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Nancy Smith

Nine Takeaways from the Tumultuous Second Presidential Debate

October 10, 2016 - 6:00am

What an apt moment for a presidential debate, coming after the release of a video showing the shockingly vulgar comments of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, and after more signs of a party implosion.

Sunday night's TV audience for the second presidential debate might have eclipsed the first, the numbers aren't all in at this writing.

Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton faced off in a town-hall-style debate co-moderated by ABC News' Martha Raddatz and CNN's Anderson Cooper at Washington University in St. Louis.

For sheer vitriol, this event -- more like a bout between two heavyweight fighters -- probably was unprecedented in the history of televised political debates.

Here is a first impression of the night's highlights:

1. No opening handshake. Debate candidates always shake hands before they come out swinging, it's just tradition. Not these two. Clinton just nodded Trump's way and said "hello;" Trump barely grunted. It set the tone for the tension to come.

2. Salivating moderators jumped right into the video question. Raddatz and Cooper didn't wait for the audience to ask. They wanted -- and got -- Trump's explanation. Trump said he's "very embarrassed" by his lewd comments recorded in 2005 when he talked about his ability to make advances on women because of his celebrity.

"This was locker room talk," he said. "I'm not proud of it. I apologized to my family, I apologized to the American people. Certainly I'm not proud of it. But this is locker room talk," he said.

Cooper pressed him on whether he had ever done any of the things he described in his "locker toom talk," which included kissing women against their will and groping their genitalia. Trump said he had not.

Clinton was quick to point out that, "yes, this is who Donald Trump is," that "we saw him after the first debate spend nearly a week denigrating a former Miss Universe in the harshest personal terms."

3. Trump brings former Clinton accusers to the debate. And makes sure everybody knows. The women were Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Kathy Shelton. Shelton was raped at the age of 12. Her attacker was represented by Hillary Clinton. 

"If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse," said Trump. "Mine are words and his was actions. His was ... what he's done to women, there's never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that's been so abusive to women ... Hillary Clinton attacked those same women. And attacked them viciously, four of them here tonight."

4. Both candidates demand an apology for the same thing. Very weird. Trump pedaled the "birther" theory for years -- that Barack Obama was born in Kenya instead of Hawaii. Said Clinton: "He owes the president an apology, he owes our country an apology and he needs to take responsibility for his actions and his words."

Trump came back with this: "Well, you owe the president an apology because as you know very well, your campaign's Sidney Blumenthal, he's another real winner you have and he's the one that got this started, along with your campaign manager. So you really owe him an apology."

5. Clinton's private email server she used as secretary of state. "I think the one thing you should be apologizing for are the 33,000 emails you deleted," Trump said. Clinton replied she has always admitted she made a mistake, and if she had a chance for a do-over, "would obviously never do it again." She also said there has never been any evidence that the server had been hacked. But Trump's badgering on missing emails clearly flustered her.

6. Trump's Islamophobia dodge. A Muslim woman in the audience asked, "With Islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people?" Trump had no ideas to "help," apparently. He said, "We have to be sure Muslims come in and report when they see something going on, when they see hatred going on."

Clinton's response was, "My vision is an America where everyone has a place if you are willing to work hard and do your part and you contribute to the community ..." 

She had said earlier she "wants to be the president of all Americans," no matter their religion or party or color. Trump may have missed an opportunity there by failing to question her about the people she has identified as "the deplorables."

7. A special prosecutor to probe Clinton? "... If I win," Trump said while roaming the stage, "I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your (email) situation, because there have never been so many lies, so much deception, there has never been anything like it, and we're going to have a special prosecutor."

Trump said Clinton took special measures to delete email correspondence from her time at the State Department: "You acid wash, or bleach them, as you would say, a very expensive process."

Replied Clinton, "Everything he just said is absolutely false, but I'm not surprised.' 

8. Trump's income-tax-loophole admission. Trump said, "of course," he used the tax provision that allowed him to use a business loss to avoid paying federal income taxes for years. And, when asked whether he could say how many years he did not pay taxes, Trump said he could not.

9. Say something nice ... The last questioner in the audience asked each of them to identify something they respect in the other. The audience laughed, the candidates laughed. 

Clinton said she liked Trump's children. "His children are incredibly able and devoted and I think that says a lot about Donald. ..."

Trump said, "She doesn't quit and doesn't give up. I respect that. She is a fighter. ..."

(For a complete replay of Sunday night's second presidential debate, click here.)

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith. An ABC News  report helped frame this commentary.


