Clinon v. Trump: First presidential debate brings expected drama

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The first presidential debate was conflicting and laden with misspoken facts.

Aaron Jaffe

Contributing Writer

 

The first presidential debate of 2016 is now in the bag. It was packed with topics that the public had been yearning for and the candidates did not disappoint, even with plenty of drama to go along. Trump and Clinton clashed over things from the Iraq War to stamina. Trump showed little restraint with almost tenacious impatience to interrupt and blame Secretary Clinton for the work of Obama and Bush and she fought back, forcing Trump to defend shady business dealings and his denigration of women.

 

The debate started with each of the candidate’s major points. Clinton covered her plan to raise incomes, create equal pay, support profit sharing, increase affordable childcare and make higher education debt-free – a plan created with Bernie Sanders. Trump chose to stick to the central theme of bringing jobs back to America which would include cutting the business tax rate to from thirty-five to fifteen percent, estimated by the conservative Tax Foundation to reduce federal revenue by $4.4 – $5.9 trillion over the next decade.

 

Throughout the 90-minute debate, Trump repeatedly interrupted and made strident and lacerating attacks at Clinton’s plan and the work she has done as Secretary of State and a New York State Senator. While it may have been satisfying to his Republican base, it was off-putting to many of the remaining undecided and women voters.

 

Trump spent the majority of the debate on the defensive and had to explain himself for comments and decisions he has made in the past, including his support of the Iraq War, which he continually argues that he was against since the beginning, his tax returns not being made public though the IRS stated that they can be released regardless of an audit in progress and derogatory comments he has made towards women.

 

For Clinton, she defended her stance on NAFTA and her husband’s part in forming the agreement. Trump stated, “The NAFTA agreement is defective.” However, she stood her ground on the issue backing what her husband, President Bill Clinton had done.

 

NBC News Anchor, Lester Holt, the moderator for the debate, stayed out of the way allowing the candidates to argue freely within their given times, though he frequently allowed them to go overtime. Holt did intervene to fact-check Trump when he claimed to have always been against the war in Iraq and Trump’s involvement in the Birtherism movement in an attempt to discredit President Obama in 2011.

 

Trump was hard-pressed when it came to his remarks against women — Clinton came prepared with a new example of Alicia Machado, Miss. America 1996, when he called her “Miss. Piggy” and “Miss. Housekeeping.”

 

Trump continued to speak on Clinton’s stamina to be Commander-In-Chief. “I don’t believe she does have the stamina to be president of this country,” Trump said. “You need tremendous stamina.”

 

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

 

Personal jabs at each other did not stop there. Earlier in the debate, Trump spoke on his temperament that had been heavily criticized by Clinton and many others. “I think my strongest asset may be by far is my temperament. I have a winning temperament,” Trump stated.

 

Clinton returned with a simple, “Whew. OK,” as she laughed, with a wide grin on her face.

 

She went on to criticize Trump’s business practices that majorly benefitted him and not the middle class, noting his support for the housing collapse of 2006, “He said, back in 2006, gee, I hope it does collapse because then I can go in and buy some and make some money. Well, it did collapse.”

 

Trump’s defense was shortly, “That’s called business, by the way.”

 

In addition, when challenged about paying no federal income tax for years, he let it pass and simply stated, “That makes me smart.” He later added that his taxes might “be squandered too,” seemingly admitting that he hasn’t paid federal income taxes.

 

When it came to speaking on race, the conversation circled continuously around the controversial stop-and-frisk policies implemented in New York City and later ended after being found unconstitutional due to the unequal amount of Black and Hispanic young men being prosecuted through this procedure.

 

Trump stated that ending the policy lead to a rise in violence. A NYPD spokesman tweeted that statistic was incorrect. Clinton continued to be against the stop-an-frisk policy as she had been for years.

 

The majority of the debate covered serious topics and managed to not include petty arguments over scandals including each candidate’s foundations, Clinton’s emails or Trump’s failed university and the litigation against him. However, it did not come without its lighter side.

 

After being asked to “defend tax increases on the wealthiest Americans,” Clinton stated, “I have a feeling that by the end of this evening, I’ll be blamed for everything that’s ever happened.”

 

Trump’s response of, “why not?” invoked some laughter from both the audience and Clinton. She went on, “Why not, yeah why not? Just join the debate by saying more crazy things.”

 

A post-debate CNN/ORC poll found that Clinton won the debate, 62% – 27%. However, the debate will undeniably change the race from here on.

 

The following presidential debates are on Oct. 9 and 19 and the vice-presidential debate is on Oct. 4.

 

Here is a link to see the fact-checking that was done during the debate: http://www.npr.org/2016/09/26/495115346/fact-check-first-presidential-debate

 

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