Highlights of Clinton, Trump debate



The second presidential debate is in the can. Here’s what happened:

  • It was a nasty affair without perhaps being quite so sordid or raw as might have been expected, given Donald Trump’s signal beforehand that he would attack Hillary Clinton as an enabler of her husband’s sins.
  • Challenged to defend his recently uncovered hot mic remarks about grabbing women, Trump said they amounted to “locker room” talk he was embarrassed by – but he denied he had assaulted women, whereas, he said, Bill Clinton had been “so abusive to women.”
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  • Clinton did not respond to Trump’s catalog of her husband’s sins, apart to say it was inaccurate. “When they go low, you go high,” she said.
  • Clinton placed Trump’s hot mic remarks in context with others – she listed his attack on the Khan family, his “birther” attack on Obama, his attack on a disabled reporter and his attack on a federal judge of Mexican descent – to paint Trump as an unreformed bully. She said Trump “owes the country an apology.”
  • Trump projected intense hostility for Clinton. He repeatedly called her a liar, leered at her, scoffed, said she had accomplished nothing in her career, loomed behind her as she spoke with audience members, and told her if he were president, “you’d be in jail.” He pointed at her, and said, “she has tremendous hate in her heart.”
  • “I know you’re into big diversion tonight,” Clinton told Trump. “Anything to avoid talking about your campaign and its explosion and how Republicans are leaving it.”
  • More than one snap analyst – FWIW – thought Trump had “shored up his base” of supporters by attacking Clinton over deleted emails, Benghazi and other issues. Few asserted that he had broadened his appeal.
  • Twice Clinton said that Russia was seeking to influence the election, and not on her behalf.
  • Trump said he disagreed with running mate Mike Pence’s assertion that the United States should consider military force to oppose Russian aggression in Syria. Pence tweeted congratulations after.
  • Trump also said there’s no Muslim ban plan anymore: “The Muslim ban is something that in some form has morphed into extreme vetting.”
  • A few times, Trump seemed to shock Clinton. He said that Capt. Humayun Khan would still be alive if he, Trump, were president. Clinton’s foreign policy spokesman replied:
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  • Trump admitted unapologetically that he had applied almost a billion in personal losses to not pay federal income tax. “Of course I do.”
  • Trump staged a media event before the debate with three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault or rape and one woman raped as a child whose assailant Hillary Clinton defended as a 27-year-old lawyer.
  • Clinton was asked about a line from a Wikileaks version of a purported paid speech in which she describe a president’s need to have separate public and private faces. She said she was talking about Abraham Lincoln.
  • The candidates did not shake hands when they arrived at the town hall. Trump had the sniffles. And he complained a lot about the moderators letting Clinton talk more than him. A time clock count afterwards showed the time was split evenly.