The big debate is here at last. Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump face off in the first General Election Presidential debate of 2016 at Hofstra University in Long Island, NY.
Tonight’s debate is scheduled to last 90 minutes (commercial-free), broken up into six segments moderated by Lester Holt of NBC News (Holt is a registered Republican, BTW; Trump falsely claimed last week that Holt is a Democrat).
We’ll be live-blogging what could be the most-watched television event in American history, so get your eyeballs ready for the Colorado Pols Debate Diary. For details on the format and rules tonight, check out this guide from the New York Times.
*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.
The spin room may not be terribly efficient tonight. Clinton absolutely destroyed Trump in this debate, sounding intelligent, prepared, and even-tempered. No reasonable person who watched this debate could possibly make a case otherwise.
Trump, on the other hand, was easily baited by Clinton into talking about issues that are not good for him. He offered very little substantial information in any of his answers and failed to suppress his temper, while also doubling-down on troublesome topics such as the birther issue and his tax returns. Clinton was masterful in using Trump’s own words against him and baiting Trump into diving down into weird political rabbit holes.
Holt: “Will you accept the outcome of this race?”
Clinton says yes, that she respects Democracy and that “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”
Trump declines to say whether or not he will accept the will of the voters and instead goes on a rant about illegal immigration.
Finally, Trump says, “If she wins, I will absolutely support her.”
Holt asks Trump about his quote that she doesn’t “have a Presidential look.”
Trump says that he was talking about her stamina. Holt cuts in and says that this is not what Trump said. Trump talks over Holt, but the damage has been done.
Clinton hits back by saying that Trump can talk about stamina when he has traveled to 112 countries, negotiated peace treaties and cease-fire agreements, and testified 11 hours in front of a Congressional committee.
Clinton says Trump tried to switch topics from criticizing Clinton’s appearance because he doesn’t want to talk about all of the terrible things he has said about women. Trump tries half-heartedly to deny these claims, but it’s obvious he doesn’t have a response.
Trump did just say that nobody would disagree with him about saying nasty things about comedian Rosie O’Donnell.
Trump then decries Clinton running negative ads against him. Says he doesn’t deserve it.
Clinton: “Let me say that words matter. Words matter when you run for President, and let me reassure our allies” that we will continue to stand with them. Very strong from Clinton.
“Donald never tells you what he would do [on Iran]. Would he cause a war? Would he bomb Iran? It’s like his plan to defeat ISIS — he says it is a secret plan, but the only thing that is secret is that there is no plan.”
Trump is so completely overmatched here that it’s impossible to suggest that anybody watching this debate might seriously argue that Trump won this debate. It’s not even close.
Holt: “Do you support the current U.S. policy on first-use for nuclear weapons?”
Trump responds with something about B-52 airplanes being too old. Trump says he would certainly not support a “first strike”…then he immediately says that he would not rule anything out. Trump is debating himself now.
Trump again says that other countries should pay the United States for our military support. If he’s trying to make a point, Holt can’t figure it out and is trying to get Trump to move along.
Clinton hammering Trump for saying repeatedly that he “doesn’t care” if other countries develop nuclear weapons.
Trump looks defeated and dejected right now. He is absolutely getting his ass handed to him by Clinton.
Trump says that his temperament is his biggest strength, and that he has a better temperament than Clinton.
Clinton can’t help but smile. This is an absolute disaster for Trump; he wouldn’t have sounded more unbelievable if he had tried to make a case that his hair is completely natural.
“I did not support the War in Iraq,” says Trump. “That is a mainstream media [lie].”
“The record shows otherwise,” says Holt.
This debate has gone so far off the rails for Trump that he should just cause a distraction and make a run for his limousine.
For some reason, Trump keeps talking about all of these numerous conversations he supposedly has had with Sean Hannity. No idea why this is relevant.