Governor Cooper and Lt. Governor Forest sparred in the first and only debate between the two in this election. The bout underscored just how different Forest would approach the handling of the coronavirus. Cooper was quick to point out that, already, Forest is displaying a lack of leadership during the pandemic.
“Tonight’s different because of the plexiglass separating Dan Forest and me,” Cooper said in the debate. “It is there because for the last eight months, including last night, Dan Forest has been having in-person events with no masks or social distancing. That’s reckless, and it endangers North Carolinians, including the staff in this room.”
Over the course of the debate, Forest raised talking points that have been a constant refrain during his campaign for governor. Many of them have been debunked by independent fact-checkers. He claimed, falsely, that masks were ineffective and “do not work with viruses.” That claim was refuted in July by PolitiFact.
At least twice during the debate, Forest echoed another falsehood, that the flu is “17 times” more dangerous to kids than the coronavirus. PolitiFact found that claim to be misleading as well.
Forest also suggested that “masks are actually causing more harm than good,” another widely disputed claim.
“Really, Dan? Really? Masks don’t work? Scientists say they don’t?” Cooper asked. “That is just absolutely not true. You’re finding that on the dark corners of the internet.”