Discuss: the Presidential debate

As I already knew who I was going to vote for, I didn’t see much sense in watching the Clinton/Trump debate last night. Though I’ll vote for Clinton as the far superior candidate, I don’t like either of them, and would have watched only to see what style the debaters assumed, and how many metatarsals Trump managed to insert into his mouth.

I did tune in for about 10 minutes near the beginning, only to see a raucous shouting match with the moderator, Lester Holt, either unwilling or unable to control the fracas. At that point I decided to read a book.

Judging from the emails I got last night, Clinton “won” the debate, but of course my friends are all Democrats. I scanned the front page of today’s New York Times and saw this editorial headline:


So, as I’ll be downtown for the next few hours, I’ll leave it to readers to discuss the debate. Who did the better job? Did the moderator do his job? What were the biggest gaffes or “gotcha” moments? Have at it in the comments below, and I’ll be back by noon.


  1. GBJames
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I avoided the affair. My wife watched it. I’ll just “sub” for now.

    • Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink


    • Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      Who do I think won the first presidential debate? Gary Johnson.

  2. Posted September 27, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I chose not to watch. I chose wisely.

    • Alexander
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Why? It was like watching Archie Bunker on his couch…

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        I did enjoy how he talks about numbers: “We should’ve left troops in Iraq. 10,000 or something like that”.


        “There 5 million or maybe 6 million but I think 5”.

    • Scote
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      “I chose not to watch. I chose wisely.”

      If you didn’t watch how do you know?

  3. $G
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Trump’s ‘answer’ on cyber security was a notable tumble that somehow involved the DNC scandal, his 10-yo son’s ability with computers, doubting whether Russia ever hacked anything (or China or “a guy on his bed who weighs 400 lbs”), and ISIS.

    The moderator asked him about his persistent birther noise and Donald fell and hit every branch in history on the way down.

    Donald also evaded a perfectly worded question about his tax info, then later quipped about a) taking advantage of the housing issue: “that’s business!”, b) paying no taxes: “because I’m smart!”, and c) shafting a contractor working on one of his assets on some pay: “maybe I didn’t like the work he did!”

    He looked like a kid facing big league pitching for the first time. Completely embarrassed himself against aseasoned vet.

    • Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Yeah, the taxes thing was pretty jaw-dropping. That’s what we want in a leader, of course: someone who takes advantage of unfair and legally questionable loop-holes in order to avoid supporting the country they’re going to govern.

      He also claimed his business “acumen” is the “kind of thinking” this country’s leadership needs. Really? Scamming desperate people into buying worthless diplomas they can’t afford is the kind of thinking that will “make America great again”?

      • $G
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        If Trump is truly a great businessman (and I’m no one to judge), then the only case he’s made for himself this entire election is that he should be a federal gov’t business consultant.

        I mean I’ve read arguments about how his business skill is his greatest personal asset, but I’ve never seen a good argument for why this one trait qualifies him over Clinton for the presidency when you consider his other deficiencies.

        It’s like hiring a skilled sales guy and then hearing him argue that this one trait makes him more qualified to run the company than the CEO.

        • darrelle
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          There isn’t a good argument. But the idea is very appealing to many, not all, who self identify as fiscal conservatives and libertarians. Or, perhaps more directly, those that say they believe the invisible hand of the market can do everything better than government can.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

          Very well put $G.

        • Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          The people who think there’s something to that argument seem to be under the impression that successful business people achieve success with efficiency, responsibility, and economic sagacity, rather than selfishness and a willingness to use underhanded tactics and screw over many other people.

        • enl
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          I would argue that business skills aren’t really relevant to the job, other than skills hiring the right people to actually do most of the job and letting them do it. He doesn’t show much skill there, overall.

          The job of the government is to provide service to the citizens. Protection (not like John Gotti….) is at the top of the list, but many others as well. The leader should have a clue what these services are, how they work, and how they interrelate. He doesn’t. He doesn’t see the government being anything but a burden (by his own words), whose sole purpose is to keep people he doesn’t like in line. This includes inflicting our will on foreign sovereigncies, but without spending money to do it. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

          President of the US isn’t the head of a profit driven enterprise (by his own arguments), so running a profit making business isn’t a qualification either.

