Summing upÂ Maybe less one-sided than the first debate, but Clinton seemed to come out ahead once again. Halperin, who always says what is conventionally believed, says Clinton won on points but in any case Trump didn’t do nearly what he needed to in order to catch up. But probably good enough to prevent a complete melt-down.
10:13 Q to Trump from African-American audience member: will you be devoted to everyone?
Yes. NAFTA. Inner cities are a disaster. 45% poverty. Jobs are essentially non-existent. What do you have to lose? It can’t get any worse. All talk and no action. Nothing will change.
Clinton: I’m proud of 30 years of public service. Defending rights of minority children and disabled children. Lots of people are afraid they won’t have a place in Donald Trump’s America. 10-year-old adopted from Ethiopia afraid of being sent back. Trump effect on bullying.
Q to Clinton: “Deplorables.” Took it back within hours. “My argument is not with his supporters, but with him.” Trump has never apologized.
Trump: “We have a very divided nation.” Increase in murder. “Because people like her.” “She’s got tremendous hatred.”
Q to Trump: Self-discipline. How about tweeting out about a sex tape? A It wasn’t about a sex tape. Amb. Stevens sent 600 requests for help, and “she” only talked to Sidney Blumenthal. Tweeting is wonderful.
Q to Clinton: Does Trump have the discipline to be a good leader? No. And lots of other people say so, too. Brags about her husband’s economic record. Talks about working with GWB. Proud of work with Obama.
Audience question: Supreme Court justice.
Clinton: Need some more Justices with real-world experience. Citizens United. Voting rights. Stick with Roe v. Wade and marriage equality. Trump’s list includes people who would reverse both. Need a court that doesn’t always side with corporations. Too bad Senate hasn’t done its job with Merrick Garland.
Trump: Justice Scalia, great judge. Looking to appoint judges very much in his mold. Second Amendment. I’m self-funding. Why isn’t Hillary putting some of the money she made by exploiting her office?
Clinton: Respect Second Amendment, but background checks, closing gun-show/internet loophole.
Audience question: How to make us energy indepdenent while protecting environment and the jobs of fossil-fuel workers?
Trump: Clean coal. Obama is putting energy companies out of business. China is dumping steel. It’s a disgrace.
Clinton: China is dumping steel illegally, and you’re buying it. Need a trade prosecutor. Need to remain energy independent, but need to worry about global warming Â Clean energy superpower. Revitalize coal country. Those coal miners powered our country; I don’t want to walk away from them.
Last audience question: Can either of you name a positive thing you respect about one another?
Clinton: “I respect his children.” Moves from there to how important this election is.
Trump: “I’m very proud of my children.” Hillary doesn’t quit, doesn’t give up. I dislike what she’s fighting for, but that’s a good trait.
10:04 What about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo?
It’s a disaster. Russia isn’t interested in fighting ISIS. They want to keep Assad in power. No-fly zone. Pressure on the Russians. “Russia has decided they’re all in in Syria, and they’ve also decided who they want as President of the United States. And it’s not me.” War crimes trials.
Trump: Red line in the sand. (Clinton interrupts to point out that she had left by then.) “Russia has gone wild with their nuclear program. Russia is new; we are old.” “She doesn’t even know who the rebels are.” “We wind up arming people, and we don’t even know who they are.” [Still snuffling.] Iran deal. “I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS, Russia is killing ISIS, Iran is killing ISIS.” Moderator reminds Trump of what Pence said about military action in Syria. Trump says he hasn’t talked with Pence, but he disagrees.”
Q What will happen if Aleppo falls? “It’s already fallen.” Why did we telegraph our punch on Mosul? How stupid is our country? Moderator says the military has reasons for doing those things. Trump says he has generals and Medal of Honor winners supporting him. Patton and MacArthur wouldn’t be pleased.
Q to Clinton: Nothing is working. Would you use American ground forces?
A: No. Don’t want to be an occupying force. Enablers, trainers, Special Forces, are different.
Q: What would you do differently? A: By the time Obama leaves, we might well have taken Mosul. Points out that we announce targets as part of a strategy to rally locals to our side. Arm the Kurds. Â [Remarkably competent-sounding answer.]
[Trump bitching about the moderators not being nice to him.]
9:54 Q from the audience to Trump: what provisions in the tax code would you change to make the wealthy pay their fair share? A Carried interest. Hillary was a Senator; she should have changed all those things. I will cut middle-class taxes; Clinton will raise them.
[When Clinton speaks, Trump scowls horridly. When Trump speaks, Clinton smiles serenely.]
Clinton: Trump lies again.
His tax cuts would give the rich even more than Bush’s, and hit the middle class.
I’ve pledged that no one who makes $250,000 or less will have a tax increase.
Buffet rule. Surtax over $5M. “People like Donald who pay zero in taxes …”
Q to Trump: Did you use that tax loss to avoid federal income tax? A: Of course I did. Moderator wants to press him on whether he ever paid personal income tax, but he ducks. Accuses Hillary of want to keep the carried-interest loophole. Why didn’t Hillary do anything about it in 30 years? All talk, no action. Sanders: bad judgment. Syria, Iraq.
Clinton points out a Senator can’t change the tax laws alone. Trump says if she’d been more effective she could have done it. Clinton responds that the Constitution gives the President a veto. Then launches in to a bio of her accomplishments. “For thirty years, I’ve produced results.”
Trump gets tired of interrupting Clinton, starts interrupting moderators.
9:49 Q from the audience to Clinton, from WikiLeaks: You said you need to have a public and private face. Should politicians be two-faced? Clinton replies that she was describing Lincoln’s strategy in passing the Thirteenth Amendment, using different arguments with different audiences.