Trump Makes the Case for Jailing Hillary The White House or the big house. October 10, 2016 Daniel Greenfield Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. At the lowest point in the second presidential debate Hillary Clinton tried to blame her compulsive lying on Abraham Lincoln. Not the real Lincoln, but the fictional version depicted in the Spielberg movie. “She lied. Now she's blaming the lie on the late great Abraham Lincoln,” Trump said in exasperation. “Honest Abe never lied.” The only thing Hillary and Lincoln have in common is Illinois. If Hillary had been looking for wisdom from Lincoln, she might have started with the famous quote often attributed to him. “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” It’s been a while since Hillary has been able to fool anybody. The majority of the country holds an unfavorable view of her. Even in a blue state like California, 53 percent of the voters have an unfavorable view of the woman they are most likely going to end up voting for. It’s not just that Hillary is a liar and a crook. Plenty of politicians are. It’s that her dishonesty and corruption are so blatant as to be insulting to the intelligence of even the dimmest voter. Hillary’s lies come apart within 5 minutes of being told. And yet nothing is ever her fault. Previously she had blamed her rogue email operation on Colin Powell. Now she decided to blame her lies on Lincoln. By the second debate, the topic was no longer who should be president, but who should be in jail. Both candidates were clear that their opponent was utterly unfit to hold office. Trump was the clearest of all about it. “Because you'd be in jail,” he said. “If I win, I'm going to instruct the attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” he promised. Jail is where Hillary belongs. Her stained sheet of crimes goes back quite a few decades by now. And her campaign has done more to demonstrate the widespread networks of establishment corruption than a thousand investigations could have ever managed to do. From the Clinton Foundation to the media, her base of support is as rotten as she is. And just as ruthless and determined. There she was stumbling around on stage, haggard and still laughing her horrifying brittle laugh and reciting canned applause lines in the hope that someone would cheer. And to complete the pairing, Martha Raddatz was there as her doppelganger, berating Trump the way that Hillary would have liked to if she weren’t still delusional enough to think someone out there might still be fooled by her current act. That’s why the Clinton campaign and its extensive network of media allies want to make the campaign about anything and everything but Hillary. Including an old tape. “What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women. What he thinks about women. What he does to women,” Hillary hectored. We all know what her husband thinks about women and does to women. We also know what Hillary did to her husband’s victims. They appeared together with Trump at a press conference before the debate. We also know what Hillary Clinton did to Kathy Shelton, a 12-year-old girl who had been raped and beaten into a coma by her client. Hillary accused that child of fantasizing and making it all up. There is a tape of Hillary laughing about the case. But we also know, in the macro, what Hillary and her allies have done to America. And what they intend to do to it. They were outraged when Trump talked about illegal alien rapists. But how many women were sexually assaulted and even murdered by the “undocumented” migrants whom Hillary and her political party shelter in sanctuary cities and want to protect with a national amnesty? How many will be assaulted by the Syrian Muslim migrants whom Hillary wants to bring to America, the way that thousands of women in Germany have been assaulted by the violent Muslim mobs? Trump made the case at the debate that Hillary isn’t just a bad person, but that her policies will destroy this country. “To solve the problem, you have to be able to state what the problem is or at least say the name. She won't say the name,” he said of Islamic terrorism. “Obamacare is a disaster, you know it, we all know it,” he said, plainly and definitively. He ridiculed Hillary’s classified email pretenses, “She didn't know what the letter C meant on a document.” He dismissed her lies about trying to protect emails about yoga classes and her daughter’s wedding. And most of all he made it obvious that the media was in Hillary’s corner. Once again the moderators debated him. Once again they repeatedly interrupted him and bent the rules in Hillary’s favor. Hillary is convinced that rigging the debates will help her. But she’s forgotten that the biggest reason she is disliked is because she is the privileged beneficiary of a rigged system. Americans have a soft spot for rogue corrupt politicians. But they loathe and abhor corrupt insiders who brandish their fake virtue. The people around Hillary have convinced her that she can only win by making her opponent as unlikable as possible while striving for a false cheerfulness about the whole thing. But all this does, as it did at the debate, is remind everyone of why they hate her. Hillary is here because of a combination of her last name and dirty deals. In better times, the people might be more tolerant of such corruption. But when millions are out of work and see no hope in the future, there is much less tolerance for a politician who represents the rigged insider game. The same reasons that explain why Hillary was on stage also explain why she isn’t in prison. And no one is fooled by any of it. That is why Hillary Clinton is loathed even by her own voters. From Whitewater to the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton got away with everything. But unlike the FBI, the public can’t be threatened or bought. And that is what Hillary and her allies are truly afraid of. Tonight at the debate, Donald Trump made the case for why Hillary is unfit for office and fit only for prison. It was a simple case. It’s a case that even most Hillary voters are familiar with. Because the time when Hillary could fool even some of the people has passed. But there is an even more relevant quote, from the real Lincoln, rather than Spielberg’s fraudulent one. It is a quote that the Clintons and their ilk ought to ponder with the greatest of caution and care. “The people… are the rightful masters… not to overthrow the constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it,” Lincoln had said. It is this question that is at the center of the election. The one thing that both sides can now agree on is that the other is utterly unfit. It will soon be the choice of the people that will determine whether Hillary will be in the White House or the big house.

