Clinton Probably Finished Off Trump Last Night – FiveThirtyEight
For Trump, a strong start — then a killer mistake – The Washington Post
Trump Defiant After Uproar: Will Accept Result ‘if I Win’ – New York Times
A Candidate Unhinged – Trump Targets the Essence of America – der Spiegel
The 7 Minutes When Trump Blew the Third Debate – Politico
Last night, as most of you know, I watched the third and (thankfully) final presidential debate. It was the first I had watched, although I had watched one of the republican and one of the democratic debates earlier this year. My first observation, which may not be true for everyone, is that there were several things that went largely unnoticed by me until I read over the transcript this morning. I think that there are more distractions, such as facial tics, gestures, the audience, and the background that kept me from fully concentrating on the debate. Of course, it didn’t help that the kitties were wildly rampaging through the house and my granddaughter, who has Tourette’s Syndrome was ticking every few seconds while I was trying to concentrate. So, overall I would say that one gets more from the debate by simply reading the transcript than actually watching the debate live. Additionally, reading the transcript gives one a chance to stop and think about a statement, whereas if you take time to ponder something that was said during the live debate, the debate goes on and you miss a few things.
First, two thumbs-up to Chris Wallace of Fox News for an excellent job as moderator. I was familiar with the work of Chris’ father, the late Mike Wallace, best known as co-host of 60 Minutes, but I knew virtually nothing of the son other than that he works for Fox, which is a strike against him to begin with. I must say, though, I was impressed from the very beginning and he did an excellent job throughout. He wrote the questions that were asked and for the most part they were serious, relevant questions. He also managed to mostly keep the candidates in line, as best anyone could. The Washington Post called Wallace “the best moderator of the four debates.” I agree.
I have a new nickname for Donnie-boy … ‘Man of Many Faces’. This man can make more faces than a 4-year-old being forced to eat spinach! He continually contorted his face, adjusted his microphone, and sipped water whenever it was not his turn to speak. It was highly distracting, which was presumably the intent. Conversely, Hillary gave what may arguably have been her best debate performance yet. She was cool, calm, collected and above all, confident. She answered the questions intelligently, her barbs were subtle for the most part, and only once or twice did she lower herself to playing in the muck. I was proud of her.
What we saw, especially during the first half-hour, was a calmer, less bombastic Trump, but nonetheless still an unkind and highly critical candidate. Interestingly, the European media outlets, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and The Guardian all gave Trump high marks for being calmer, seeming more of a rational being. I guess when the bar is set very low, it isn’t hard to rise above it, and it would seem the standards by which he was judged were quite low. However, in the end, almost every media outlet (forget Breitbart and Fox) considered Hillary Clinton to be the winner based on one statement in particular that Trump made.
Trump’s Three Biggest Faux Pas
So what were his three most defining moments? Well, the one that has the media all abuzz this morning is his refusal to commit to accepting the election results.
Wallace: “But, sir, there is a tradition in this country — in fact, one of the prides of this country — is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign that the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you’re necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?”
Trump: “What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. OK?”
At the time, I was not terribly shocked by that statement, probably because he has been whining about a “rigged election” for several weeks now. But within an hour after the close of the debate, nearly every news story led with that particular line, and it was obvious that, at least in the eyes of the media, it was his biggest faux pas of the night.
Faux pas number 2 was when, as Hillary was attempting to answer a question, Trump broke in with “Such a nasty woman.” Again, I was not terribly surprised, but it certainly cost him points and gained empathy for Ms. Clinton.
Last but not least in top three most obnoxious ‘trump-isms’ was when, on being questioned about his plans for immigration and his proposed ‘wall’ along the Mexican-U.S. border, he responded, “And once the border is secured, at a later date, we’ll make a determination as to the rest. But we have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out.” That remark took Twitter by a storm and even campaign manager Kellyanne Conway had no defense.
Clinton: “My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it.” It was during this remark that Trump referred to her as a ‘nasty woman’.
As usual, Donald Trump made a large number of untrue statements. In the interest of time and space, I shall list a few of the more blatant falsehoods, and you can get more in-depth analyses from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker.
- “In the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby right out of the womb, just prior to the birth of the baby.” The man obviously does not know the difference between an abortion and a C-section.
- “Just like when you ran the State Department, $6 billion was missing. How do you miss $6 billion? You ran the State Department, $6 billion was either stolen. They don’t know. It’s gone, $6 billion.”
- “My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.” Turns out it’s more like $14 million.
- “She destroyed 33,000 emails criminally, criminally, after getting a subpoena from the United States Congress.”
- “If you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people that are registered to vote … that shouldn’t be registered to vote.”
- On Obamacare, “… the premiums are going up 60, 70, 80 percent.”
- “I know [Warren] Buffett took hundreds of millions of dollars.” Warren Buffet himself de-bunked this one after debate #2.
- “Hillary Clinton wanted the wall. Hillary Clinton fought for the wall in 2006 or thereabouts. Now, she never gets anything done, so naturally the wall wasn’t built. But Hillary Clinton wanted the wall.”
- “I questioned it, and I questioned NATO. Why aren’t the NATO questioned — why aren’t they paying? Because they weren’t paying. Since I did this — this was a year ago — all of a sudden, they’re paying. And I’ve been given a lot — a lot of credit for it.” Possibly his biggest lie of the night … self-deluded.
- “She’s taking in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, who probably in many cases — not probably, who are definitely in many cases, ISIS-aligned, and we now have them in our country.”
- “Those stories [of women saying Trump assaulted them] have been largely debunked. Those people — I don’t know those people. I have a feeling how they came. I believe it was her campaign that did it.”
In addition to the blatant lies, he was also big on denials. He once again, ho-hum, denied that he ever supported the Iraq War. He denied that he once mocked a reporter with a physical disability. He denies that he has ever denigrated women, saying, once again, that “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.” Even though they had been cautioned to be silent, this line got a laugh from the audience! These are all facts that we have all seen hundreds of times in the news … we have seen the video clips … how does one continue to deny that which is front and center for the entire world to see???
I realize this is a rather lengthy post, but I wanted to cover the highs and lows in a single post. Overall, it was the least contentious debate yet, and perhaps the most defining, as there was less muck to have to wade through. Nonetheless, I am glad it was the last one. Just 19 more days, folks!