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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke October 25, 2020

Presidential candidates had notepads at podiums, not iPads

If Your Time is short

  • Identical notepads were removed from both President Donald Trump’s podium and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s podium after the final presidential debate on Oct. 22. 
  • There is nothing to suggest that Biden had an iPad at his podium during the debate. 

Before the final presidential debate on Oct. 22, Eric Trump, one of President Donald Trump’s sons, suggested that his father and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden should have empty podiums. He accused Biden of relying too much on his notes. 

A video that’s being shared on Facebook takes that a step further and alleges that this time, Biden had an iPad at his podium. 

"Watch him grab his notes, and then watch one of his staffers grab his iPad, go and grab his iPad," a man can be heard saying as a recording of the end of the debate plays on the screen. "Now watch stage right, no one’s going to Trump’s, let me grab that iPad that’s giving you all the answers.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

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The clip in the Facebook post starts around the 1:57:54 mark of this C-SPAN video of the debate. Biden is leaning over and seems to be talking to moderator Kristen Welker. Trump and first lady Melania Trump leave the stage. Then around the 1:58:00 mark, Biden can be seen grabbing what looks like pieces of paper and a pen and leaving the stage with his wife, Jill Biden.

Contrary to what the narrator in the Facebook video says, around the 1:58:08 mark, someone approaches Trump’s podium and removes a notepad with a brown, cardboard back. Another person then approaches the vice president’s podium and removes an identical notepad. 

There is nothing in the video to suggest that either person picked up an iPad.

We rate this claim False.

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Presidential candidates had notepads at podiums, not iPads

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