Then doubles back on WikiLeaks and Russian hacking. Why do the Russians want Trump become President? Â Trump should release his tax returns.
Trump: She lied, and she’s blaming the lie on Lincoln. “I don’t know Putin. It would be nice to get along with Russia.” “They” blame everything on Russia. I have no loans with Russia. Balance sheet. Audit. Other people took massive deductions: Soros, Buffet.
9:39 Q from audience: there are 3.3 million Muslims in the country. How are you going to deal with Islamophobia.
A from Trump: There’s a reason for Islamophobia. Muslims need to report evil people. “Radical Islamic terrorism.”
Clinton: Yes, there’s Islamophobia. Trump Muslim-baits. We’ve had Muslims in this country since George Washington. Inclusive community. What Trump says is dangerous. We need American Muslims to help us against terrorists. We need Islamic countries to help us against jihadists.
Q to Trump: You called for a Muslim ban. Pence says no. Was that a mistake?
A: Captain Khan would still be alive if I were President. Shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. Policy morphed to “extreme vetting.” Moderator tries to ask about how that morphing happened. Trump doesn’t respond. Hundreds of thousands of people coming in from Syria.
Q to Clinton: You’ve called for more Syrian refugees. Vetting isn’t perfect. Why take the risk?
A I won’t let anyone in I think is dangerous. Vetting as tough as it needs to be. Four-year-old Syrian with blood on his forehead. How does a country based on religious freedom impose a religious test on visitors? If you look at terrorist websites, they use Trump’s word. Points out that Trump is lying about the war in Iraq. He lies some more.
Trump: Criminal illegal aliens. Home countries won’t take them back; Clinton acquiesced. I’ll force them back. Drugs pouring across the border at an unprecedented clip. She doesn’t understand the border. Wants amnesty for everyone.
9:25 Moderator to Clinton: what about the emails? Clinton apologizes, insists she always treated classified information seriously. Trump says she didn’t know what “c” meant. 33,000 emails.
Trump interrupting. Moderator points out that Clinton didn’t interrupt him. Trump snarks back.
Question from the audience: Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is not affordable. What will you do about it? Clinton agrees Obamacare needs fixing, says it needs fixing to rein in costs. But not by repealing it. 20 million people now have insurance who didn’t. Everyone who gets employer insurance also gets big benefits: no pre-existing conditions, no lifetime cap, no sex discrimination, kids can be insured up to age 26. If we repeal Obamacare, as Trump wants to do, all that gets wiped out.
Trump: Obamacare will explode in 2017. “Their approach” is to go back to Congress for more money. Repeal it and replace it with something absolutely much less expensive. Cross-state insurance markets. “She” wants to go to single-payer, like Canada.
Q to Clinton: Was Bill wrong to say Obamacare is a crazy system? A: No, we’re stuck with employer-based insurance, which isn’t ideal. Need to fix Obamacare.
Trump: Everything is broken about Obamacare. Sanders said Clinton had bad judgment; this shows it. Competition will solve the pre-existing condition problem. The whole thing was a fraud. We’re going to block-grant Medicaid to take care of people without funds.
9:00 Made it home just in time.
First question from the audience: last week’s debate should have been R-rated? Are you providing a good model for children?
Clinton: We’re great because we’re good. Here’s my laundry list. I want to be a President for all Americans, heal the country.
Trump: “I agree with everything she said.” This is a great country. Make America Great Again. Obamacare. Iran deal. [Utterly ignoring the question, as Clinton mostly did.] Trade. Law and order. We need justice. Â Making our inner cities better for blacks and Latinos.
Moderator tries to bring it back to the question. Links it to Trump’s tape. Calls it sexual assault. Does he understand that. Trump shrugs it off. “Locker-room banter.” ISIS. (?) Moderator tries to nail him again: did you kiss or grope women without their consent. Trump ducks and weaves, finally says “No I have not.” Back to his rant.
Over to Clinton. I’ve disagreed with previous Republican candidates, but never thought them unfit. Donald is different. “I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it it that it represents exactly who he is.” Hammers Trump’s sexism. Segues to nativism, racism, hostility to POWs, people with disabilities, Muslims. Â America is great because we are good. We will celebrate our diversity.
Trump wants to respond. “It’s just words, folks.” Inner cities are a disaster in every way possible. Hillary has done a terrible job “for the African-Americans.” [He’s sniffing again.] Moderator cuts him off.
Question from FB. “Trump says the campaign has changed him. How was that?” Moderator adds: have you kept doing what you were doing at age 59? “Locker-room talk.” Bill Clinton was worse. [Still sniffing.] Trump has the victim whose rapist Hillary defended in the audience, along with three people he says were Bill Clinton’s victims. “I think she should be ashamed of yourself, if you want to know the truth.”
Clinton quotes Michelle Obama: “When they go low, you go high.” Everyone can draw his own conclusions about whether the man in the video, or the man on the stage, respects women or not.” On to the Khans and Judge Curiel and the disabled reporter and birtherism. “He owes the President an apology, he owes the country apology.” Accuses Clinton of having started birtherism. Obama made rude campaign ads against Clinton, in “an election you lost fair and square,” by contrast with having beaten Sanders “not fair and square.” [still snuffling] 33,000 e-mails. “I hate to say it,” but if President I’m going to have the Attorney General appoint a special prosecutor.
[If you had any worries that Trump would turn over a new leaf, relax.]
Clinton says it’s good we don’t have someone with Trump’s temperament in charge of the law in this country. Trump says “Because you’d be in jail.” His fans in the crowd cheer raucously, against the rules.