The second Presidential Debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took place tonight at Washington University in St. Louis. It was moderated by Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz.
Our scores here reflect our opinions on how this debate will affect their standings in the polls. Our scores do not reflect the issues themselves.
Trump +8 When Trump walked out at the beginning, I felt some trepidation, he was very reserved, he looked just a bit uncomfortable and his posture looked tentative. It also appeared the moderators were in an attack mode since an early queston was about the “locker room” talk released on Friday by Access Hollywood.
He handled the “locker room” talk by contritely apologizing and then going on the attack, spending time brutally attacking Bill Clinton’s abuses. Four of his accusers were in the audience. This was a good approach, I believe he ably put this issue behind him.
Trump improved from there. He still occasionally interrupted Hillary, however unlike last time when his remarks seemed mis-timed, his comments tonight were on point, humorous and effective. One particular comment, “because you would be in jail” hit home and will perhaps be the most remembered moment of the night.
As the night went on, a low energy Trump turned into a much higher energy Trump aptly engaged in battle.
On the issue of his taxes, Trump managed to turn this issue around, saying he and Hillary’s supporters all use the tax laws whether fair or not. Hillary on the other hand was a Senator, why did she not change the tax laws if she didn’t like them? He essentially doubled down in Trump fashion, and was effective.
He drove home the email scandal and focused the audience on various issues, including the Bernie Sanders comment on Hillary’s lack of judgment, on Hillary’s “deplorables” comment, and how she has been in Washington for 30 years and has not accomplished anything.
Trump also declared he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary and put her in jail. This has never been done before in presidential politics. This will likely be a major focus for the media over the next few days.
We gave Trump 8 points for neutralizing several painful issues, and shifting the focus to Hillary’s weakness in a dominating way. He was innovative, his timing was good, this was the “show” we were expecting.
Clinton +2 Hillary Clinton came into the debate poised and confident, and rightfully so after a very good performance in the first debate. She performed almost as well as in the last debate , it was here opponent that was different.
In response to the recent Wikileaks revelation of her “Wall Street” speeches, where she said, “sometimes you need a public opinion and a private opinion,” she spoke eloquently about Abraham Lincoln and how he used to explain issues to various groups using different arguments with each. This should normally have been reasonably effective, however in this case Trump was standing by to shoot it down. And he did.
Hillary gave impassioned speeches on her work with children and was effective in several other areas. She was eloquent in her detail on the Middle East, as well, however much of this was smashed by Trump. This debate was not a good venue for eloquence.
But while her opening responses were poised and very presidential, it appeared that she lost poised as the debate when on and became a bit stiff. Her smile/smirk that was very effective in the last debate, but less so here, and appeared wooden near the end.
I gave Clinton two points because I believe she reached and re-assured her base, and she maintained her composure throughout. However performance-wise Trump dominated the most memorable moments.
I listened to the post debate commentary on CBS, I’m not sure I heard the same debate that these commentators heard. Clearly a liberal biased crew.
On the other hand, while the moderators were frequently obnoxious, I thought they were equally obnoxious to both candidates. Perhaps the fairest of any of the debates so far, i.e. equally unfair to both sides.
One point of note, Trump contradicted his running mate Mike Pence regarding a comment on the Syrian situation. When quoted Pence’s statement, Trump said he disagreed with it. I suspect this will cause a lot of backpeddling and reconciliation over the next several days. The commentators said the Pence camp was livid, but they are likely embellishing. But this will likely be a media circus for a day or two.
Trump and Clinton did not shake hands at the beginning, however the event seemed to thaw at the end when an audience question asked them to say what they admired about the other. Hillary complimented Trump’s kids, and Trump admired Hillary’s tenacity.
Who won? Trump won hands down by a score of 8 to 2, in my view. Clinton did not hurt herself, but Trump was able to take the initiative restore the energy in his campaign. I believe this will give Trump’s campaign momentum.
Editor’s note: Just found this from Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert. He is very insightful http://blog.dilbert.com/post/151599421561/quick-debate-reactions-from-switzerland