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Donald Trump eschewed from usual vitriolic attack on Clinton, but that didn’t help

The debate was confrontational right from the beginning, with the Republican presidential nominee repeatedly interrupting Clinton and the host.

Written by Abhimanyu Chakravorty | New Delhi |
Updated: September 29, 2016 11:01:35 am
Donald Trump, US presidential debate, presidential debate, Hillary Clinton, Trump Clinton debate, Clinton Trump debate, CNN clinton trump, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

In the highly-anticipated US presidential debate, Republican Donald Trump eschewed from his usual vitriolic attack on rival Democrat Hillary Clinton, with the latter accusing the real estate tycoon of racism, sexism and tax avoidance. But despite that, things didn’t quite end up in his favour. A CNN/ORC snap poll said 62 percent of respondents felt Clinton won and 27 per cent believed Trump was the winner. According to the poll, 68-year-old Clinton was able to express her views more clearly than 70-year-old Trump.

Although strong at first, Trump became increasingly repetitive and more incoherent as the night wore on. Trump avoided his campaign name of ‘Crooked Hillary’ for Clinton, instead referred to her as Secretary Clinton for most part of the debate, before switching to her first name. Although he did hint at wanting to say something nasty, but stopped short. After the debate, he told reporters he thought of raising the sex scandal involving her husband and former President Bill Clinton, who was present in the audience with their daughter Chelsea. “I was going to say something extremely tough to Hillary and her family and I said I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate, it’s not nice,” he said.

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The debate was confrontational right from the beginning, with the Republican presidential nominee repeatedly interrupting Clinton and the moderator Lestor Holt. On the other hand, Clinton was more restrained and measured with her arguments, smiling at the cameras trying to capture her reaction.

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After her bout with pneumonia and a dip in opinon polls, Clinton was under pressure to perform well at the debate. But as a political veteran, and her long days of preparation seemed to pay off in front of an audience that could have easily crossed 100 million people. Clinton appeared prepared with detailed answers not only about her own policies, but also criticism of the real estate tycoon’s tax record, and his false assertions about President Barack Obama that he may not have been born in US.

READ: US presidential debate: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton deny their own words

“There’s something he’s hiding,” said Clinton, alluding to Trump’s tax returns, after he refused to release the details before tax experts conducted an audit. Clinton’s preparedness also managed to put an ill-prepared Trump on the defensive on quite a few occasions, especially when Trump started the debate by making fun of her for preparing for the debate while he blazed the campaign trail. To this, she responded with a broad grin: “I think Donald just criticised me for preparing for this debate. You know what else I am prepared for? I am prepared to be President, and I think that’s a good thing.”


Trump countered her argument: “Hillary has experience, but it’s bad experience.” Despite some sarcastic one-liners, Trump mostly found himself off-balance, especially when he questioned Clinton’ ‘stamina’. “She doesn’t have the look, she doesn’t have the stamina,” he said, to which Clinton had a well-thought out riposte: “As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents … or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

Stamina, notwithstanding, Clinton stole a march on Trump this time round.

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First published on: 27-09-2016 at 02:55:28 pm
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