The second presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump promised to be more contentious than the first. Especially following the release by the Washington Post of a recording from 2005 on which Donald Trump was heard and seen making inappropriate, lewd and misogynistic comments about sexually assaulting women. Comments which spurred outrage from both parties and resulted in numerous Republicans denouncing Trump. And true to promise in this “tawdry showdown” personal barbs were traded, metaphorical blows were landed and earth was scorched. Here’s what happened.
- The first 20 minutes of the debate saw Trump reeling amid questions about his recorded comments. He once again brushed them off as “locker room talk”, insisted they were no big deal, said Bill and Hillary Clinton had done much worse, and offered something resembling an apology.
- None of which seemed to satisfy Republican leaders who had hoped to hear something more substantial and contrite.
- He doubled down on his controversial comments regarding Alicia Machado.
- He regularly avoided questions and meandered between talking points.
- He threatened to throw Hillary Clinton in jail if he was elected.
- He appeared to be following and looming over Clinton on stage.
- He admitted to purposefully avoiding paying federal income taxes.
- He expressed admiration of Russia, Iran and Syrian President Assad.
- He threw his running mate under the bus.
- He regularly and consistently lied and misrepresented facts.
- All-in-all Trump was much better than in the first debate and probably stopped the bleeding from his base but failed to gain any broader appeal from the American electorate or his own party.
- After the first 20 minutes of the debate the debate seemed destined to play out much like the first and to effectively end Donald Trump’s campaign. But instead Hillary Clinton played it safe and essentially allowed Trump to get back in it.
- Many view this debate as an opportunity missed for Clinton.
- She answered questions in a very methodical, lawyerly, sometimes dispassionate fashion which has been criticized in the past.
- She failed to adequately address many of the issues which have plagued her campaign, including Benghazi, her private emails and her Wall Street speeches.
- Her answer on how she would address the conflict in Syria wasunsubstantial and vauge.
- She said she wanted to “fix” issues with the Affordable Care Act but failed to say what those fixes might be.
- She lied and misrepresented facts, if not as often as Trump.
- All-in-all Clinton was not as good as in the first debate and seemed content to hold her position in the polls rather than try to put Trump on the defensive and further harm his campaign.
According to emails from a recent Wikileaks release the Clinton campaign wanted Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee because he was the perfect foil and the perfect media distraction to allow Hillary Clinton to run the campaign she wanted. Perhaps this is why she seemed to prefer keeping him in the race rather than aggressively attacking him during the debate. As a result, this debate really changed nothing. Nothing really happened.
To see for yourself the full debate may be viewed below.