Trump and Clinton finally meet to debate

Well, at last we saw Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton facing each other this morning. You can watch the debate in full via CBS and YouTube below.

My first impression was that Hilary Clinton certainly put the “health” and “stamina” issues to bed. Donald Trump started to get a little frayed as the debate wore on. Clinton carried on confidently and was as fresh as a daisy at the end. She certainly looked “presidential”.

Towards the end, Trump was getting very tied up in complex explanations. For example, his description of whether he was for or against the Iraq war was extraodinarily long and convoluted. On the question of stamina and the presidential “look” (at 1’34” below), Trump started to break up under pressure, and Clinton was very powerful on Trump’s attitude to women.

Hillary Clinton certainly seemed to best Clinton on nuclear weapons.

Trump certainly managed to nail Clinton as the candidate of the establishment/status quo.

US Political Commentator, Taegan Goddard concluded after the debate:

It wasn’t even close. Clinton crushed him.

Let’s face it: Anytime Trump has to defend questioning President Obama’s birthplace, it’s not going to be a good night for him. Trump’s answer was complete nonsense. Clinton was ready and called it “a racist lie.”

His lies continued while claiming to have opposed the Iraq war from the beginning. Although it won’t matter much, the fact checkers had a field day with Trump once again.

Towards the end of the debate, Trump claimed his “strongest asset” was his temperament. He did so while interrupting moderator Lester Holt and yelling at Clinton. It’s clear Trump doesn’t really know what “temperament” means.

In our polarized country, both candidates probably solidified their bases. But for those still undecided or those leaning towards a third party candidate, it should be clear that Clinton is the one better prepared for this moment.

Hilary Clinton had one line which I thought was excellent:

Trump just criticised me for preparing for this debate. You know what else I prepared for? Being President.

What did you think? Please tell us in the comments space below.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in LDVUSA.


  • Steve Trevethan 27th Sep '16 - 6:39am

    Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate, was better than either- realistic, compassionate and using hard data!

  • Paul Murray 27th Sep '16 - 8:10am

    The article quotes a “US political commentator” as saying “Clinton crushed him”. Here are a few other quotes from political commentators following the debate:

    “Trump lost… he had any number of moments that were the worst moments he has had in the campaign” – Rich Lowry, editor of National Review.

    “Trump bombed” – Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center of Politics.

    “The Trump balloon is likely to lose air” – Mark McKinnon, former media advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain.

    “Trump has no depth. One word: HUH?” – Mary Matalin, Republic Media strategist.

    Problem is, all those quotes followed the first Republican debate in August 2015.

    I have absolutely no idea what the effect of last night’s debate will be on the opinions of those who will call this election – let’s say people in Boulder, Colorado which is now the “tipping point” state and too close to call.We should be able to see that in upcoming polling.

    But based on previous evidence of the inability of the political establishment to fathom the success of Trump I will not be paying too much attention to the pundits.

  • I’ve never been a fan of these TV debates. They seem very stage managed and stilted. One of the worst ideas we ever imported from the US. Up there with neo-liberalism, the idea that it’s healthy to respect the political establishment, the higher education free speech crushing tyranny of identity politics,/victim culture (safe spaces, campus bans etc.), celebrity gossip and Twinkies.
    The thing about American elections is they tend to be very predictable and at this stage the Polls strongly suggest a Clinton victory.

  • Bill le Breton 27th Sep '16 - 8:57am

    Further to Paul and Glen, see this tweet from Anne Applebaum this morning:

    Anne Applebaum ‏@anneapplebaum 1h1 hour ago
    When reading news reports this morning, remember that Cameron also “won” several Brexit debates.

  • I’d like to think Hillary won however Donald Trumps task was not to make any glaring errors which could hurt him later on. In that sense Trump succeeded. There were no new bad ideas or daft quotes. Trump was by his low standards almost statesmen like. Hillary was really as most people expected her to be so if the polls really are neck and neck then unfortunately this debate may have swung a few people Trumps way… For me this was too close to call, but Hillary needed it not to be.

  • Bill;
    I’m not referring to the polls about the debate. I’m looking more at the election polls and the persistent evidence so far. If you go back to the last election there were many claims that it was neck and neck. that Obama would lose etc. American elections are not like British elections. They are by and large very predictable very early which is why the polls tend to be very accurate.
    I’m not trying to be complacent, but I think the Trump’s chances have been massively over hyped and exaggerated. I suspect it will not even be close.

  • I agree with Christian. With the polls pretty much neck and neck Clinton needed to do well. If viewers watch Trump doing OK in the debates – and they had a massive audience last night – there is a risk people will start to think he’s not so bad after all. I’ve always been a fan of Hilary, but she needs to up her game. A 70 year old man who says stupid things should be easy to beat, but – despite spending an absolute fortune on her campaign – she’s finding it hard.

  • Neither is a choice anyone, in normal times, would prefer to make. But Hillary is the embodiment of the corrupt elite establishment. Angry disenfranchised Americans unfortunately only have Trump to make their (non-violent), voice heard. It has to be Trump, because they will likely never get another (non-violent), chance at a much needed revolution whose time has come.

