Mon. Sept. 26,
2016 at Hoftstra University in Hempstead, NY.
first presidential debate was originally
scheduled to be held at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
However, with 68 days to go the University informed the CPD that it
would not be able to host the debate. Wright State President
David R. Hopkins made the announcement
on July 19 citing costs and security concerns. Hofstra
alternate site, became the venue.
9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern time without commercial
debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15
minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and
announced at least one week before the debate.
Subject to possible changes because of news developments, the topics
for the September 26 debate are as follows, not necessarily to be
brought up in this order:
- America's Direction
- Achieving Prosperity
- Securing America
moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each
candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have
an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator
will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion
of the topic.
Expectations were that this first presidential debate would have the
largest audience of any American presidential debate, with talk that it
might reach 100 million. A Univision
press release declared the showdown in Hempstead is "the most
anticipated presidential debate in recent U.S. history."
and a wealth of experience working in her favor, Hillary Clinton
has no excuse not to turn in a near-flawless performance." One challenge for
Clinton was to avoid coming
across as pedantic, lecturing or condescending (see Al Gore).
For Trump, the expectations were lower. Throughout the campaign
has generally shown a weak command of policy detail. In his eleven primary debates
there have always been a number of other candidates on the stage (from
3 to 9) allowing Trump to mix it up; here the focus would be squarely
Trump and the "deeper discussion" could expose policy
deficiencies. While it was expected that Hillary
Clinton would be able to run circles around Trump in the policy realm,
there was the possibility that he could connect with viewers on some of
his bigger points in a
way that Clinton could not. Trump is known for his combative
style. Hillary Clinton was sure to try to get under his skin,
and he needed to make sure he didn't get carried away in his
tendency to hit back.
Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson made a concerted effort to reach the
Presidential Debates' 15-percent threshhold, and debate organizers were
prepared to have a third podium on stage, but on on Sept. 16, the CPD
announced that he, as well as Green Party nominee Jill Stein,
had fallen short (+).
In the lead-up to the debate there were many reports about how Clinton
was preparing assidiously and Trump was taking a more relaxed
approach. There was also a fair bit of discussion about the
extent to which the moderator should play a fact checking role.
Most Observers Say
DEMOCRACY IN ACTION
The debate was marked by sharp
out of the way
and let the back and forth between the candidates proceed.
Clinton went on the offensive
from the second question, referring to Trump's tax plan as "trumped up
trickle down," and needling him about his wealth, stating, "He started
his business with $14 million, borrowed from his father, and
he really believes that the more you help wealthy people, the better
off we’ll be and that everything will work out from there." At
point Clinton noted, "I think Donald just criticized me for preparing
for this debate. And,
yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be
president. And I think that’s a good thing."
Trump showed a penchant for making interruptions and interjections
during the course of the debate. Several times he took on Clinton
on her experience stating:
All talk, no action. Sounds good, doesn’t work.
Never going to happen. Our country is suffering because people like
Secretary Clinton have made such bad decisions in terms of our jobs and
in terms of what’s going on." Later in the debate Trump said,
"Hillary has experience, but it’s bad experience. We have made so many
bad deals during the last — so she’s got experience, that I agree."
Conventional wisdom is that Trump had a decent first half hour of the
debate, but his responses in
the later part of the debate were more rambling and he missed
opportunities to challenge Clinton.
After the debate Trump spent time in the spin room, which appears to
unprecedented for a major party nominee (this is normally left to
surrogates). Trump complained that his microphone had been
defective; several days later on Sept. 30 the CPD issued a statement,
"Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's
audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall."
Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, executive director of the National
Institute for Civil Discourse, stated after the debate that, “The
research is clear: this campaign is one of the most uncivil in recent
history and the first debate continues to degrade our political
discourse. Last night’s debate, no matter your political view, showed
just how important it is for this country to revive civility (+)."
working in the media filing center.
According to The Nielsen Company, 13 broadcast and cable networks aired
live coverage, drawing an estimated 84 million viewers. The
previous record of 80.6 million viewers was set by the debate between
Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan on Oct. 28, 1980.
Twitter reported that this was the most tweeted presidential debate
ever. According to Twitter, the most tweeted topics during the
1. The economy, 2. Foreign affairs, 3. Energy & environment, 4.
Terrorism, and 5. Guns. The top retweeted Tweet during the debate
was a Donald Trump Tweet from Nov. 6, 2012 in he which stated, "The
of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make
U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
NBC's "Saturday Night
Live" season premiere (Oct. 1)
opened with a
parody of the debate featuring Alec
Baldwin as Trump and Kate McKinnon as