Clinton, Trump Fight to a Draw in Second Debate

Democrat-versus-Republican-ec-keyimage.jpgIt was do or die for Donald J. Trump in Sunday's second Presidential Debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.  Trump didn't die -- but he didn't do a whole lot either to convince suburban white women, African Americans and Latino voters to rush to his side of the poll parade.

He needed those three-category voters to catch up to Clinton's rising poll numbers and he didn't get them.

However, based on air time accumulation alone, the 70-year-old Trump bested the 69-year-old Clinton, just as he had mowed down 15 challengers in the earlier primary races. But Clinton, calm, collected and studied, kept her cool and deflected almost all of Trump's missiles.

For that performance, she earned a draw in this second of three scheduled nationally televised Presidential Debates.

The third and final debate is Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, NV.  Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. At least 19 states already have started final early voting.

Trump showed his typical aggressive, unpresidential debating style from the first minute of the event Sunday.  He interrupted Clinton and moderators Martha Raddatz of ABC and Anderson Cooper of CNN on numerous occasions, and even challenged Raddatz on his answers a few times.

He complained she and Cooper weren't giving him the same amount of time they were giving Clinton to respond to questions. The problem, however, was Trump's continual straying from answering the moderators' questions directly. He side-stepped almost all of the questions, as he did in the first debate. That is his style.

Let's be honest.  Like the first debate Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, this second debate wasn't an honest political-issues debate at all. It was a grudge match.

Trump and Clinton didn't even shake hands when they first appeared before their small town hall-styled audience. They did so at the end of the debate, however.

Trump looked somber and serious as he sought to give his side of what is being described by some in the media as a sexual assault on a married woman in 2005.

"This was locker room talk," Trump said. "I'm not proud of it. I apologized to my family. I apologized to the American people. Certainly I'm not proud of it."

"I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do ... and women have respect for me."

He said, however, that there are many bigger, more serious problems around the world, such as ISIS and illegal immigration.

"I'm going to make our country safe," Trump said. "We're going to make America safe again."

Asked what she thought about Trump's vulgar remarks on groping women after he had met them for the first time, Clinton replied:

"I've spent a lot of time thinking over the last 48 hours," she said. In past elections, "I disagreed with them on politics policies and principles, [but I] never questioned their fitness to serve."

"What we all saw and heard...was Donald Trump talking about women, what he thinks about women, what he does to women."

"I think it's clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who [he] is."

He "embarrasses women on TV and Twitter."

"This is who Donald Trump is," Clinton said.

Trump shot back. His "locker room talk" did not compare to former President Bill Clinton's history with women, Trump said. "If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse."

Bill Clinton is Hillary Clinton's husband and is scheduled to play an important role in Mrs. Clinton's administration should she be elected the first woman President of the United States.

Mrs. Clinton did not respond to Trump's zinger on her husband. "He gets to run his campaign any way he chooses," she said of Trump.

She paraphrased Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic convention to describe her approach: "When they go low, you go high."

The audience applauded that salvo.

But that didn't slow down Trump at all. Once more, as he has over the past nine months, he charged Clinton with criminal behavior in allegedly destroying 33,000 emails from a private computer server at her home. She was serving as Secretary of State at the time.

If he becomes president, Trump said, he will instruct his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton's private email server.

"There has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has ever been anything like it," he said.

Trump argued that people's lives have been destroyed for doing "one-fifth" of what Clinton did. "It's a disgrace and, honestly, you ought to be ashamed of yourself," he said, looking directly at her.

Clinton said Trump's claims about her emails were untrue, adding it's a good thing that someone with his temperament is not in charge of the law in U.S.

"Because you'd be in jail," Trump replied.

Clinton and Trump then wrestled over taxes. She noted his boasting of not having paid federal income taxes over many years by using a legal loophole in the IRS regulations called Carryover Net Operating Loss (NOL). Trump admitted having used the loophole by declaring close to a billion-dollar loss in 1995.

This loophole may be used by any taxpayer but is especially favorable to real estate developers, investors and independent contractors involved in high-dollar transactions.

He was giving "zero for our vets, zero for our military," Clinton said. "That is wrong."

Trump replied he was just following the law. If Clinton had wanted the law changed and eliminated the loophole, she could have done that on numerous occasions when she was serving as a Senator from New York, he argued.

Both debaters gave fact checkers from the New York Times a workout. Here are only a few examples of more than 50 alleged facts they checked during the debate.

Trump says Clinton wants "amnesty for everybody, come on in, come on over."

Fact: Not her position at all.

Clinton said that she had helped eight million children obtain health coverage, Sept. 11 responders receive medical care and children get safer medicines.

Fact: True.

Trump said Clinton ignored 600 requests for increased security from J. Christopher Stevens, the ambassador to Libya, and communicated only with Sidney Blumenthal, a Clinton friend.

Fact:  Extremely misleading.

Trump accused Clinton of being there for President Obama's "line in the sand" in Syria. She said she wasn't.

Fact: Trump is wrong.

Trump, referring to the effect of NAFTA and other free-trade agreements, said, "We lost our jobs."

Fact:  Not true.

Trump said the United States signed a "peace treaty" to bring an end to the civil war in Syria.

Fact: Not true.

Trump said Syria, Russia and Iran are fighting the Islamic State.

Fact: Mostly misleading.

Trump admitted he used a $916 million loss declared on his 1995 tax returns to avoid paying federal income taxes.

Fact: Misleading because he has refused to say how many years he paid no income tax and simultaneously claimed to have paid a "tremendous" amount of taxes to state and local governments.

The debate, fiery and incoherent at times, at least ended on a pleasant note.

An audience member asked the candidates to name one positive quality in their opponent. Clinton spoke first.

"I respect his children," she said. "His children are incredibly able and devoted and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don't agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that."

Trump thanked Clinton for her comment, then said of her:  "I will say this about Hillary: She doesn't quit. She doesn't give up. I respect that."

That ended the debate. Both shook hands as they walked different paths to meet and greet family and supporters.

How does all this look for Trump?  Not good. He has lost too much ground. He can't catch Clinton at this stage - not even if he scores a knockout in the third and final debate Oct. 19 in Las Vegas.

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