    This is their ‘Brexit moment’, they must take it.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th Sep '16 - 12:32pm

    I mainly just read the BBC liveblog but I couldn’t believe Trump repeated his “we should have taken Iraq’s oil” line. How can he lecture Clinton on terrorism when he is advocating the west stealing people’s oil ‘in case it falls into the wrong hands’. It’s the attitude of a colonialist – they can’t be trusted to look after themselves so we should take charge!

  • You should have to be so much more than a better choice than Donald Trump to become president and, hopefully, when Hilary wins she and her party will have answer what has lead to that outcome.

  • Ruth Bright 27th Sep '16 - 5:11pm

    Quote of the night. Donald Trump on Israel/Palestine: “I’ve met Bibi Netanyahu and he is not a happy camper”.

  • Tsar Nicholas 27th Sep '16 - 5:50pm

    The most significant exhange of the evening was Trump’s condemnation of a switch in US policy to one of a nuclear first strike on Russia. That would be the end, he said. Hillary dodged the question, because she favours a policy of war – look at all the ones she has supported or started.

    As for Joe Otten’s remark that he has seen no evidence of Clinton corruption, I suggest he go to youtube and take a look at the documentary about the Clinton Foundation – It’s called “Clinton Cash.”

  • John Mitchell 27th Sep '16 - 6:17pm

    Watching the debate last night I thought that Donald Trump ‘won’ the debate or looked better after it. He was very successful in tying Bill Clinton’s administration with the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA, as he has repeatedly and correctly. The 200,000 jobs that were alleged to be created every year according to Clinton has not come true. Furthermore, the agreement is heightening America’s trading deficit.

    Trump also mentioned Ohio and Michigan more than once and the affect of NAFTA in those states and others is profound for industry. All that Clinton could come back with was political spiel. As Trump said, Clinton’s been doing this for most of her life and what has changed? Under Bill Clinton and then George W. Bush things have gotten worse and President Obama hasn’t changed all that much either. Do I believe Donald Trump will change the USA radically? He might, but likely not in good ways with his nationalistic sentiment (although Clinton is just as bad with her own nationalism minus the casual racism).

    Ultimately though Trump is talking about issues that have been ignored by politicians for decades and nothing has changed. His uniqueness in addition to his ability to tell lies without reprisal which is mixed with his brand of antagonism and populism may just win him the presidency. Hillary Clinton is a profoundly uninspiring ‘cardboard cutout’ candidate who believes she has a ‘right’ to be president.

    Both Clinton and Trump are compulsive liars. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president (Jill Stein is not on the ballot in all 50 states) should not have been shut out of the debate but with that’s the way the Commission on Presidential Debates operates which features a former Republican National Committee chair and a former Clinton White House Press Secretary. They’re not interested in widening the debate, obviously, with the two main candidates having the biggest negatives in any presidential election ever.

    It’s not a good choice. It’s the case of an idiot or a fraud.

  • Andrew McCaig 27th Sep '16 - 8:18pm

    Tsar Nicholas,

    Can you list the wars Hillary has started, please??

  • Andrew McCaig 27th Sep '16 - 8:35pm

    Clinton Cash is not a “documentary” BTW.. It is not exactly impartial, with the film funded by the CEO of the Trump campaign!

  • Tsar Nicholas 28th Sep '16 - 4:43am

    @Simon Shaw – (1) I didn’t say that tehr ehas been a shift but the Obama administration is considering it. Putting ABMs in Romania and Poland is consistent with such a shift. (2) The remarks I am referring to were made during the last 15 minutes or so of the debate if you want to check.

    @Andrew McCaig Hillary started the wars in Libya and Syria. Gaddafi offfered to leave power but the Americans turned down his offer. Thw Wiieaks emails cache show that the American decision to go to war coincided with payments from Gulf Cooperation Council countries (who ahted teh secular nature of Gaddafi’s Libya) to the Clinton Foundation.

    The Wikileaks documents demonstrate numerous instances of pay-to-play by donors domestic and foreign. People paid for ambassadorships and other offices. Clinton Cash only touched the tip of the iceberg. Clinton Cash was based on a book that was not written by Trump’s campaign chief.

  • Tsar Nicholas 28th Sep '16 - 11:58am


    Thank you for your contribution to the discussion. Trump’s response to the question contained the following paragraph:

    “I looked the other night. I was seeing B-52s, they’re old enough that your father, your grandfather could be flying them. We are not — we are not keeping up with other countries. I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike.”

    Note that last sentence.

  • Tsar Nicholas 28th Sep '16 - 5:54pm

    @Paul Walter

    The Clinton email cache on shows that Hillary wanted regime change in Syria before there was any violence. The policy of supporting the rebels with arms and other aid that begun under her tenure at State has continued under Kerry. The most flagrant example of this was the one hour attack by US planes on Syrian Army positions on 17th September 2016 which allowed the ISIS troops they were confronting to mount a successful attack.