          On second thought, maybe he is qualified in that respect…

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

          Trump doesn’t understand that the type of brinksmanship he’s gotten away with as a New York builder and schlock-tv host is a recipe for disaster regarding foreign relations.

          It’s one thing to walk off the set of a tv show, or to threaten to file for bankruptcy if your subcontractors won’t take a cram-down of their bills. It’s another, to threaten to renege on NATO’s Article 5 joint-defense obligation because your allies haven’t ponied into the pot. Putin could view the latter as a green light to send Russian T-tanks through the Fulda Gap.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      The cyber security was amusing – talks about his 10 year old son being “good with computers”. Good grief.

      • Mobius
        Posted September 28, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        I’m sure the Donald is very impressed with his son’s knowledge of computers. That, however, is probably a very low bar. I suspect the Donald would have trouble finding the “any” key on his keyboard.

  4. CB
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    A vacuous bully for sure but a determined one. Responds directly to nothing just presses harder. Reminds me of my big brother when we were quite young. Fortunately my bro’ grew up and became a really decent person.

    • Scote
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Pure bully. Unfortunately, watching him pick on Clinton using bullying tactics resonates with a lot of people. And this will only get worse if he gets his way and gets even less moderation in the next two debates.

      We need to take the moderator out of the loop when it comes to keeping debaters from interjecting. We need a debate chess clock so that a speakers microphone is only on when their own time is ticking down. (No interjections will be heard in the broadcast, and will be hard to hear at the live venue.) When they are done talking, they hit the button and turning their opponent’s microphone and count down clock on.

      • Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        That’s a great idea, and therefore is not likely to be implemented.

      • darrelle
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        I think for that to work you would have to have the debaters separated from each other, the remote audience and the live audience in such a way that no one can hear who is speaking unless the speaker’s microphone is on. Otherwise someone like Donald will still disrupt the debate, probably in an even more “entertaining” way. In the case of Donald it might be best to have him in a secure, locked, sound proof room.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          You left out “padded.”

          • darrelle
            Posted September 28, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink

            I suppose that would be the humane thing to do.

      • Mobius
        Posted September 28, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Definitely a bully.

        One aspect I haven’t seen mentioned much, but I noticed, is that Trump always had to have the last word. Whenever Clinton had finished a statement and Holt tried to move to the next question, Trump would interrupt and interject one last comment of his own.

  5. qlz
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Clinton won hands down. Trump snatched and worried over every sliver of bait held out for him, like a slavering hyena. Holt did a good job, was of course unable to stop Trump’s frequent interruptions, but these, as well as Trump’s ramblings and aggression, only worked in Clinton’s favor.

  6. Grania Spingies
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    A lot of right-wing media sites (including Fox) are declaring Trump the winner regardless. Facts don’t seem to matter to an awful lot of voters, neither do policies, nor does objective reality.

    I’m not sure that debates make the slightest difference at all, not even to the “Undecideds” – although many of them say they think Clinton won the debate, they still don’t know if they will vote for her.

    It’s just a three-ring circus where most of the audience are jaded and bitter.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      I agree, but I just can’t cut the undecideds any slack. Jaded and bitter just isn’t an excuse. Anyone who actually watched the debate last night and can’t say that they will vote for Clinton rather than Trump is a real problem for society in general. It seems to me that they must either be deluding themselves due to peer pressure (or something like that) or they have some not so nice character flaws.

      I have never understood the attraction for so many to assholes for leaders. They want someone who is tough, can make the hard decisions, and many other quaint phrases that really amount to someone who is an asshole. Where has that gotten us? And Trump is not only the smelliest asshole who has ever been in reach of the office of president of the US, he is also very arguably the stupidest.

      My question to the undecideds is, do you want a reasonably decent human being as president or do you want an indecent loud mouthed asshole? It was crystal clear last night which of the two people on stage was closest to being a reasonably decent human being and that there was an enormous gap between the two.

      • Reginald Selkirk
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        I have never understood the attraction for so many to assholes for leaders.

        Unfortunately, some people cannot distinguish between toughness and brutality.

        • darrelle
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          True. I might have said “thuggishness,” but that is pretty close to the same thing.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          Absolutely. Aggressiveness = strength. In their tiny minds.


      • Kevin
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        You may recall what it was like going to a bar and seeing both men and women whose prospective partners were assholes. Mind boggling what some people are attracted to.

