Democratic Party outraised Trump and the Republicans by $135 million in September.

By comparison, Hillary Clinton raised $154 million in September of 2016.

Trump's campaign has been raising and spending money at a historic clip, but Biden and the Democrats quickly turned the tables in August after the Democratic convention and the selection of California Sen. Kamala Harris as Biden's running mate.

In addition to raising significantly more money in both August and September, the Biden campaign also has more money in the bank to spend in the final month of race. The Trump campaign will report $251.4 million cash on hand, while Biden has $432 million.

Despite the $180 million disadvantage, the Trump campaign said it is confident they will have enough resources to sustain the effort to reelect the President.

In a tweet announcing the fundraising totals, Tim Murtaugh, the campaign's communications director, wrote, "President Trump hits final stretch with strength, resources, record & huge ground game needed to spread message and secure re-election."

8:07 a.m. ET, October 16, 2020

If you missed Biden and Trump's competing town halls last night, here are some key takeaways

From CNN's Eric Bradner and Kevin Liptak

On ABC, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was explaining his plan to raise taxes on people making more than $400,000 per year. On NBC, President Donald Trump was equivocating about the existence of a satanic cult of pedophiles.

The problem with their town halls, which were drastically different in tone and substance: Americans could only pick one to watch.

Here are some key takeaways from the dueling town halls:

  • Trump's alternate reality: No hour has better illustrated the alternate reality in which Trump exists than Thursday's 60-minute town hall. Trump claimed the science is still out on wearing masks, despite the universal view of health experts —including within his own administration — that it can mitigate the spread of coronavirus. He refused to say whether or not he believed Democrats were running a satanic pedophile ring, shrugging when pressed and saying only, "I have no idea." He claimed with no evidence that ballots with his name on them had been found in garbage cans. Contained within Trump's regular venues of conservative television and Twitter, the upside-down world in which he exists sometimes loses its impact. But in front of everyday voters, his answers appeared wildly detached from any accepted version of reality. Voters deciding between Trump and Biden find themselves choosing less between two candidates than two entirely opposite planets.
  • Trump vs. Guthrie: Since leaving the hospital, Trump has been dialing into friendly outlets to recount his ordeal and trash Biden. Over the past week, he's phoned Fox News or Fox Business five times, along with chats on Newsmax and Rush Limbaugh. The warmth of a conservative safe space is where Trump has thrived for most of his presidency. When he emerged onto NBC's set, things felt much colder. A lawyer by training, Guthrie would not let up when Trump evaded questions about his coronavirus diagnosis, whether he was tested the day of the last debate, his stance on white supremacy, his views on QAnon or his view of mail-in voting.
  • Biden's policy-focused contrast: The contrast between the candidates' approaches and their town halls' topics was dramatic — especially when confronted with controversial remarks they'd made in the past. One clear window into Biden's tactics in a town-hall setting, with voters pressing him one-on-one, came when a young Black man recalled the former vice president's flip comment to radio host Charlamagne tha God that if someone was struggling to decide between supporting him and Trump, "you ain't black." "Besides 'you ain't black," the man asked, how could Biden convince Black voters to take part "in a system that has failed to protect them?" Instead of addressing his controversial remark, Biden delved into a several-minutes-long litany of policy specifics aimed at helping Black people. 

With the second presidential debate scrapped in the wake of Trump's coronavirus diagnosis, the two candidates instead agreed to nationally televised town halls, with Biden taking questions from voters in Philadelphia and Trump doing so in Miami.

The two are scheduled to debate just one more time before Election Day.

Read more about last night's event here.