Calling Sean Hannity! Sean Hannity are you there?
Last night’s Presidential Debate showdown was an evisceration. For the first time Donald Trump met a match he couldn’t talk over and bully into a series of ad-worthy gaffes. Secretary Clinton was strong, composed, knowledgeable, and showed she even had a humorous side as she laughed again and again at Trump’s misstatements and total lack of reality.
She did exactly what she needed to do and she did it well. She lined the trap and he fell right into it, face first.
For most of the debate Clinton was on the offensive. Not only did she challenge him on his business record, failure to release his taxes and penchant for avoiding the truth, but she went after him on issues politicians usually refrain from addressing during debates – race and sexism.
Clinton outright accused him of racism, something you rarely see on a live debate stage. “He has a long record of engaging in racist behavior,” Clinton said, during a back and forth on Trump’s well-documented role in the birtherism conspiracy about America’s first black president as well as his refusal to rent to blacks in the 1970s. Honestly, it was a moment when Trump could put the stain of birtherism to rest and ease some of his more wavering supporters; and I held my breath waiting for his response. All he had to do was admit wrongdoing and apologize. Instead, he claimed that he did President Obama a favor by forcing him to release his birth certificate. And when pressed by Holt if there was anything Trump wished to say to the African-American community about racial tensions and healing, a resounding “I have nothing,” was met with collective silence from voters and a muffled groan by his campaign team.
As the debate moved into the hour mark it was clear that Trump was flailing and Clinton was gaining steam. The more he huffed and puffed the more relaxed and in control Clinton became. His weaknesses in a lack of policy proposals and failure to disclose tax returns were compounded by his threats to renege on international trade and security deals with our allies, constant interruptions, incomplete sentences and undecipherable statements, and his complete disregard for the moderate and his opponent.
On his refusal to release his tax returns, he couldn’t help himself when Clinton prefaced, “”Maybe he is not as rich as he says he is. Maybe he is not as charitable as he claims to be… Maybe he doesn’t want the American people to know that he has paid nothing in federal taxes. There is something he is hiding.” When she claimed that maybe they would show that he has paid zero federal taxes Trump took the bait.
“That makes me smart,” he interjected as Clinton made the point: “Zero. That’s zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health.”
Clinton, in contrast, talked specifics as she mentioned her plan to tackle ISIS both at home and abroad with the help from American Muslim communities and foreign nations, reinvigorate the middle class with an increase in the federal minimum wage and leave and sick days for blue collar workers, stop for profit prisons, and work to build up green energy while reinforcing our international trade deals. She mentioned her release of nearly 40 years’ worth of tax returns and that she understands the plight of the working class growing up with a father who was a small business owner – unlike Trump’s rich father who gave him a “small loan” of $14 million.
One of the strongest audience reaction came near the end when Clinton became the ultimate aggressor as she called him out for his treatment of women. “This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs,” she affirmed. He has called “pregnancy and inconvenience” and a She reminded voters that Trump once called former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping”.
More than anything, last night was a Clinton referendum on Trump’s truthfulness, or lack thereof, throughout the campaign. By the end of the night Trump had told a whopping 16 lies versus Clinton’s 0.
And finally, in one of the debates more memorable moments Trump tried to take a swipe at Clinton’s time off the past two weeks while she recuperated from pneumonia and prepared for the debate. “You decided to stay home and that’s okay,” Trump mocked.
“I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate,” Clinton said. “And yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.”
Yes Secretary, yes it is.