Trump and Clinton Meet in Second Presidential Debate

 Trump Under Siege After Recording of Lewd Remarks Released
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Second presidential debate
Date: Sun. Oct. 9, 2016 at Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO.

Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern time without commercial breaks.


Martha Raddatz, Chief Global Affairs Correspondent, Co-Anchor of “This Week,” ABC
Anderson Cooper, Anchor, CNN 

The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which half of the questions will be posed directly by citizen participants and the other half will be posed by the moderator based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources.  The candidates will have two minutes to respond and there will be an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate further discussion. The town meeting participants will be uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

Source: CPD


This debate was colored by the release two days earlier of a 2005 recording of Trump making lewd remarks.  The firestorm over those remarks led to near universal condemnation of Trump; some Republicans withdrew their support, and there were calls for Trump to drop out (+).  Clinton had a smaller challenge in the form of awkward questions stemming from WikiLeaks' release on Oct. 7 of a batch of emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta (+).

The town hall format could allow for more dynamic interactions by the candidates than a traditional debate.  Third party candidates were again excluded.

No Clear Winner
The two candidates attacked each other to a draw.  Descriptions of the debate included such terms as "ugly" (Politico) and "scorched earth" (CNN).  In one exchange, which the Trump campaign highlighted on its website the next day, Clinton stated, "It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country."  Trump responded, "Because you'd be in jail."

Trump's pre-debate press conference, described as a "stunt" and a "spectacle" did not auger well for the evening.  Then, at the opening of the debate, the candidates eschewed the handshake, instead standing side by side and then heading to their respective stools.

One could argue that Clinton won the debate by delivering more knowledgable and on point responses, while Trump continued to show significant deficiencies in his policy knowledge.  Clinton delivered a solid enough performance.  Since she appears to be ahead in the polls, one could argue that that amounted to a win.

The wounded Trump could claim a win for surviving to fight another day.  Given the criticism Trump has endured in the past several days, it was something of an accomplishment for him to make it to the stage.  Most observers opined that he did better than in his first debate, but that is not saying much.  Trump was seen as speaking to his base, and he may not have won over many viewers.  

For a town hall, this debate felt like it had a bit too much of the moderators; perhaps more or all of the questions should asked by the citizens in the hall.

In an Oct. 14 interview on "The Ellen Show" Clinton said of Trump, "You could just sense how much anger he had, and so he was really trying to dominate and literally stalk me around the stage, and I would just feel this presence behind me."

NBC's "Saturday Night Live" Oct. 16 opened with a parody
of the debate featuring Alec Baldwin as Trump and Kate
 McKinnon as Clinton.