      • busterggi
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        “I have never understood the attraction for so many to assholes for leaders.”

        Simple, they want someone who truly represents them.

        • darrelle
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          Nice! I think that for a significant percentage of Trump supporters that that is truly accurate.

          But there are also people who are quite decent yet somehow allow themselves to be convinced to support the likes of Trump. My guess is cultural conditioning / peer pressure / authority figure pressure.

  7. Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I did not listen. I only heard clips on NPR this morning as part of a program they are calling “Divided States [of America]”.

    They had one Trump supporter on. About all he had to say was, “yeah, Trump did great! He was very presidential!”

    They played one clip where Trump avoided answering a question. And the guy just says, basically, “yeah, see?! He’s great!”

    When asked to name policy questions Trump has good plans for, he said, more or less, he’s going to stop immigration, because that’s what’s preventing people from getting jobs.

    Asked whether Trump was Presidential and had the temperament to be President, the guy says (I sh!t you not): “Well, coming from where I am, being an alpha male, I like him being an alpha male and commanding attention when he walks in.”

    My point is this: The Trump people have no interest in: Facts, data, policy, actual plans, etc., whatsoever. So how could they say anything besides, oh yeah, Trump is Great!

    Trump continues to have nothing of substance to say, just crotch-grabbing posturing (Il Duce would have been proud!) — and they just eat it up.

    The Trump people (and I know quite a few), yearn for the days when white men were in charge (as if they aren’t still!) and could push around all others at will, be international bullies, keep all others “in their place”, and just take whatever they want from the rest of the world*. These people are largely ignorant (certainly of history and policy) and wish for a world that never really existed.

    (* Trump, during the campaign, said that we should have “taken Iraq’s oil”. Leaving aside all the impracticalities of such an idea: We were supposed to be helping Iraq — and we are going to take the only real natural resource they have? This should really tell you all you need to know about Trump. See this analysis.)

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      He actually mentioned that supreme stupidity of taking the oil last night. The fact he keeps repeating this and can’t see what’s wrong with the idea shows what a disaster he’d be as president.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Oh, and in response to a question about improving race relations, he suggested (again) introducing “stop and frisk” nationwide and denied it had been found unconstitutional.

        • Reginald Selkirk
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          Yes, he was wrong about it not being found unconstitutional.

          There was not time for a more in-depth discussion, which should include mention of the fact that NY had stop-and-frisk and the crime rate went down, BUT the crime rate went down elsewhere too. The causality for stop-and-frisk is not at all clear.

          • enl
            Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            And continued to go down when S&F (similar to S&M, but without the mutual consent…) was terminated.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          His law and order comments were truly frightening to me. It really showed how authoritarian he is. I think Clinton missed an opportunity to ask watchers to consider what kind of world they would live in if Trump’s ideas were put into practice.

          I did like that when he talked about the nations of NATO not “paying” their share, that Clinton brought up the fact that all NATO countries stood beside America after 9/11 as part of the “an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us” response. Canada went to war in Afghanistan after 9/11 and we have experienced significant losses given the size of our population.

          It was really clear from that exchange who the adult in the room was.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Yep, I caught that too but forgot it in all the noise that followed. A complete and total failure to grasp the volume we’d be talking about even if, at the flick of a wrist, we could suck all the oil out in short order. Where would he propose to put it? No grasp of even the simplest technical detail.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          Not to mention the fact that it would be theft, and the US would then be acting just like the colonialist that many already accuse it of being. If Iraq is ever going to get back on its feet, it needs it oil revenue.

      • Lurker111
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        “Well, coming from where I am, being an alpha male, I like him being an alpha male and commanding attention when he walks in.”

        Guy sounds more like a Brave New World delta. Sheesh.

    • Mike Cracraft
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      You’re right. Trump’s supporters are now totally blinded and under his spell and will vote for him no matter how criminal he is.
      To me, the big problem is war. If Trump gets in, he’ll be in control of the deadliest military force in world history and with his
      Putinesque, authoritarian style, I’ll predict
      the US will be in another foreign war within 2 years.

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Weak minded people love a good strongman. Be it an authoritarian president or an invisible sky-daddy, stupid people feel comforted by the notion that there is someone in absolute control. Even if the controller is destructively insane and a threat to everything that actually matters.

    • Billy Bl.
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      The most worrying thing is not that Trump is where he is, but that so many people have put him there. What’s going on down there?

