Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Live-blogging the last presidential debate of 2016

I'll be live-blogging the debate here.

As usual, I'll be doing this without a pause/rewind button, so any quotes might not be verbatim, but I'll try to keep them reasonably accurate, and I might go back and correct some of them later.

You can find more live-blogging at National Review and TPM.

9:06 — The first question is about the Supreme Court. Hillary Clinton is asked whether the Constitution is a "flexible, living document." She says we need a Supreme Court to "stand up" for women's rights by not reversing Roe v. Wade, "stand up" for gay rights by not reversing marriage equality, and "say no to Citizens United," which has "undermined the election system in our country."

9:08 — Donald Trump criticizes Justice Ginsburg for criticizing him. As for the Constitution, he predictably emphasizes the Second Amendment. He'd nominate a Justice with a "conservative bent," who's "pro-life," who'll interpret "the Constitution the way it was meant to be" (note the past tense, implying it's not a "living document").

9:11 — The moderator, Chris Wallace, asks Clinton "what's wrong" with DC v. Heller, the Supreme Court decision that said individuals have a right to bear arms, which can be "reasonably limited." She admits that she disagreed with the specific outcome in Heller, but she is in favor of the Second Amendment.

9:13 — Trump says Clinton was "extremely angry" about the "well-crafted" decision in Heller, and "people who believe in the Second Amendment" were upset with her. Clinton notes that Trump is "strongly supported by the NRA," and Trump wonders if she was being "sarcastic" about that.

9:15 — Trump is asked if he wants to see Roe v. Wade overruled. He initially dodges the question by saying that if it's overruled, the abortion issue will be decided by the states. But then he admits that he'd nominate Justices who'd overrule Roe.

9:18 — Clinton is asked why she "voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion." She starts out legalistically, by talking about the holding of Roe, but then gets more emotional, by saying late-term abortions are "often the most heart-breaking, painful decisions."

9:19 — Trump gives a graphic description of a partial-birth abortion being performed on the day before the birth was scheduled. Clinton responds: "Using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate." She strikes a rare libertarian note by talking about how "the government" shouldn't make this decision — she's been to countries where the government forced women to get abortions (China), or to give birth.

9:22 — On immigration, Trump says: "We have some bad hombres here!" "We're getting the drugs; they're getting the cash."

9:24 — Clinton says Trump has said, as recently as a few weeks ago, that "every undocumented person would be subject to deportation," which "would rip our country apart." But she'd deport "any violent person."

9:25 — Clinton says that when Trump met with the President of Mexico, he "choked," then "got into a Twitter war." Trump calls it a "very good meeting" — "very nice man."

9:26 — Trump: "Hillary Clinton fought for the wall in 2006. She never gets anything done, so naturally the wall wasn't built." Clinton says she voted for "border security," but Trump interjects that this included "a wall." Clinton comes back with another hypocrisy charge: Trump "exploited undocumented workers."

9:29 — Chris Wallace quotes a leak from Wikileaks saying that she said in a speech, for which she was paid $225,000, that her "dream" is an "open market" with "open borders." Clinton initially says something about how energy is a global market, and then shifts to focusing on Russia's role in the leak — Trump "encouraged espionage against our people." Trump: "That was a great pivot off the fact that she wants open borders. . . . People are going to pour in from Syria."

9:32 — Trump, who seems to be on top of his game (apparently benefiting from his increased preparation before this debate), says: "I don't know Putin. He said nice things about me. If we got along well, that would be great." But Clinton says Putin's "choice in this election is clear." Trump retorts: "Putin has outsmarted her and Obama at every step of the way!" When Clinton says Putin wants Trump installed as a puppet, Trump shouts at Clinton: "No puppet! You're the puppet!"

9:35 — Clinton excoriates Trump for his "cavalier" statements about nuclear weapons, quoting him as saying, "If we have them, why don't we use them," which is "terrifying." "When the president gives the order" to launch nukes, "it must be followed." Trump responds harshly, by saying Clinton has "been proven to be a liar" — "this is just another lie."

9:38 — Both candidates our asked why their economic plan "will create more jobs and growth," and their opponent's won't. Clinton reels off her same economic proposals she's listed in the previous debates. "We're going to go where the money is," i.e. tax the wealthy, because "most of the gains have been at the top. In contrast, Trump would give "the biggest tax breaks ever" to the wealthy and corporations, which would be "trickle-down economics on steroids."

9:40 — Trump says Clinton's plan would "double your taxes," and "President Obama's regime" has "doubled our national debt." As for his own plan, Trump emphasizes how we're losing out to other countries, like Japan, and how he'd somehow cause "off-shored" money to come back to the US.

9:44 — Chris Wallace asks Clinton if her plan is just "more of the Obama stimulus," which "led to the slowest GDP growth since 1949." Trump interjects: "Correct!" After an awkward pause, Wallace dryly responds:  "Thank you, sir."

9:46 — Wallace tells Trump: "Even conservative economists who have looked at your plan have said the numbers don't add up" — his projections on economic growth and energy are "unrealistic." Trump doesn't defend the specifics of his plan, but makes broad statements about how China's growth has been much better than America's.

