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Keller: Don't write off Democrats as Trump returns to campaign trail, wanders off-script

Keller: Trump returns to campaign trail but don't count Democrats out yet
Keller: Trump returns to campaign trail but don't count Democrats out yet 02:51

The opinions expressed below are Jon Keller's, not those of WBZ, CBS News or Paramount Global.

BOSTON - While the race for the White House has been mostly focused on President Biden and his widely-panned debate performance, his challenger Donald Trump is now breaking his post-debate silence.

The scrutiny of Biden has been justifiably intense. So at his Tuesday night rally in South Florida, what was Trump saying and how was he saying it?

Despite the old saying that when your opponent is digging himself a hole, step back and let him keep digging, the Trump campaign decided it was time for their man to resume campaigning, with a new target in focus - Vice President Kamala Harris, seen as a likely alternative should Biden decide to end his candidacy.

"If Joe had picked someone even halfway competent they would have bounced him from office years ago," said Trump to cheers from the crowd. 

Predictable attacks and debunked falsehoods

But along with the predictable attacks, there were easily debunked falsehoods. "She was put in charge of the U.S. border security and the border, and she never showed up. She's never gone. She never went there once," Trump declared.

Fact check: false. Harris toured the border and met with immigration officials near El Paso, Texas in June 2021, and noted she had made multiple trips to the border as U.S. Senator from California.

"We want no inflation, not 30 or 50% inflation which is what you had," said Trump.

Talk about gross inflation. The highest inflation rate in modern times was 13.5 percent in 1980, far below Trump's fantasy numbers. And economists warn zero inflation can trigger deflation, with declining production, wages and job growth.

And how's this for incoherence? "You would destroy people with destroyed with the inflation," said Trump. "I don't even order bacon anymore."

He's given up bacon? Hard to swallow that one.

And finally, this: "But the biggest problem for the radical left Democrats is that their candidates are very much, if you take a look, mentally deficient. Is that a nice statement? They are mentally deficient. I'm saying that because the other term is too tough."

The "other term"? 

Some voters might prefer an inarticulate candidate to one who refers to intellectual disability that way.

Democrats must focus on Trump's ad-libbed message

There was something unusual about Trump's reappearance -- for much of it he appeared to stick to the teleprompter. But the questionable and flat-out false comments noted here seemed to be ad-libbed. 

And that's why, with more than 16 weeks to go until Election Day, it's too early to be writing off whichever Democrat winds up competing with Trump. He loves to wander off-script, and swing voters have demonstrated again and again that they don't like the results. 

Making sure that's what's on their minds more than Biden's shortcomings when they fill in their ballot is the Democrats' big challenge from here on in. 

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