AP Analysis: In Debate, Clinton Was Prepared, Trump Was Trump

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trhilShe was at her best. He was not at his worst.

Weeks of Super Bowl-style hype aside, Monday night’s 90 minutes of heated clashes between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump probably didn’t shove many undecided voters off the fence.

If Clinton aimed to push her famously unpredictable opponent into a made-for-sharing disqualifying moment, she didn’t quite get there. If Trump set out to show America — particularly women — he’s completed the transformation from cartoonish pop culture staple to leader worthy of the Oval Office, he still has a way to go.

But in a debate full of feisty exchanges and a personal scuffle or two, the candidates demonstrated clearly how they’ve gotten this far. Clinton was polished, prepared and proud of it —a Hermione Granger at a podium. She came with sharp and practiced answers, most notably a newly direct one for the questions about her private email server that has dogged her candidacy for months. She grinned broadly and calmly, even when under fire, and she mocked but only gently the man she called “Donald.”

“I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did,” Clinton said. “And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.”

Trump addressed his opponent as “Secretary Clinton” — even asking for her approval for the term — but by the end he called her “Hillary.”

The care he took with her title was a reminder of the voters he was aiming to win over. Women, particularly college-educated white women, are the key to Trump turning his current burst of momentum into a sustained surge that lasts until Election Day. The 70-year-old businessman has struggled to persuade women, even those with doubts about the first woman president, to get behind his bid, thanks in part to his performances in past debates, which led to cringe-worthy challenges to moderator Megyn Kelly or opponent Carly Fiorina.

Trump avoided another jaw-dropping, decorum-busting moment on Monday night, but it was hard to see that he did much to soften his image. He repeatedly and aggressively interrupted Clinton to rebut or deny her charges, at times talking over her or interrupting. When asked by moderator Lester Holt to explain a previous comment that Clinton doesn’t have a “presidential look,” Trump simply repeated the comment.

“She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina,” he said. “To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina.”

Clinton came prepared to pounce: “Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

As the debate went on, Clinton seemed to gain confidence and a better sense of timing. When Trump concluded a long and tangled defense of his years-long campaign to challenge President Barack Obama’s citizenship, she paused for a moment to let Trump’s words sink in.

“Well, just listen to what you heard,” she said.

Trump, too, had his moments.

He delivered a searing indictment of Clinton as just another insider proposing the same-old solutions for an economy on the brink of “crashing down.” The riff was a potent reminder of why his candidacy has become a vehicle for the alienated white Americans feeling pinched by the economy and forces of globalization.

“Typical politician. All talk, no action. Sounds good, doesn’t work. Never going to happen,” he said, encapsulating the core message of his campaign.

He showed Clinton remains vulnerable on her support for trade deals, forcing Clinton in her clearest fib of the night when she denied having called the Trans-Pacific Partnership the “gold standard” of trade agreements and claimed she merely said she hoped it would be a good deal.

But Trump missed opportunities to dive into Clinton’s other vulnerabilities. She was also able to make swift work of her email scandal, saying simply “It was a mistake and I take responsibility for that.”

“That’s for sure,” Trump interjected, but left it there.

The Republican didn’t raise Clinton’s description of half of his supporters as “deplorables” or the Clinton Foundation and its donor network.

That left Clinton largely free to play the prepared grown up to Trump’s agitated upstart.

Even Trump granted her that:

“She’s got experience,” he said. “But it’s bad experience. And this country can’t afford to have another four years of that kind of experience.”

(AP)




5 COMMENTS

  1. Any American who does not believe in abortion for economic or social reasons or does not believe in gay marriages should not vote for Clinton. Clinton will never go witness a late abortion, it is state sanction murder. Members of the SS even had trouble killing children. Those who ignore these facts or choose to be silent are guilty of murder.

    A great Rabbi said that the world is founded on peace. justice and truth. Clinton and her supporters sweep under the table inconvenient truths—no human being
    should.

    Shalom, a goy, Gerry Mullen

    PS: Suggest all Jews study more and be an example of what Torah observant people are.

  2. Trump solidified his racism bragging about the birther lie, he belittled the average American by saying he was “smart” for not paying federal taxes, he further admitted he was a sleaze for not paying thousands of workers and businesses because “he didn’t like their work” , wonder how often he hired someone else to correct what he found wrong. Wow he opened a club that didn’t discriminate, if you could afford to pay the hefty fees to join, why not. SAD

  3. After winning the election, Donald Duck will hear that the government spends billions of dollars to pay for food, housing, education, healthcare, etc for many poor people. He’ll say, “What?! Those pathetic failures are not what America is about. The first step towards making American great again is to stop supporting losers!” And in an instant, so many people we know that count on food stamps, rent subsidies, EITC, medicaid, etc, will see their lifelines dry up. This menuval is dangerous for us.

  4. Saw this on line had to copy and paste a real list of accomplishments or lack there of of Hillary Clinton

    JUST THE FACTS …
    of the two candidates running for president…
    Only Hillary Clinton was caught lying to congress.
    Only Hillary Clinton was fired from a job for being unethical.
    Only Hillary Clinton deleted 30 some thousand emails after she was ordered to hand them over to the Fed.
    Only Hillary Clinton had that same computer wiped clean by professionals.
    Only Hillary Clinton got the rapist of a teenage girl off on rape charges then laughed about it.
    Only Hillary Clinton lied to the American people about Benghazi.
    Only Hillary Clinton lied to the American people about her emails.
    Only Hillary Clinton lied about being under sniper fire.
    Only Hillary Clinton lied about lying to the American people.
    Only Hillary Clinton was involved in ” Cash Cow ”
    Only Hillary Clinton has a long list of scandals.
    Only Hillary Clinton nationally belittled her husband’s sexual harassment ( and rape ) accusers.
    Only Hillary Clinton is a career politician.
    Only Hillary Clinton will not release her speeches to Goldman Sachs and other banks.
    Only Hillary Clinton is tied to Monsanto.
    Only Hillary Clinton was labeled ” Extremely careless ” about national security by the FBI !
    Only Hillary Clinton said she will raise taxes on the middle class.
    Only Hillary Clinton benefited from the DNC rigging an election !
    Only Hillary Clinton had to return stolen items from the White House.
    Only Hillary Clinton said the Benghazi victims parents where lying.
    Only Hillary Clinton wants you to vote for her based on her gender.
    Only Hillary Clinton has no real accomplishments after a lifetime in politics.
    Only Hillary Clinton has never created any jobs.
    Only Hillary Clinton has been investigated by the FBI and found to have put national security at risk.
    Only Hillary Clinton has had two or more movies and several documentaries made about her questionable ethics.
    Only Hillary Clinton was called “Broomstick one” by the SS.
    Only Hillary Clinton made congress and others spend millions and millions of tax dollars having hearings and investigating her to find that she lied, that would not have been spent if she would of simply told the truth in the first place ! Fact – all facts !
    Only Hillary Clinton regularly cussed out and belittled her SS detail.
    Only Hillary Clinton Only Hillary Clinton Only Hillary Clinton over and over again.
    But you are going to vote for her because…. you don’t like Donald Trump ? That is insane !
    I will never understand how any moral person in good conscience could vote for this woman.