9:50 — Trump says Clinton "totally lied" in an earlier debate when she denied calling TPP "the gold standard." Clinton comes back: "The Trump hotel right here in Las Vegas is made of Chinese steel. So he goes around with crocodile tears . . ." Trump tries to turn the tables by blaming this on the lack of laws against it: "Make it impossible to do that! I wouldn't mind!" Trump concedes: "The one thing you have over me is more experience — but it's bad experience." Clinton seizes on the opportunity to recount her "30 years of experience" with what Trump was doing at the time, including calling Miss Universe "an eating machine."

9:52 — Trump somehow brings the topic around to foreign policy (which the moderator hasn't raised): "She gave us ISIS, which came out of a yuge vacuum."

9:53 — Wallace asks Trump why so many women have recently come forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct, and asks Clinton about the fact that even worse allegations have been made against her husband. Trump says: "Those stories have been largely debunked. . . . I have a feeling it was her campaign that did it."

9:55 — Clinton starts out not by answering Wallace's question about Bill Clinton, but by attacking Trump: "Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger."

9:57 — Trump: "Nobody has more respect for women than I do." The audience laughs. Trump changes the subject to Clinton's emails, without pointing out that she didn't answer the question about Bill Clinton.

9:59 — Clinton, her voice breaking, talks about Trump's "dark and . . . dangerous vision of our country, where he incites violence . . . where people are pulling and pushing at his rallies."

10:00 — Clinton is asked whether she really kept her pledge to avoid "even the appearance of impropriety" with respect to the Clinton Foundation, when donors seem to have gotten "special access" to the State Department. She said the Clinton Foundation allowed millions of people with HIV/AIDS to get treatment, but Wallace cuts off, pointing out that that hasn't answered the question about the "pay to play" allegations. When Clinton starts responding (though I don't think she ever answered the question about the Clinton Foundation), Trump aggressively interrupts, saying: "It's a criminal enterprise! . . . These are people who push gays off buildings and treat women horribly, yet you take their money."

10:03 — Clinton points out that the Trump Foundation spent some of its funds on "a 6-foot-tall portrait of Donald. Who does that?!" Trump insists that 100% of the Trump Foundation's funds go to charity, and that he gets nothing except "the right to put up an American flag." Clinton, smiling at the wide-open opportunity he's handed her, says: "Of course, there's no way to know whether any of that is true, because he hasn't released his tax returns!"

10:07 — Trump is asked if he'll "make a commitment that [he] will absolutely accept the results of this election." Trump refuses to make any pledge: "I'll look at it at the time. . . . Millions of people are registered to vote who shouldn't be able to vote." Wallace bears down on our tradition of "peaceful transfers of power," no matter how fought the election is, but Trump won't budge: "I'll keep you in suspense!"

10:10 — Clinton points out that Trump has a history of calling things "rigged" when they go against him — even when he lost the Emmys 3 years in a row. Trump: "Should have gotten it!"

10:12 — Wallace asks if either candidate would use ground troops in Mosul, Iraq, if ISIS leaves. Clinton apparently supports continuing Obama's policies, but is against ground troops. Trump makes his usual point that we shouldn't announce our military operations in advance, then brings up Obama's infamous "red line" comment about Syria and chemical weapons.

10:19 — Wallace asks Trump about the fact that in the last debate, he said "several things that were not true" about Aleppo, Syria. I missed the specific inaccuracies, but Trump doesn't admit to any of them. Instead, he focuses on Clinton: "If she had done nothing, we'd be in much better shape!"

10:24 — When Clinton talks about how she'd have "thorough vetting" of Syrian refugees, Trump squints and slowly nods, which seems to be a subconscious mistake.

10:26 — Next topic is the national debate. Wallace asks: "Why are you both of you ignoring this problem?" After Trump answers, Clinton points out that Trump "has been criticizing our government for decades. "I wonder when he thought America was great!"

10:31 — Trump is asked if he'd consider a "grand bargain on entitlements" — Social Security and Medicare. He dodges the question by talking about how his other policies would help the economy: tax cuts and repealing Obamacare. Clinton says repealing Obamacare would make the problem worse. Trump: "Your husband disagrees with you!"

10:34 — In the last segment of the last debate, Wallace says the candidates didn't agree to a "closing statement," but he goes ahead and asks each of them for a 1-minute statement of why we should vote for them. Clinton makes her usual points about "rising incomes" and appealing to all Americans. Trump says his usual points about veterans (who are "treated worse than illegal immigrants"), police, "the inner cities," etc.

10:37 — At the end, Clinton goes over to shake the moderator's hand, and then Trump shakes the moderator's hand too. The candidates don't shake each others' hands.

Winner: Chris Wallace


Yancey Ward said...

Finally something approaching an actual debate. A credit to Chris Wallace if nothing else. Probably an indication Wallace is about twice as smart as either candidate and three times as smart as all the other moderators combined.

Sammy Finkelman said...

>> Wallace asks Trump about the fact that in the last debate, he said "several things that were not true" about Aleppo, Syria. I missed the specific inaccuracies

Wallace actuyally cited only one - taht Trump had said taht aleppo had bascally fallen. I never understood that to mean taht Trump was claiming it had already fallen, but rather that it was lost and wass going to be conquered by the government. Wa;;ace said theer were still 250,000 people theer, and Trump said it was terrible. After that, Trump was agreeing with Chris wallace on that point, eeven saying "OK, so it hasn't fallen."

He was trying to argue, maybe, that if the city was ruined, it was the same thing as falle.

Trump then wandered all pver the place.