  8. Historian
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    It is not important as to who any person thinks “won” the debate, although it is always fun to opine. The only thing important is whether the debate moved the polls. And the movement, if any, must not be transitory.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I must say that $G pretty well nailed it. How anyone at 70 years old is suppose to prepare for a job he knows nothing about and does not begin to understand…well that’s what we saw last night for more than 1.5 hours. After what is presumed to be a debate question such as, What would you do to improve the economy? Trump goes into repeat mode and simply says 5 times in a row – I will create millions of jobs. Never a hint of how.

    I think Lester said at one point, how are you going to answer “my” people regarding the stop and frisk policy that was found to be unconstitutional. That was suppose to be a hint Donald. This guy is an African American so cool it. But no, Trump said no, this was a great policy and it really brought down the crime. No Donald, it did not. Law and Order is what is needed and then repeat that several times.

    I’m sure that most of his fans were not embarrassed last night and that is the real problem, isn’t it?

    • Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      I’m sure that most of his fans were not embarrassed last night and that is the real problem, isn’t it?


      They guy I heard this morning on NPR was just: “Yeah! He was great! Alpha male!”

      Tripling down on an imbecile.

      These are our fellow citizens and they will vote.

      • darrelle
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        Bullseye indeed.

    • Kevin
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      But is it possible some of the fence sitters are now embarrassed to be associated with Trump?

  10. Mary Sheumaker
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I thought I would watch for just a bit but I was mesmerized by the whole thing- like a train wreck I guess.

    Trump sounded pretty good in the beginning, at least for his type of politics. He was very negative, how our country is a scary disaster, jobs are being stolen/going overseas by immigrants/China/Mexico, stirring up the fear. He pushed Hill about trade pacts and their effects on manufacturing jobs. And those are complicated answers not easily explained in sound bites. A few times Hillary was droning policy a bit, that doesn’t sell well to the un-intellectual or un-informed voter.

    But then Trump kept losing his cool, arguing with the moderator for example. And he just didn’t have coherent responses. I had a hard time figuring out what he was talking about- more than once. Hillary did some attacking in return, had some good lines, and of course she actually had a plan, spoke clearly on task, and knew policy. I think she won it hands down.

    My mother is making Trump voting noises. (how much power does a president really have anyway? the president can’t actually just push the ‘button’, there are 2-3 people involved in launching a nuclear attack)

    Sigh. It’s very disappointing. She asked why I watched the debates if I was already anti-Trump. I said I wanted to see for myself and not get it interpreted by sound bites from a news outlet. I only wish she would do the same- even with my father deceased she still watches FOX news.

    • Jeff Lewis
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      (how much power does a president really have anyway? the president can’t actually just push the ‘button’, there are 2-3 people involved in launching a nuclear attack)

      I know people saying similar things. He’s just bluster and won’t really try to implement everything he’s saying. Even if he did, he’s to politically incompetent to be able to do so, and Congress would keep him in check, anyway. And then they add in something about wanting to keep the Supreme Court balanced and not become too liberal and take away the 2nd Amendment.

      Ugh, it’s frustrating talking to people sometimes.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        “He’s just bluster and won’t really try to implement everything he’s saying.”

        What’s the point in voting for a fuckwit on the presumption that he won’t manage to do what he’s said he’ll do?

        (But I’m not sure Trump-ites are capable of that level of abstract reasoning).


  11. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I watched the last half of it.
    Given that Trump and Hillary are very close according to recent polls, I was concerned that Trump would manage to briefly rise above the very low expectations of him. Doing that, paradoxically, could have given him another bump in the polls.
    But, true to form, he was classical Trump. Even grooming himself over his old feud with Rosie O’Donell. I don’t see how he could win anyone over with that performance.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Clinton needs to provoke him into a narcissistic rage in the next debate. He was close to losing it over the Iraq interview on Stern.

  12. Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    An acquaintance of mine wrote on FB at the start of the debate that Hillary had already lost as far as he was concerned because she was not wearing a flag pin. Several people “liked” it.

    An important consideration in evaluating presidential candidates if there ever was one.

    • Christopher
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Back in 2004, comedian Greg proobst(sp?) on Mock The Week said the reason George W wore a flag pin was so he could look down on his lapel to remind him which country he was in charge of.