Lot of words coming from C Breeze but right on all points. The only thing I have to say is that if Trump loses this he has only himself to blame. Not the nonsense about men talking about women 11 years ago. But everything else. This was his to win and I hope he still wins it. Too important for him not to win. But I would have thought that a man as worldly, as savvy, as successful as he is would have had the sense to keep his damn mouth shut. If he had done that HE might be up by 50 points.

The alternative is Hillary; REMEMBER THAT ! THIS Democrat can NEVER forget THAT ! GO TRUMP, my kids and Grandkids are depending on you ! I'll vote for a Democrat again when I see a TRUE "Statesman"... again...

So many words to just say....GO TRUMP!!

The Republican Party is drectly responsible for this Fox New (Rupert Murdoch) created Frankenstein called Trump and needs to be held responsible on the down ballot nationally. This what you get when right wing propoganda is paraded as news. It is taking a while for the U.S. citizenry to catch up to this fact but the disaster called Trump shoud be a major wake up call.

You're correct Catherine, it's taken awhile for the "U.S. citizenry to catch up", and now that they have, expect a much larger vote FOR Donald Trump, instead of the lying, corrupt, cheating, disaster named Hillary! Mr. Trump will be YOUR wake up call! GO TRUMP!!

Can you say landslide! Might be by the largest margin ever...classic.

Even republicans hate Trump for what he is doing, destroying the republican party ......But their long campaign of hate and fear and lie after lie has come home to roost. .......

As usual Jerry, your statement is completely in error. GO TRUMP!!

It's now about moving reasonably and responsibly ahead or running off the cliff with a congenital scumbag.. This is no longer a middle school shout out. We will now hold each other personally accountable for one's choices at the ballot box.

Agreed, Robert. And God help those who choose to select the corrupt, lying, cheat named Hillary! GO TRUMP!!

Last nights debate was like watching Rocky rerun movies over and over, boring. No real solutions to real American Problems. A few zingers here and there and Trump pointed out when clinton lied. Half way through the debate clinton medication was wearing off and it showed. She had another 3 days off at home to rest and review for debate........ she started out fresh but went down hill quick. Trump is showing his age and he looks and sounded tired. Jack Kennedy..... now here was the man and he loved America........... but that was yesterday.

"Yesterday" was a good time, too bad those days can't be repeated. GO TRUMP!!

So where have heard that one candidate will lock the other one up if they win? Another new low for the U.S.

This should have been done before the Nomination, it's called obstruction of Justice and done by the democrat administration. She violated federal laws pertaining to our National Security. Felonies and many of them. So if you wanna cry new low for the U.S., yes you're correct but point your finger in the proper direction, Trial by Jury.

1st amendment right to free speech 11 years ago caught on audio spun out 30 days before a Presidential election and the left is horrified claiming they are offended........... Need we say more?

Something said 11 years ago among men which was a private conversation... big deal... Hillary has openly murdered 4 men in Benghazi, covered for Bill Clinton's rape victims by harassment and intimidation, she steals 6 billion dollars and sell out the USA and you are worried about something said on a bus 11 years ago? ........... The corruption is so deep here and in this country and you can't see it?

If they was a deplorable, Me, you are it. ......... So gullible, easily fooled rube like most of Trump supporters and lies as bad as Trump does and that take serious work as Trump is the champ at lying.............But deporable is as deplorable does and both you and Trump are truely deplorable from you words and actions............. My deepest thanks for showing the nation what a bunch of scumbags you are and destroying the republican party for a generation.........But you only brought it on yourself running the politics of hate and fear. Have a nice day. I certainly will ;^))

As ALWAYS, you continue to display your idiocy in your words. Calling others names, for expressing their opinions here, is not a sensible thing to do. In actuality, the only REAL "scumbag" Jerry, is you. Be very careful what you wish for Jerry, it may just come right back on you! GO TRUMP!!

You're the reason why amendment #2 needs to be voted "No"!

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nancy smith


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