“You’ve been in politics for 30 years, why have you taken so long to think through all this?”
“I will release my taxes when she releases the 33,000 emails she deleted!”
“You're all political hacks, I’m a businessman. I understand money.”
“When you try to act holier than thou it really doesn’t work.”
No matter what the pundits say, Donald Trump, by stepping on the gas early in the debate got Hillary Clinton exactly where he wanted her at least in the first 30 minutes of the 90 minute presidential debates at Hofstra University in New York City. CNN and MSNBC have called the debate for Hillary Clinton but CNN admitted that the sample “was more Democratic.”
Locked in an exceedingly close White House race to become America's 45th president, the rivals tangled for 90-minutes over their vastly different visions for the nation's future but left more questions unanswered. Trump rarely answered to the questions, he played the moderator Lester Holt who struggled to rein in the real estate mogul and went way beyond schedule. Clearly, the psychological profiles that Trump's campaign made of Clinton came handy in the first half.
After a few moments of decorum,the debate quickly dissolved into an array of snipes only lightly touching on the issues and rarely digging deep enough to make sense to working class Americans.
Going into the debate season, Clinton-Trump polls are in a dead heat and Trump is gaining in states that are a must-win for Clinton. That’s the grim backdrop for the Democrats. President Trump?
If Clinton wins Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New Hampshire, her easiest path to the presidency runs through Colorado, whose voters are better-educated and more Hispanic than the national average. In July and August, her polling leads there ranged from five percentage points to 13. But Trump a four-point lead there now. Clinton has a real problem if she cannot hold on to this state and that’s why the stakes at the debates have become higher than they have traditionally been.
Debates have rarely changed the course of an election verdict but in this race, it may be decisive.
These presidential debates are now the centrepiece of the presidential campaign. The first encounter between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney drew 67m viewers, making it the most widely watched debate in 20 years. If 100m people did indeed watch tonight’s debate that would put it on a level with the Super Bowl for viewing figures.
The debate was not deep on substantive policy differences but full of attacks, with both candidates landing blows that will resonate with their bases.
Yes, Clinton knows has command over wonkery but what’s the story? Her campaign staff seems woefully out of sorts on the storyline. Unlike Barack Obama who always took examples of common folk to explain complex policy, Clinton’s words belong in text books - growth, NAFTA, 50%, 30%, trade and so on.
Clinton condemned Trump for refusing to pay contractors on several projects, saying she was grateful her father had never done business with him. She said the debate crowd included an architect whom Mr. Trump had not paid. “Maybe he didn’t do a good job,” Trump said.
Clinton shone in patches but not consistently. She bloomed late in the second half when she used Trump’s insults against him. “You love beauty contests, Donald. You called her Ms. Housekeeping, because she was Latino. And you bet she’s going to vote in the election” - Clinton twisted the knife in but she could do more of that in the upcoming October debates.
By the time Clinton warmed up and punched back, Trump made her look like everything that Americans and people the world over have come to dislike about career politicians.
The celebrity businessman branded Clinton a "typical politician. All talk, no action. Sounds good, doesn't work."
Hillary Clinton emphatically denounced Donald Trump for keeping his personal tax returns and business dealings secret from voters and peddling a "racist lie" about President Barack Obama.
"There's something he's hiding," she declared, scoffing at his repeated contentions that he won't release his tax returns because he is being audited. Tax experts have said an audit is no bar to making his recon 17th graf.rds public. She said one reason he has refused is that he may well have paid nothing in federal taxes. He interrupted to say, "That makes me smart."
Trump aggressively tried to turn the transparency questions around on Clinton, saying he would release his tax information when she produces more than 30,000 emails that were deleted from the personal internet server she used as secretary of state.
Trump's criticism of Clinton turned personal in the debate's closing moments. He said, "She doesn't have the look, she doesn't have the stamina" to be president. He's made similar comments in previous events, sparking outrage from Clinton backers who accused him of leveling a sexist attack on the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. political party.
Clinton leapt at the opportunity to remind voters of Trump's numerous controversial comments about women, who will be crucial to the outcome of the November election.
"This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs," she said.
Some frequently hot-button issues were barely mentioned during the intense debate. Illegal immigration and Trump's promises of a border wall were not part of the conversation. And while Clinton took some questions on her private email server, she was not grilled about her family's foundation, Bill Clinton's past infidelities or her struggle with trustworthiness.
Key quotes from the debate:
Stamina to lead?
"I said she doesn't have the stamina. And I don't believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina" - Trump
"Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents... or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina" - Clinton
The right experience?
"Let me tell you, Hillary has experience. But it's bad, bad experience" - Trump
Too much prep?
"I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that's a good thing" - Clinton
Your own reality
"I know you live in your own reality, but those are not the facts," Clinton said, after Trump took her to task over her support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
A racist lie
"He tried to put the whole racist birther lie to bed. But it can't be dismissed that easily. He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen" - Clinton, referring to Trump's longtime support of the "birther" movement questioning Barack Obama's citizenship.
Show you mine/Show me yours
"I have no reason to believe that he's ever going to release his tax returns, because there's something he's hiding" - Clinton
"I will release my tax returns against my lawyer's wishes when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted" - Trump
"The kind of plan that Donald has put forth would be trickle-down economics all over again. In fact, it would be the most extreme version, the biggest tax cuts for the top percent of the people in this country than we've ever had. I call it trumped up trickle-down" - Clinton
Talk the talk
"Typical politician. All talk, no action. Sounds good, doesn't work. Never going to happen" - Trump, rubbishing his rival's economic plans
"I want to help all of our allies, but we are losing billions and billions of dollars. We cannot be the policeman of the world, we cannot protect countries all over the world, where they're not paying us what we need" - Trump, reasserting criticism of long-standing US alliances.
Middle Eastern mess
"You look at the Middle East, it's a total mess, under your direction, to a large extent."
"You're talking about taking out ISIS. But you were there, and you were secretary of state when it was a little infant. Now, it's in over 30 countries, and you're going to stop them? I don't think so" - Trump
Don't tell the enemy
Clinton: "Well at least I have a plan to fight ISIS."
Trump: "No, no, you're telling the enemy everything you want to do."
Clinton: "No, we're not."
Trump: "You're telling the enemy everything you want to do. No wonder you've been fighting ISIS your entire adult life."
When it's all said and done
"I want to make America great again. I will be able to do it, I don't believe Hillary will. The answer is, if she wins, I will absolutely support her" - Trump