Monday, September 26, 2016

CNN #Debate2016: Trump vs Clinton

The day we all have been waiting for finally came. Just about an hour ago, presidential candidates Donald Trump (R) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) squared off in a live televised debate on CNN.  The debate was held at HOFSTRA university. MSNBC's Lester Holt served as moderator. This debate was expected to have over 100 million viewers, a record breaker for televised presidential debates. The format was similar to that of primary debates with the exception that the audience could not applause and interrupt the candidates. There were certain instances where the audience forgot this rule and cheered anyhow.

The debate was well organized, in my opinion.  Donald Trump came out strong in the first half hour or so. He countered Hillary Clinton's points very well.  However, the rest of the way, he seemed to have lost steam.  Clinton spoke eloquently on the economy, jobs and racism.  At times, she brushed off Trump with condescending tone. It was apparently clear that she was trying to bait him to get emotional on stage.  Trump at times did get flustered, kept drinking water but never got into a shouting match like he did against Jeb Bush during the primary debates. Clinton did not get into any shouting match as well, but one could tell that she was holding back.  Both candidates sighed a few times, showing frustration.  On the economy, Trump did very well. He reminded everyone of the situation the nation is in and that he will be the best person to fix the problems regarding jobs and the national debt.  Clinton spoke as a scripted politician and Trump did a good job calling her out on that by stating that politicians are all talk and no action. This fit his narrative well since he is billing himself as the "outsider" against career politicians.

Clinton attacked Trump for not opening up his tax returns. Trumps shot back saying that he will release them when she releases the 30,000 emails she deleted. Clinton accused Trump of hiding that he does not pay taxes. Trump shot back saying, "That makes me smart." This may have harmed him with voters who are not pleased with how the rich often get away without paying taxes. It seems Clinton set him up to say this. Clinton also went after Trump's business record attacking him for going into bankruptcy and not paying contractors. Trump responded that this was business and that he does not pay anyone who does a bad job. Clinton presented herself as having experience. Trump rebuttal saying "She's got experience but it's bad experience."  This drew cheering from the crowd.

The issue of birtherism was brought up. Trump accused Clinton and a staffer of promoting the idea that Obama was not an American citizen. Clinton pushed the view that Trump's request for Obama's birth certificate was offensive to African Americans and bothered president Obama greatly. The topic was mixed with the talk on violence in cities.  Trump stated that stop and frisk must be brought back. He stated that it help reduced crime in New York City dramatically.  An NYPD tweet seemed to have confirmed this.

Ironically, the wall and immigration were not brought up in the debate. Clinton did jab Trump on his temperament. However, Trump stated that he had a better temperament citing Hillary's recent outburst with a reporter. Clinton said that American cannot have a president who loses it over a tweet controlling nuclear weapons.  Trump replied, "That line is getting old."  The debate was interesting to watch.  I was expecting more of a showdown, but perhaps the candidate held back in order to see how polls responded. Not much in regards to plans were discussed. To me, the debate seemed more like a discussion. Trump did interrupt Clinton a few times which I think was uncalled for. Some in the media are spinning it saying he was trying to speak over a woman. Clinton seemed poised the well measured but obviously scripted.  She did prepare for the debate, one could tell. Trump, I believe, did not prepare well enough and was left looking weak at certain instances.  Lester Holt was also asking Trump more questions than Hillary, which I found unfair. He was clearly protecting Clinton.  She hardly got crossed examined.

Most people on the media and social media believe Clinton won.  So far, a poll I posted on Twitter shows this same view.  I personally believe it was a tie.  Neither candidate really stood out.

Earlier in the day, I posted this poll which showed many believed Trump would win.


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