TRUMP-CLINTON: Highly Anticipated Debate Called A ‘Split Decision’

Much was made about the difference between Hillary’s long debate experience, and Trump’s rookie debater status. Some of that difference was on display tonight.

Trump started off well enough. On topics like trade, he was on solid ground. He scored some solid hits on trade deals.

He was very careful to emphasise respect for Hillay.

Hillary’s tactic was obviously to set up traps and hope Trump would blunder into them. She was able to bait him at some points in the bout.

She managed to characterize his accusations against her as ‘charges and claims’.

He let her set up the all-important ‘Victim dynamic’:

Clinton: I have a feeling by the end of this evening I’m going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened.

Trump: Why not?

Clinton: Yeah. Why not. Just join the debate by saying more crazy things. Now, let me say this

She tried to paint him — fairly or not — as someone who games the tax system. The ‘evil businessman’ who features in so many Hollywood storylines, who doesn’t pay ‘his share’. He had the chance to bring up the Clinton Foundation at this point… or bring up her death tax, he did neither.

She went to the question of tax returns. He replied with his ‘audit response’.

There were counter-punches exchanged here:

Trump: … I will release my tax returns, against my lawyer’s wishes, when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted. As soon as she releases them, I will release my tax returns and that’s against my lawyers say don’t do it. I will say this. In fact, watching shows to reading the papers, almost every lawyer says you don’t release your returns until the audit is complete. When the audit’s complete, I’ll do it. But I would go against them if —

Holt: So it’s negotiable?

Trump: It’s not negotiable, no. Why did she delete 33,000 —

Holt: I’ll let her answer that. Let me admonish the audience one more time. There was an agreement. We asked you to be silent. It would be helpful for us. Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: I think you’ve just seen another example of bait and switch here. For 40 years, everyone running for president has released their tax returns. You can go and see nearly I think 39, 40 years of our tax returns but everyone has done it. We know the irs has made clear there is no prohibition on releasing it when you’re under audit.
So you’ve got to ask yourself, why won’t he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons.

Hillary’s strong moments came when she goaded him with the political equivalent of ‘do you still beat your wife’ questions, to which she could add her own leading conclusions, and let him go into the weeds.

She claims he pays little or no Federal taxes. Not seeing it as a ‘don’t pay your fair share’ trap, or counter-punching with a Clinton Foundation slush fund reference, he said that would make him smart. Accurate? Yes. Will it endear him to undecided middle class and low-income Americans? Probably not.

It took a couple of weird turns. Birthirism came into play. Race relations came up… some great opportunities on both sides… neither played it as well as they could have.

Even Rosie O’Donnel made an appearance.

Holt jumped in a few times. People will disagree whether he did so as a partisan or as a moderator… that can be hashed out in the comments.

One of Trump’s better hits was when he said that she’s had 30 years to come up with these solutions. And where have they been before now.

Here is some of the reaction:

Share if you can’t wait for the next debate now that both parties know what to expect from their opponents

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