      As for my viewing the debate, Chump talked a lot, said little, answered the question rarely, and interrupted the mediator constantly while Clinton didn’t really get her licks in when she had the chance, in my opinion…but halfway through I got bored and started messing about with some recently found slime molds, which was a better way to spend my evening anyway.

      • Kevin
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Many people really hated George W but I always though he was funny. I could never take him seriously. He knows zero about science. He needs a pin to remind him that he’s a member of the known universe, let alone what part of a planet he resides.

        • Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          He would be funny if he were my neighborhood grocer. But he was the leader of the free world.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Ah, Patriotism. The last refuge of a scoundrel, to misquote Dr Johnson.


  13. Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Clinton smashed him.

  14. John Harshman
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    It’s said that the debates are a chance for the candidates to tell us who they are. I don’t think Trump told us, but he sure showed us.

  15. darrelle
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I watched it. It was a sad commentary on the state of our political system and our press. Clinton was good, Trump was an embarrassment. He said virtually nothing of substance and answered nearly none of the questions put to him. His entire debate was reactionary misdirection, bait & switch and just straight out ignoring the question.

    His only prepared utterances were the standard barbs he has developed over the past several weeks to months, and of those that actually include claims rather than merely insults the majority are false as readily available information demonstrates.

    I’d say that the moderator did a fair job. On occasion he was unable to control Trump, but what is he supposed to do? Escalate a shouting match with him? Perhaps the moderator’s should have the ability to cut the debaters’ microphones, but I doubt that would work with Trump. It would likely lead to an even worse incident. I was surprised, and pleased, to watch Lester pretty much call Trump a liar on at least one occasion.

    Having just spoken well of the moderator let me express my disgust with the media in general. I think it is the worst possible indictment of the media that so many of its major figures treat Trump as if he is due the same respect they treat the typical politician. Their job is to fact check and make it clear when people make claims that are incorrect. Too many have either completely abandoned that or make false equivalencies as if Trump’s score on the lying sack of shit scale is not significantly different than the average. The media commentators sound more like the eye-rollingly inane sports casters covering the typical NFL game than responsible journalists taking their responsibility to accurately inform the public seriously.

    The devolution of our media is not a new thing, but has been decades in the making, and it is certainly a significant factor in how we have ended up with Trump as a deadly serious presidential possibility. As significant as the Republican party’s policies, strategy, tactics and behavior have been. And Trump is the culmination of it all. Perhaps the sheer ridiculousness of what they have helped create will inspire some change for the better in our media. There are what might be some signs of that. But it’s probably just a temporary thing.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      “Trump’s score on the lying sack of shit scale” – haha – best alliteration ever.

      • darrelle
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink


  16. Glandu
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    didn’t see it, it was not broadcasted in France, but most press here is unanimous : marginal victory for Clinton. Noone made great blunders, noone made decisive breakthroughs, and the obvious better preparation of Clinton will convince only the already convinced.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Wholly Shit! If the French press is saying stuff like “marginal victory for Clinton, no one made great blunders” (there were several), then I’d be very worried that your press is in as bad shape as ours in the US is.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        The NZ press said something similar. I only know different because I actually watched it. Most won’t have because it started at 1pm and was only on CNN, BBC World, and Fox News (all cable channels) which most people don’t watch even if they’re home at that time of day.

        • darrelle
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Not to worry. New Zealand is still one of my top picks for sanctuary if the US does go to shit. Mind, I’ll fight hard to prevent that before bailing out.

          • keith cook +/-
            Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

            The NZ Herald was mainly down on Trump and quoted commentators giving Clinton a strategic advantage by failing to get to grips with the tax question.
            According to the writer’s for the paper:

            “It was the catalyst that set Donald Trump on a collision course with defeat.”
            “Dr Hart said Clinton’s response and tactic was so effective Trump wasn’t able to recover and turned the rest of his performance “into a farce.”

            So that’s what we are reading in the Auckland daily.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        And what you are talking about regarding the Press, so-called journalism on TV today is the real problem. Besides all the zombie followers of this character, the journalist on our TVs is the key to this mess and as you said, been going down the drain for many years. Instead of an Oxford debate with any substance we get entertainment and good ratings. Nothing else matters. Money, ratings and bull shit – it is the American way. The reviews by all channels after the debate tells the story. Does CNN review anything that might be about substance, no. But where Trump steps on his, you know what, we will play that one back all night. Someone say something wild or stupid, play it again and again. This is money. This is ratings.

