Standing by.Eleven minutes to go.
Really too bad that the Commission insisted on questions from a moderator rather than mano-a-mano, Lincoln-Douglas style.
A friend today said what I think is true: Trump is the logical conclusion of a generation of the Republicans telling the voters that (1) everything is crooked; (2) intermediaries and experts are not to be trusted; and (3) there’s no actual distinction between truth and falsehood, merely “our side” and “their side” Let me leave that as the overture to tonight’s opera.
Holt tells the evening’s first whopper: that the Commission is “non-partisan.” It’s actually bi-partisan, which is not at all the same thing.
Clinton comes out with a broad smile, Trump with a nasty smirk. They shake hands. Clinton does not try to embarrass him by forcing him to withdraw first.
First question: a dim nothingburger about “jobs.” Clinton mostly reframes it into her laundry list. Trump apparently isn’t aware he’s on split-screen, looks astoundingly sour.
Trump: Mexico, China: “our jobs are fleeing the country.” Clinton looks reasonably serene. Trump claims to agree with Clinton on child care. Tax cuts.
Trump has the sniffles. Â Doing lines to get coked up to debate might not have been a good idea.
[Update:Â Howard Dean came up with the same joke, only he wasn’t joking. There are obvious follow-up jokes: How do you know it wasn’t meth he’d been snorting? Did the Trump Foundation pay for the blow? But in fact I’m aware of no reason to think that Trump indulges or has indulged in forbidden chemicals, and saw no behavioral evidence he’d done so last night. He was just being Trump. He was even more Trump this morning, denying on FoxÂ that the sniffling – which went on, very noticeably, all evening – had even happened.
Hillary has decided it’s going to be “Donald” and “Hillary.” Mistake?
[Update: Mistake obviously mine. She was baiting him by referring to him as if he were a naughty child, and it worked. If you’re running for President and planning a debate, don’t hire me as a coach.]
Clinton gets in the first zinger: “Trumped-up trickle-down.” Contrasts her small-businessman father with Trump’s background of wealth. Seems to be doing well so far.
Hold asks Trump for specifics.
Trump gabbles about Mexico’s VAT. Point not clear to me; I doubt the voters got it. “We are twenty billion dollars.” Not clear what that means. $20B in debt? Trump says he can stop companies from leaving the country; I think he’s threatening punitive tariffs on companies that outsource.
Clinton confident, in charge of the facts.
Trump interrupts Clinton to deny that he said that global warming is a Chinese hoax. Pretty sure he’s lying.
[Update: Yes, he was lying.]
Trump says Obama has doubled the debt. Sounds to me like a fast-talking salesman. I don’t think this is working for him. Another sniffle.
Trump says Clinton has been at this for thirty years. Clinton asserts the prosperity of the 1990s. Trump interrupting again.
Trump yelling and interrupting about NAFTA.
“Donald, I know you live in your own reality.”
Trump tries to get Clinton to criticize Obama. Fails.
One of these candidates seems capable.
One of these candidates seems personable.
The other has orange hair.
Trump yelling again.
Clinton invites viewers to go to the fact-check on her website.
Trump is now interrupting Holt. Not great tactics.
Basic impression so far: Trump is ignorantly angry. Clinton is serenely competent.
Trump is talking about repatriating overseas earnings, but you’d have to know about that to understand what’s he’s saying, and if you do know about it you’d know he’s full of it.
Trump keeps interrupting. Holt eventually shushes him. Clinton laughing at Trump as Trump scowls.
Holt calls out Trump on taxes. Trump uses the “audit’ dodge. Holt calls him on it. Trump brings up the emails. Trumpeters in the audience cheer, against the rules.
Clinton came loaded for bear, gives Trump both barrels.
Trump still sniffling. Cllinton’s mike going in and out.
Clinton gives a reasoned answer on race. Trump rants about “law and order,” demands “stop and frisk.” Paints minority communities as war zones. Clinton ready with numbers on the great crime decline.
Trump gets the history of stop and frisk wrong; cut back 95% under Bloomberg. Also claims murder is up in NYC under deBlasio. That’s simply false.
Holt hammers Trump on birtherism. Trump tells the lie about the Clinton campaign starting it. Imagines that a McClatchey reporter has the last name “McClatchey.” Hillary is just laughing at him. Nails him with his old race-discrimination suit.Trump brags that he opened a golf club that didn’t discriminate. Does he want a medal?
Holt raises the cyber question, Clinton tries to nail Trump on inviting Putin’s hacking. Doesn’t do so especially skilfully, but Trump mostly babbles in reply.
Q on ISIS. Trump does “take the oil.” Clinton explains why withdrawing from Iraq was made necessary by the Iraqi refusal to continue the SOFA. Sounds, again, as if she knows what she’s talking about.
Clinton’s betting Â odds are up 5% since this started; Trump is down 5%. I think the cake is baked. Unless something startling happens, I’m going to end this here, and finally get a decent night’s sleep for the first time in three weeks.
After-action report Â Trump and his supporters have decided to double down on delusion by pretending he won the debate, but in fact – as predicted – he got schlonged. There was blood coming out of his whatever.
So that leaves a question:Â If HRC sends Donald Trump a bill for cleaning his clock, will Trump just stiff her, or pay it out of Foundation funds?