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Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Clinton trumps Trump

by Tom Sullivan

If there was any red on Donald Trump's face as last night's presidential debate wore on, his orange makeup hid it well. The Republican candidate who boasts at rallies he will negotiate the best deals, great deals, tre-men-dous deals with world leaders last night could not negotiate 90 minutes against an American one. Hillary Clinton demonstrated she is a leader with knowledge, experience and intelligence that far outstrips Trump's.

Within the first half hour, dry mouth set in and Trump had to keep sipping water to stay lubricated. (It didn't make his answers any more coherent.) At one point, he seemed to wipe a bead of sweat from his upper lip. But it was the regular, audible sniffing like a cokehead that started early and continued through most of the debate that had Twitter buzzing. Likely, Donald Trump is allergic to being around strong women.

Jonathan Cohn of Huffington Post:

Trump couldn’t keep up with Clinton’s knowledge of policy, and became increasingly obstreperous when she attacked him. He interrupted her repeatedly and then, frustrated with questions from host Lester Holt, he interrupted him, too. Eventually, Trump lost focus and started to ramble. The lack of impulse control, the derogatory attitude toward women, the utter disregard for truth ― all of it came into full view.

And at that point, maybe, Trump’s style stopped seeming refreshing ― and started seeming disturbing.
Perhaps three scheduled debates is too few. The wonkish Clinton shined last night. She may be a strong leader and relentless campaigner, but has been a weak candidate. She admits her speaking skills are no match for her husband's, which are legendary. She often appears aloof and defensive. After 25 years of constant attacks, who can blame her? (A lot of people.) And she could not put away Bernie Sanders through the unexpectedly long Democratic primary. But against Donald Trump the loudmouthed reality TV star, Hillary Clinton dominated the dominator and was clearly in control. No contest:
Republican pollster Frank Luntz reported on Twitter that 16 people in his focus group thought Clinton, the Democratic nominee, came out as the winner. Only six people thought the winner was the Republican nominee Trump.

A CNN focus group of undecided Florida voters arrived at the same conclusion. Eighteen of the 20 participants chose Clinton as the winner.
Clinton hit Trump hard on his claim to renegotiate a host of postwar treaties that have defined international relations and stability over the last half century. When he attacked on her negotiation of the Iran nuclear treaty, "one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history," she looked into the camera to reassure world leaders:
CLINTON: Well, let me -- let me start by saying, words matter. Words matter when you run for president. And they really matter when you are president. And I want to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere that we have mutual defense treaties and we will honor them.

It is essential that America's word be good. And so I know that this campaign has caused some questioning and worries on the part of many leaders across the globe. I've talked with a number of them. But I want to -- on behalf of myself, and I think on behalf of a majority of the American people, say that, you know, our word is good.

It's also important that we look at the entire global situation. There's no doubt that we have other problems with Iran. But personally, I'd rather deal with the other problems having put that lid on their nuclear program than still to be facing that.

And Donald never tells you what he would do. Would he have started a war? Would he have bombed Iran? If he's going to criticize a deal that has been very successful in giving us access to Iranian facilities that we never had before, then he should tell us what his alternative would be. But it's like his plan to defeat ISIS. He says it's a secret plan, but the only secret is that he has no plan.
"Donald Trump Punches Himself Out" writes Michael Tomasky at Daily Beast:
For the first hour or so, it was kind of a rope-a-dope performance by Clinton. She let him punch himself out. For the first 20 minutes or so, some of the punches landed. On trade, and on other issues. But then Trump started to over-punch, especially in the way he interrupted Clinton repeatedly.

Then, in the closing 30 or 40 minutes, she went into him hard, on his failure to release his tax returns in particular. Trump tried to hit her hard, on ISIS, but the punches didn’t quite land.

I could go into issues. But really, the particular issues don’t matter here so much. These things are about affect. As the wise heads say, you can watch these things with the sound down. And I would imagine that if you did watch this one with the sound down, Trump looked petulant and, well, low-energy.
Mostly, Trump looked down at his podium.

Already flagging, Trump tried to argue she has "no business ability," and "doesn't have the look. She doesn't have the stamina" to be president. Clinton counterpunched:
CLINTON: Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.
When she pointed out Trump had tried to switch from looks to stamina, Clinton brought up Trump's past derogatory remarks about women's looks. Trump, the would-be president of the world's only superpower, responded by referencing his personal feud with Rosie O'Donnell, "I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her."

It was that bad.