The weirdest and wildest presidential debate on TV- 81 million Americans watched:

It started with the pretense of cordiality, and ended with Mrs. Clinton crushing Mr. Trump in an icy tone when he questioned her stamina, saying:

“Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

Easy target

In many ways Trump presents himself as an extraordinarily easy target.

  • Clinton was able to criticize his sexism – noting his past derogatory comments toward women both in the run up to this election and in his past dealings, when he called former beauty pageant contestant Alicia Machado, “Ms Piggy” and “Ms Housekeeping”
  • His racism when questioning Obama’s citizenship, in what could have been the turning point of the debate, Trump remarked, “I say nothing because I was able to get him to produce [his birth certificate]. He should have produced it a long time before. I say nothing.”
  • His tax avoidance, alleging to be smart for not paying Federal income tax

While this appears to be a blatant admission that Trump had indeed not paid proper income tax, as his reluctance to release his tax returns would indicate, Clinton failed to jump on this opportunity.

  • His bad business practice – stifling thousands small business owners and contractors by declaring bankruptcy as a businessman, insisting that was also smart.


Trump’s artificial relationship with the truth

Trump lied repeatedly on Monday night.

  • When Clinton claimed Trump “thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese,” Trump shot back: “I do not say that. I do not say that.”

Of course, Trump did say that. On November 6, 2012, Trump tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” It became the most-retweeted item on Twitter during the debate.

  • He called Holt’s factual citation of a 2002 interview in which Trump endorsed the war in Iraq “wrong, wrong, wrong,” as fact-checkers disagreed.
  • He falsely blamed Clinton for birtherism.
  • He said murder rates in New York City are climbing, when they are on the decline.
  • And he said Clinton had been fighting ISIS “her entire adult life.” Clinton was born in 1947; ISIS only formed in the mid-2000s.

“I hope the fact-checkers are turning up the volume,” Clinton said at one point.

“Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality.”

This quote largely sums up Donald Trump in this debate, and in the entire election cycle. Everything from the ludicrous proposition of a border wall with Mexico, to the ambiguous trade deals with China, to the vague plans on correcting civil unrest; Donald Trump has largely been usurped.

On national security and foreign policy, Trump was a mess. Reusing one of the more memorable lines from her convention speech, Clinton said: “A man who could be provoked with a tweet should not have his finger anywhere near the button.”

Trump replied: “That line is getting a little bit old.”

To which Clinton retorted: “It’s a good one, though. Well describes the problem.”


The question of Hillary Clinton’s health has been brought up many times along the campaign trail, but in a more amusing turn, Donald Trumps constant sniffling through the debate at Mrs. Clinton’s tough remarks made for an interesting spin.


No grace, no magnanimity

“We thought we’d see a more disciplined Trump tonight – maybe someone who’d try to steal an early headline with a gesture of grace and show some magnanimity,” said Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon.

“Instead, this was the same Donald Trump in the primary. Which, of course, is the true Trump.”

Indeed Trump told a TV interviewer after the debate that he had shown “heroic self-restraint” in not mentioning Bill Clinton’s past infidelities – showing it could have been an even less graceful Trump after all.