      • Glandu
        Posted September 28, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        Paradoxally, the most agressive newspaper against Trump was Le Figaro, the conservative newspaper owned by Mr Dassault(yeah, like in Dassault Rafale or Dassault Falcon planes).

        And most of its commenters said on the website : “Bullshit!!!! Trump will save the western world!!! Clinton is a sissy!!! She would be rolled over by China & Russia!!!”. I’m really ready to bet most of them didn’t see the debate at all.

    • Dale
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      From THE right wing paper in Canada. The National Post.

      “It was illogical, inconsistent, undisciplined and often incomprehensible. In any rational world it would disqualify Trump from consideration for an important role at any level of government, much less the most powerful political office in the world.”

      • Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Which only goes to show how irrational the world we do live in is. I am not at all confident that Trump will lose.

  17. mordacious1
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Most of the media has been portraying the Donald as a bumbling moron and many people tuned in to see him make an ass out of himself. But unless you’re someone who pays attention to the accuracy of what is said, Trump didn’t do this. With any other candidate, this debate would have been a debacle. With the low expectations of Trump though, he looked pretty good. His pants stayed up through the entire debate and he didn’t make a major faux pas. Remember, he doesn’t have to convince anyone in CA or NY, just Ohio, VA, PA, FL, etc…the swing states. If I was his handler, I’d be pretty happy.

    He won this debate, because he didn’t lose it.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      “…he didn’t make a major faux pas.”

      His immature interruptions were to me a major faux pas, showing how thin skinned and unhinged he is. And the interruptions of not paying any income taxes because “I’m smart” and taking advantage of the housing crisis because “that’s good business” were also major blunders. He looked to be one of the most un-Presidential candidates I’ve ever seen in a debate.

      I agree that his handler(s) probably aren’t too concerned though, they’re right there in the bubble with him.

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Yes, exactly.

      A lot of people still don’t get that it matter not one whit if “I’m with her” voters thought Trump did a terrible job.

      What matters is what the pro-Trump and Undecideds thought. It they are okay with his performance, and most of them seem to be either delighted with him, or at least not put off enough to declare for Hillary, then Trump did not “lose” the debate at all.

      • eric
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        My guess is rust belt undecideds liked Trump’s emphasis on their problems, educated undecideds across the country like Hilary’s grace under pressure, but the debate will only cause a temporary change in the polls and largely doesn’t matter to the Nov. 8 vote totals. (This is something of a summary of a post I wrote before I read yours.)

      • Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        In a sense, no on can lose a debate. Tribalism and the sunk costs fallacy ensure that.

    • e
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      I gave a comment on a students evaluation a few years ago: “exceeds expectations”. The student had failed the class.

  18. Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I am seeing a lot of “they both lost” assessments from reliably republican sources, like the WSJ, which must mean Hillary won.

  19. Pliny the in Between
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    This crowd should appreciate this metaphor for how the debate went.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Bulls eye!

    • Posted September 27, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Very good!

  20. Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I tuned into Fox News this morning for a bit. One talking head stated the Trump won because he didn’t appear totally insane! The other talking heads agreed. What high standards we have set for the most important job in the world. I am very sad right now.

  21. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The Donald started strong on trade, but soon ran off the paved highway while discussing his tax returns and bankruptcies. He then descended into incoherence when asked about Race and his birtherism. (Hillary’s campaign was “terrible” for supposedly investigating Obama’s Kenyan ties in 2008, but Trump did the nation — and Obama himself! — a “great service” by making him produce his birth certificate?!)

    At debate’s end, Hillary knocked Trump on his ass over the “woman” issue — shades of Frazier dropping Ali to the canvas in the 15th round of the “Fight of the Century.”