    The emails also show that the biggest contributors to the Clinton Foundation were the Gulf regimes and Saudi Arabia, all well-known opponents of secular Arab regimes like Syria. These monstrous regimes have a power and influence over US policy that is beyond alarming. They have most recently forced President Obama to veto a bill permitting the families of the 9/11 victims from suing the Riyadh regime. Hopefuly, Congress will override that veto but don’t underestimate the power of saudi money to corrupt.

    The policy of using Wahhabists to fight America’s wars is a longstanding one and can be traced back (at least) to Zbigniew Bzrezinzki and Jimmy Carter financing and arming the Afghan Mujahideen. What amazes me is how, despite all the historical evidence, people still believe that the US and the head choppers are on opposing sides.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 29th Sep '16 - 12:58am

    I cannot fathom the loathing of Clinton anymore than the liking of Trump. I agree with, and am keen on, the comments of Paul, Eddie, Ruth and Joe, above,and to all those neo Assangists who keep telling us how corrupt and warmongering she is , and , would you believe she has even been accused of witchcraft, I say , prove it , in a way twenty years of vitriolic smears and investigations have not !

    Hillary Clinton is , for me , a clever , dedicated, eloquent , attractive,impressive , candidate, one of the most qualified ever to run for President. She has negative qualities too, I know it is so, faced with Trump, as in the debate, I barely think of anything bad about her, or hardly care, choosing to concentrate on how keen I am for her to beat Trump , and become the President I think she can be, which is a good one .

  • The idea that people like Donald Trump and for that matter Nigel Farage aren’t part of ‘the establishment’ is laughable!

  • Tsar Nicholas 29th Sep '16 - 9:38am

    @Lorenzo Chernin

    Our party was silent about the atrocity committed against Libya because Nick Clegg was deputy prime minister. Our silence then does not excuse our silence now. We know that the pressure for a war against Libya came from Washington. We know that the pressure on Obama came from Hillary Clinton. Does the death toll of tens of thousands unnecesarily killed hint at the reason for loathing Hillary? Or is it only the victims of Republican presidents who count? Are we any different from those Labour supporters who gave Blair a free pass on his wars?

  • Robert suggests :
    “The idea that people like Donald Trump and for that matter Nigel Farage aren’t part of ‘the establishment’ is laughable!”

    Sometimes it’s easier to see ‘the establishment’,.. by where they have left their fingerprints.? And for sure the establishment has its fingerprints all over the faux democracy, that calls itself ‘Centrism’.
    People have seen through the ‘centrist game’, and are rejecting it in droves, because they now know that it is a method purposely designed, to give the illusion of political (democratic) choice, when in fact its outcome is no more than a ‘Buggins turn’, between a Centrist ‘red’ Praetorian, and a Centrist ‘blue’ Praetorian. To ‘the establishment’, it doesn’t matter whether a red or blue Praetorian wins the vote,.. all they care about is that their interests, wealth, and superiority, is protected by a politically Centrist Praetorian, who is in their pocket.?

    If I’m wrong,.. how do you explain the oddity, that both,.. Team (far left) Corbyn,.. and Team (far right) Farage,… ‘gel’ with the disenfranchised and ‘left behind’, but,… Team Liberal Centrists,.. do not.?
    It’s because the establishment inspired *Centrist game*, is ‘busted’.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 30th Sep '16 - 12:18am

    Tsar Nicholas
    I take much the same view as my colleague, Mark Wright , herein, the idea that the West,Sarkozy, France, the U.S. , Obama , the uk, Cameron, Clegg, all your so called usual suspects, started what took place in Libya , is a non starter!

    Gaddafi was a monster, an enemy of everything decent , after Lockerbie we would have been correct to have got him in the Hague, not an argument for war , but , unlike Iraq, what other countries took part in was already happening on the ground , be against it but do stop painting Hillary Clinton as a war criminal, or ghastly, I do not even think that appropriate of Blair , who I went off so much I went off his party and joined this one ! Unlike Blair , though , Clinton had nothing like as much responsibility , and for something nothing like as wrong! If wrong at all. These things are a difficult and nuanced topic for discussion , not for blame pointing at the people not the monsters, whether they made the correct judgement call or did not !

    If associations are so bad, why do you call yourself , Tsar Nicholas ?! Only kidding !

  • The poster calling himself “Tsar Nicholas” has a well-known history of engaging in acrobatic apologetics for the Putin régime in Russia, denying, minimizing, or otherwise excusing its suppression and murder of dissidents, its total control of the media, its anti-gay, masculinist, and in other respects extremely right-wing social agenda, and its reckless expansionism, militarism, and imperialism, observable in Georgia, Ukraine, the Baltic region, and now Syria.

    Donald J. Trump, the American presidential candidate, has developed close ties to the Putin régime through a number of his current and former advisors, has deleted Russo-skeptical language from his party’s platform, has expressed admiration for Putin personally, and has encouraged the Russians to engage in espionage against his political opponents.

    It therefore comes as no surprise whatsoever that “Tsar Nicholas” is defending Trump. It is all part of the same propaganda effort.

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