Third Clinton-Trump debate filled with policy and attacks

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Source: Politico

With only three weeks to Election Day, the third presidential debate was the most placid of the confrontations between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The debate on Wednesday evening, Oct. 19, 2016, was held at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. Except a few zingers on either side, attacks were to a minimal as policy took center stage. As The Hill noted “gun rights, abortion, entitlements, immigration and foreign policy” were discussed in a campaign where policy has taken a back burner to insults and scandals.

Clinton changed her game aiming to finish off Trump in the eyes of the voters by attacking his weaknesses, rather than play it safe as she did in the previous debates. The Democratic nominee hammered Trump on being a choke artist, his relationship with Russia, past and present positions and especially his recent scandals with women attempting to show him up as both racist and sexist. Clinton wanted to make sure that the voters know she is the only candidate prepared for the presidency.

Clinton is leading in the polls by wide margins and is looking to expand the electoral map in her favor and win big. Clinton has been campaigning in Georgia, Alaska and Utah, who traditionally vote Republican. The Democratic nominee is looking for a legitimate mandate for her agenda to counter the Republicans. She is also seeking to help the Democrats recapture the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Pundits agree Trump has his best performance of all the debates, but trailing in the polls both nationally and in battleground states Trump needed a game changer and memorably strong performance he did not accomplish that. The nominee stayed on the campaign and Republican message on the issues but also in his attacks on Clinton’s weaknesses; the private email server she used as Secretary of State, Clinton Foundation’s foreign donations and WikiLeaks release of John Podesta campaign emails.

After the first 30 minutes, Trump reverted to some of his old tricks, interrupting Clinton and the moderator and making some side remarks. Trump needed to act presidential because voters are most concerned about his temperament; instead, he fell into Clinton’s traps. Trump made one huge mistake, and that was all anyone remembered from the debate in answering a question about his remarks accusing a rigged election he refused to agree that he would concede the election if he loses. His comments countered his campaigns and angered Republicans. The debate was nasty, with the shaking hand’s protocol omitted before or after the debate, but was not nearly as bad as the two previous debates.

Here are some of the best lines of the third and final debate night of the 2016 campaign:

Trump’s third response about whether he wants Roe v. Wade, abortion overturned by the Supreme Court:

“Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that’s really what’s going to be — that will happen. And that’ll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this: It will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination.”

Trump on late term abortion:

“I think it’s terrible, if you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.”

Trump on criminals and illegal immigration:

“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.”

Clinton on Trump not bringing up his infamous border wall when he met with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto in August:

“When it comes to the wall that Donald talks about building, he went to Mexico. He had a meeting with the Mexican president. Didn’t even raise it. He choked,and then got into a Twitter war because the Mexican president said, ‘we’re not paying for that wall.’”

Clinton on WikiLeaks releasing campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails:

“You are very clearly quoting from WikiLeaks and what’s really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans.”

Trump responding about Clinton claiming in her paid Wall Street speeches released by WikiLeaks that she supported “a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders”:

“That was a great pivot off the fact that she wants open borders, OK?”

Clinton about Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin; Russia is believed to have hacked Podesta’s email account for WikiLeaks:

“[Russian President Vladimir Putin would] rather have a puppet as president of the United States.”

Trump’s response to Russia and Putin:

“No puppet, no puppet… You’re the puppet…. I never met Putin. This is not my best friend. But if the United States got along with Russia, wouldn’t be so bad.”

Trump on the nearly ten allegations by women that he behaved sexually inappropriate with them:

“I didn’t even apologize to my wife who is sitting right here because I didn’t do anything. I didn’t know any of these women. I didn’t see these women. These women, the woman on the plane, I think they want either fame or her campaign did it and I think it’s her campaign.”

Trump’s response to Clinton as she discussed raising taxes on the wealthy. Clinton also took a jab at the GOP nominee for using a loophole that let him out of paying federal taxes for 18 years:

“Such a nasty woman.”

Clinton responding to Trump about lacking respect for women and sexist rhetoric:

“Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don’t think there is a woman anywhere who doesn’t know what that feels like.”

Trump counter responding to his treatment of women:

“Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”

Clinton after Trump attacked the Clinton Foundation f or accepting foreign donations from countries that restrict human rights:

“I’d be happy to compare what we do with the Trump Foundation which took money from other people and bought a six-foot portrait of Donald. I mean, who does that?”

Trump’s response of moderator Chris Wallace question about his comments on a rigged election:

Wallace: “I want to ask you here on this stage tonight do, you make the same commitment that you will absolutely, sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?”

Trump: “I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now…. What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?”

Clinton commenting on Trump’s response about accepting the election results referring to his Emmy nominations for his reality TV show “The Apprentice”:

Clinton: “Well, Chris, let me respond to that because that’s horrifying…. There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged. This is a mind-set. This is how Donald thinks. And it’s funny, but it’s also really troubling.”

Trump: “Should have gotten it.”

Clinton on Trump’s plan to vet Syrian refugees because they could be terrorists:

“The killer of the dozens of people at the nightclub in Orlando, the Pulse nightclub, was born in Queens, the same place Donald was born.”

Trump on Obama Administration’s foreign policy and the civil war in Syria:

“It’s a catastrophe. Have you seen it? Have you seen it? Have you seen what’s happened to Aleppo?”

Trump on trade deals that increased the national debt:

“We’ve had people that are political hacks making the biggest deals in the world.”

Trump telling Clinton she is all talk and no action:

“The problem is, you talk, but you don’t get anything done, Hillary. You don’t.”

Clinton responding by contrasting her and Trump’s preparedness and accomplishments to become president:

“You know, back in the 1970s, I worked for the Children’s Defense Fund, and I was taking on discrimination against African-American kids in schools. He was getting sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination in his apartment buildings. In the 1980s, I was working to reform the schools in Arkansas. He was borrowing $14 million from his father to start his businesses. In the 1990s, I went to Beijing and I said women’s rights are human rights. He insulted a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, called her an eating machine. And on the day when I was in the Situation Room, monitoring the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was hosting the ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’”

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms Goodman is an expert in presidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University) is a Professional Librarian (CBPQ) & historian. Former editor @ History News Network & reporter @

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