    • AdamL
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      The bit about trade that I watched on CNN made Donald seem confident and like he had ideas because he just kept saying a lot. Once you thought about what he was saying then you realise it’s all meaningless bravado and vague promises

      Not to mention that a lot of those manufacturing jobs no longer exist. The factories are automated and require fewer staff now so would there really be this plethora of jobs as trump predicts

      Hillary has a plan for future jobs in growing, important industries like renewable energy with the investment and training to see it through and none of the Trumpets seem to care

      • eric
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        I’m a proponent of free trade so I don’t particularly like the fact that both candidates are pandering to protectionists. However, while you are right about Trump offering no actual solutions, I think Ken is right in that his blustering rejection of various international trade agreements resonates with a lot of people. That was his strong point and I think it played well, even if people like you or me find his position dangerously superficial.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 27, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          Yes, Trump’s strength on trade is certainly a triumph of form over substance (since he hasn’t any).

          Hillary also staggered early when confronted with her waffle over TPP. She recovered nicely, however, to dominate the bout in the middle and late rounds.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted September 27, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

            The TPP is just a Pandora’s box of plain fucking evil, it’s a Trojan horse for all sorts of anti-democratic, pro-monopolist, anti-competitive, pro-multinational, anti-environment nastiness. It is *not* in favour of free trade except for the multinationals. Whatever Trump’s and Hilary’s reasons for opposing it, (not that Trump ever has coherent reasons for anything), I’m relieved to see that they do.


  22. johnjfitzgerald
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    It was not a debate. It was a compare and contrast event. Trump was the loser because he could not make a rational argument. He showed an ignorance and indifference to facts. He kept interrupting the moderator and Clinton. He is perhaps the worst candidate for President that I have witnessed in my life time. The only one who comes close is George Wallace in 1968. He will lose the election.


    John J. Fitzgerald

    • mordacious1
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure what you mean by “the worst candidate for President”. Does that mean he’d make the worst President or that he’s a terrible candidate? Say what you will about Wallace and Trump, they are actually successful candidates. Trump defeated 16 other candidates to get the Republican nomination. Wallace was the last 3rd party candidate to have garnered any electoral college votes, having carried 5 states and won 10 million votes.

      In other words, they’re good candidates, just horrible people (although one of Wallace’s positions was, that if he couldn’t win the Vietnam War in 90 days, he’d end it immediately. That might have saved thousands of lives.)

      • mordacious1
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        Just need to sign into WordPress on a new browser.

  23. Alpha Neil
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    This debate was a horror show and I will not be watching another. One moment that struck me was when Hillary literally choked on the word “guns” when she broached the subject. Such is the power of the NRA.

  24. sue
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I was able to tolerate watching (online) because I was simultaneously watching the Wired feed of fact-checking and commentary, which was showing up slightly before the words came out of the candidates’ mouths, thanks to the broadcast delay. It was amusing.

    What I saw in the debate was a third grader up against a grown-up. But that grown-up’s tactics weren’t necessarily following the high road: calling him “Donald” and baiting him about how much money he has/has made (the Wired commentator called the money issue Trump’s kryptonite). I wonder where all of this is going. Will the next presidential election include a mud-wrestling match in place of a debate?

    Immediately after the debate, an ABC News commentator called the spectacle “surreal.” When another political journalist was asked who did better, she thought Clinton clearly did, but she emphasized repeatedly that what she and other political pundits see is not the same as what Trump’s supporters see. And therein lies the real issue.

    I don’t think Hillary Clinton is a great candidate for president of the U.S., but I will vote for her and perhaps even work to get out the vote in a state where that effort could make a difference. The alternative is terrifying. And it is not assured that the terrifying alternative won’t happen. “Millions and millions” of people who dislike the status quo think Donald Trump’s ignorance, volatility, and inappropriate behavior are fine. Those who care about the future need to step up, hold our noses if need be, and make sure Hillary Clinton wins the election. Some of us remember the debacle of the 2000 election, decided by “hanging chads” in Florida and the conservative Supreme Court.

  25. John Harshman
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Won’t any of the swing voters be disturbed by the Donald’s inability to assemble a single complete, coherent sentence?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      No. Well, maybe some but only those who know what a complete sentence is.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        🙂 !

        or can spell ‘coherent’ …


  26. Billy Bl.
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I don’t follow the shenanigans south of the border too closely and only watched the first bit of the debate last night, but watching Trump’s behaviour, I cannot imagine how he would be received by sophisticated foreign leaders. Respect for the USA took a nosedive with the Iraq war, and a Trump victory would send it down another notch or two, or three.

  27. eric
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I had it on while I was puttering around the house doing work (and having a couple of beers). I admit, I enjoyed listening to it (that may have been the beers).

