In the first debate at Hofstra University 13 days earlier, Clinton sat back and let Trump hang himself. But on Sunday her quiet patience gave him room to roam and dominate.
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who has been among Trump’s most forceful defenders, summed up the real estate tycoon’s performance with two words in the post-debate spin room: ‘home run.’
‘I think the momentum is going to switch, like that,’ Giuliani told DailyMail.com, snapping his fingers. ‘It was one of the biggest victories in a presidential debate, ever.’ Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta called Trump ‘desperate’ and called him ‘incoherent’ in policy discussions.
Neither candidate appeared in the hall where reporters waited to grill them. For Clinton, that was par for the course. For Trump, it marked his first such absence in any debate in which he’s participated in 2016 and 2015.
Clinton established herself as a superior bureaucrat Sunday night with more mature knowledge of foreign policy minutiae and a more intelligible way of communicating details about how laws are made.
But Trump won on points in what has become the Year of the Outsider, playing to a national television audience that polls show are weary of Washington’s same-old same-old and eager for new blood.
He had Clinton playing defense for most of the 90-minute clash, saying she would be ‘in jail’ if he ran the Justice Department – a reference to her classified email scandal – and declaring that she had ‘tremendous hate in her heart’ when she branded ‘half’ his supporters as ‘deplorables.’
He even bested her on her recollection of her own tenure at the helm of the U.S. State Department.
Clinton insisted she had retired from the government by the time that happened. Not so: Obama dared Assad to cross his line in August 2012, six months before Clinton’s term ended. Sunday night’s showdown, the second of three before the Nov. 8 presidential election, launched with a bang in St. Louis, Missouri.
There was no handshake at the top. Only polite nods at each other. The white-hot stares, straight ahead, came 90 minutes after Trump held a photo-op press event featuring four women with sex-assault accusations from the Clintons’ past.
The first question of the debate was expected to focus on lewd remarks revealed Friday in an 11-year-old audiotape of Trump. But it was milder, asking Clinton about the overall tone of the 2016 campaigns.
The temperature at Washington University in St. Louis dropped. No fireworks. No first blood. For two minutes.
Then Trump found himself behind the 8-ball, with co-moderator Anderson Cooper telling him bluntly that he had admitted to ‘sexual assault’ in the audio – referring to a remark saying that powerful men could touch women whenever they wanted.
Trump insisted, as he did Friday night, that ‘this was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it.’ But then he turned the discussion on the Clintons. ‘If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse,’ trump jabbed. ‘Mine were words, his were actions.’ ‘Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those women, attacked them viciously.’
Broaddrick accused former President Clinton of raping her when he was the Arkansas attorney general. She later pointed a finger at Hillary Clinton for intimidating her into silence as her husband launched his 1992 bid for the presidency.
Willey and Jones made similar accusations against this year’s Democratic nominee for the White House. He also noted that Shelton was sitting in the front row. The Arkansas native was 12 when she was raped by a 41-year-old drifter. Hillary Clinton was her attacker’s lawyer.
‘Her client – she represented – she got him off,’ Trump said, recalling that she was recorded ‘laughing [about the case] on two separate tapes.’
Giuliani later remarked that ‘if you listened to them when they had their own press conference, it wasn’t just that Bill Clinton raped them, assaulted them or took sexual advantage of them. ‘It was that Hillary Clinton attacked them. One of them was a 12-year-old girl. And Hillary Clinton got the rapist acquitted and then laughed about it.’
Trump was on a tear Sunday night, recalling that the former president ‘was impeached, lost his license to practice law’ because he lied to Congress about his affair with a young White House intern named Monica Lewinsky.
‘When Hillary brings up a point like that and she talks about words that I said 11 years ago, I think it’s disgraceful and I think she should be ashamed of herself,’ Trump said.
Trump’s partisans in the audience cheered and applauded.
‘So much of what he said is not right,’ Clinton protested. ‘I’m reminded of what my friend Michelle Obama advised us all: When they go low, you go high.’ Her claque in the auditorium screamed and hollered.
Trump’s biggest zinger came when Clinton was asked about a fundraising speech where she said ‘half’ of Trump’s voting base belong in ‘baskets of deplorables,’ and branded the same group as ‘irredeemable’ because of their views.
Trump pushed back, framing himself as a uniting force in the face of divisive rhetoric. ‘We have a divided nation because of people like her. Believe me, she has tremendous hate in her heart.’ The line drew audible gasps in the auditorium.
‘She has tremendous hatred. This country cannot take another four years of Barack Obama and that’s what you are getting with her,’ Trump said. The two candidates got into another angry exchange after the moderators raised the issue of Clinton’s classified email scandal.
The Democrat delivered a stock response, saying, ‘That was a mistake and I take responsibility for using a personal email account … I’m not making any excuses. It was a mistake and I’m very sorry about that.’
Clinton pledged that she was ‘very committed’ to taking classified information seriously.
Trump countered: ‘And yet she didn’t know the letter “C” on a document,’ referring to Clinton’s statement to the FBI that she didn’t recognize that marking for classified information. ‘She didn’t even know what that letter meant,’ Trump fumed. ‘And she’s lying again … do you think it was fine to delete 33,000 emails?’ Trump asked rhetorically. ‘I don’t think so.’
‘For you to say that there was nothing wrong with you deleting 39,000 [sic] emails again, you should be ashamed of yourself, what you did,’ Trump said, adding that Clinton should be ‘put in jail.’
‘It’s just not true,’ Clinton tried to respond, saying, ‘Well we turned over 35,000 emails’ to the State Department, but Trump cut her off.
‘Please allow her to talk,’ moderator Anderson Cooper jumped in, scolding Trump that Clinton allowed him to speak.
‘That’s true I did,’ Clinton agreed.
‘Because you have nothing to say,’ Trump shot back.
Clinton replied: ‘Its just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.’ ‘Because you’d be in jail,’ he snapped. source