    I think both of them had specific voting constituencies that they were trying to sway, and I think both did a decent job of doing so. Trump was going after Pennsylvania-Ohio-Michigan voters. He probably won some over by saying that stopping job loss and economic downturn in the rust belt is one of his priorities. Clinton was trying to sway cross-the-country undecideds by appearing more deliberate, responsible, and reasonable than Trump, and she successfully did that. AIUI, the statistical wisdom is that the debates don’t actually influence voting behavior. However it wouldn’t surprise me if, at least in the short term, Trump picks up enough points in PA to gain the lead in that state while Clinton picks up a few more points in a scattering of other states.

  28. DrDroid
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    My summary of the “debate”:
    An incoherent, ignorant, adolescent bully tries to shout down an intelligent, well-prepared woman.

    A sizable segment of Trump’s supporters love this ignorant buffoon because it makes their own ignorance respectable:

    I cannot comprehend the idea that America will elect this man President.

  29. Carl
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I despise Clinton, but Trump is so bad I will vote for her. I don’t even need to consider Trump’s possible misogyny or racism – his ignorance, recklessness, and childish temperament decided it for me.

    Those who thought Clinton won the debate should be more wary. Less discerning voters may well think “Trump won.” In a way I have to agree – he didn’t clearly display himself as the fool I think he is, at least not as clearly as I had hoped.

  30. Posted September 27, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    The only laugh-out-loud moment was when Trump, after a long agitated introduction bragging about all his wonderful qualities, said his best quality was his temperament. There was audible laughter from the audience and I got the impression Clinton has to suppress a smile.

  31. Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    The Trump supporters that I know would not really care if the U.S. was involved in another war because they do not see it as “really affecting them personally”.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      oops. html fail.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Of course. Opinion is better than fact. Fact is just a lie and since we and Trump only deal in opinion there is no such thing as the lie. Trump was born and raised on that river de-nial. You cannot be accused of lying if you never use facts. As long as all of this makes perfect sense, you are on board with Trump.

  32. Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    I thought one of the telling moments that I haven’t seen any comments about was at the beginning when the Donald flaked his “really great” new hotel in Washington DC. It would not surprise me if the Donald is elected that he use the position largely to enrich himself and his family at the US’s (and world’s) expense.

    And the idea of someone who obviously knows so little and is so thin-skinned being in charge of nuclear weapons is really scary! Will one of the readers here from Canada or Australia advise me on how to emigrate if he’s elected?

    • mordacious1
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      “It would not surprise me if the Donald is elected that he use the position largely to enrich himself and his family at the US’s (and world’s) expense”.

      So, just like every other president (and at least one VP).

  33. frednotfaith2
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never felt inclined to watch Presidential candidate debates, particularly as I’ve gotten older and wiser enough to find pretty every Republican candidate too awful to even consider voting for. Based on what I’ve read about him and the things he has already done and said, by now there is absolutely nothing more the Trumpster could do or say that would make me even consider voting for him.

  34. Joe Dickinson
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    I was surprised and disappointed that Hillary (or the moderator) did not jump all over Trump’s ludicrous, oft-repeated statement that we should have taken the oil when we left Iraq. Listen, stupid, THE OIL IS IN THE GROUND AND WILL TAKE DECADES TO RECOVER!!! The only plausible implementation of that proposal is to have ground troops sufficient to secure and hold the oil fields, pipelines, port facilities and a fleet of tankers for several decades. That certainly involves far more troops than were there in the first place! So “taking the oil while withdrawing” is an incoherent, self-contradctory idea (i.e. an oxymoron that only could be suggested by an plain old moron).

  35. Posted September 28, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Trump: Tax evasion = Smart = Shameless Freeloader

    If one is American, I would think that the conscientious thing would be to watch the debates, and to continue to help expose in the media etc how wholly unsuited for POTUS Trump is. Many Canadians watched the debate with more than a little interest, even though it’s not our country at the edge of a precipice. We are *deeply* concerned.

  36. Posted October 5, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I believe Trump’s behavior during the debate, and all of his behavior during the campaign, is providing us a view into a high-functioning sociopath. I have done a lot of research on this topic, and have even had a psychotherapist chime in on comments. Please take a look at the article and let me know your thoughts as well. Thanks. B. Ashley https://twoifbycharmwordpress.wordpress.com/

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