Wednesday 19 October 2016: 3rd (and final) US PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
at University of Nevada-Las Vegas
scheduled for 90 minutes starting 9 PM Eastern Time US [0100 GMT]
Thursday, October 20, 2016
by RICHARD E. BERG-ANDERSSON
EDITOR's NOTE: All Tweets below have been redacted (where necessary) within their original sequence.
The scoring of each "round" of the debate is on the Ten Point-Must system.
So, here I am-- waiting for the final US Presidential Debate to start
*This* time round, what happens in Vegas will *not* be staying in Vegas!
Moderator CHRIS WALLACE of Fox News formally introduces the Debate
DONALD TRUMP and HILLARY CLINTON now take the stage: Together again... for the very last time
A question on the future of the US Supreme Court and the Constitution
Clinton: [the High Court determines] "What kind of country are we going to be... what kind of Rights are Americans going to have"
Clinton: "It is important that we not reverse Marriage Equality, that we not reverse Roe v. Wade"
Trump: "The Supreme Court is what it's all about" (Trump references Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's negative comments about him)
Trump: (if Clinton is elected) "The Second Amendment will be a small replica of what it is right now"
Trump: "It's all about the Constitution... the way it is meant to be"
Clinton: "I support the Second Amendment... I understand the tradition of gun ownership... [but] we need reasonable regulation"
Clinton: "I see no conflict between saving people's lives and the Second Amendment"
Trump: "People who strongly support the Second Amendment [have been] very upset with what [Mrs. Clinton has] had to say"
Trump: "In Chicago... with the toughest [gun] laws... we have the most violence in the United States"
Trump: "If [the Court overturns Roe v. Wade], it will go back to the individual States [as to whether abortion should be legal therein]"
Clinton: "So many States are putting stringent restrictions on [getting a legal abortion]"
Trump: "[Clinton says it is OK] for the baby to be ripped from the womb [in the 9th month]"
Clinton: [Trump's "scare rhetoric"] "is most unfortunate"
As has been the case with the previous debates, it is not my place to score these 'Rounds' based on my own personal 'take' on the content of the candidates' statements per se (that is, whether they are 1.correct as to policy choice and/or 2. even true); instead, my scoring is based solely on what I have termed 'Political Efficacy' (whether or not a particular comment by a Debate participant potentially helps, or harms, his or her campaign [and/or whether or not the candidate is, or is not, "advancing" his/her chances at the polls by attempting to lure new voters beyond their respective bases of support]): accordingly, it is not my purpose here to determine who is, say, better on the Second Amendment or whether or not Abortion should continue to be legal nationwide and thereafter "score" the Debate on that basis. In this particular 'Round' (and keeping the aforementioned basis of my so "scoring" it ever in mind), Trump had two problems: 1. his saying that, should Roe v. Wade be overturned, the decision as to Abortion's continuing legality would revert to the States (true enough, but it also suggests that a constitutional amendment outright banning Abortion, a goal of many so-called 'Right-to-Lifer's, is off Trump's own "table" [which could, if only potentially, be problematic for at least some within the Trump/Pence camp]) and, even more so, 2. his statement that the Constitution should be "the way it is meant to be" (for whatever the Constitution "is meant to be" is the very stuff of Politics, indeed the very stuff of the differences herein between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton themselves)-- thus, to here use a 'Judge Judy' phrase: "the way [the Constitution] is meant to be" is not an answer! Clinton 10, Trump 9
Trump:"[Mrs. Clinton] wants amnesty [for illegal immigrants] which would be a disaster"
Trump: "[Heroin] is just pouring over our southern border... I'm going to build the wall-- we need the wall"
Trump: "We have some bad hombres here and we're going to get them out"
Clinton: "I don't want to rip families apart"
Clinton: "I want to put our resources [re: immigration] where it is most needed"
Trump: [NAFTA] "is one of the worst deals made at any time by anybody"
Clinton: [Trump] "used undocumented workers to build Trump Tower"
Trump: "We either have a country or we don't; we either have a border or we don't"
Clinton asks Trump to condemn Russian attempts to influence our elections; Trump: "That was a great pivot" [from the topic at hand]
Clinton: "[Putin] would rather have a puppet [as President]"; Trump (interrupting) "No puppet-- no puppet-- you're the puppet"
Trump: "You have no idea whether it is Russia and China [who has done the hacking]... Putin has outsmarted her in every way"
Clinton: "[Trump] has been rather cavalier about nuclear weapons" [re: suggesting other countries develop nuclear weapons programs]
Trump [on US allies]: "They have the bargain of the century"; claims he merely wants to renegotiate defense agreements with other nations
Trump won this 'Round': his noting (albeit sarcastically) that Mrs. Clinton made a "great pivot" from the topic at hand (Clinton had been forced to defend her private statements- leaked by Wikileaks- that she favors "open borders" and, instead, brought up Trump's alleged ties to Russia) was potentially devastating. It might have even given him a 10-8 win here but for his later taking Clinton's "bait" and snarkily noting that she, instead, is "the puppet" of Putin. Trump 10, Clinton 9
Clinton: "When the middle class thrives, America thrives"
Clinton: "Most of the gains since the start of the Great Recession have gone to those at the top"
Clinton: "We are going to have the wealthy pay their fair share"
Trump: "[Clinton's] tax plan is going to raise your taxes, even double your taxes-- it'll be a disaster"
Trump claims his own campaign is responsible for NATO and other allies "paying up" re: their defense being backed by the USA
Trump: [in place of NAFTA] "We're going to make a great trade deal and, if it doesn't work, we'll go another way"
Clinton: "Let me translate what [Trump] has said, if I can"; Trump (interrupting) "You can't"
Clinton: "I believe the steps that President Obama took saved the economy [in the wake of the recession]-- he doesn't get credit for it"
Trump: "India is growing at 8%, China is growing at 7%-- we are growing at 1% and I believe it is going down... our country is stagnant"
Trump: "NAFTA kicked in after [the Clintons] left [the White House in 2001] and, boy, did [Americans] suffer"
Clinton: "[Trump] has given jobs to Chinese steelworkers, not American steelworkers"
Trump: "[Clinton] has more experience than me, but it's bad experience"
Clinton: "I'm happy to compare... what I've done for this country... to [Trump's record]"
Trump: "We should've never been in Iraq but, once we were there, we should've never gotten out"
Trump went off topic for a time in this segment (preferring, albeit briefly, to continue his earlier talking points about NATO and US allies); his snarky "You can't" when Clinton began responding to him on one point (while it is certainly "red meat" the core of his supporters surely enjoyed) didn't help. Clinton 10, Trump 9
Trump: [the stories about his mistreatment of women] "have been debunked"
Trump blames the Clinton campaign for those stories, compares it to recent revelations about the Clinton campaign fomenting violence [at Trump rallies]
Trump: [if the women weren't brought forth by the Clinton campaign, they were seeking] "their ten minutes of fame"
Trump: "You should be talking about [Clinton's e-mails, among other things] and not fiction!"
Clinton: "The Clinton Foundation is a world-renowned charity"
Trump: [the Clinton Foundation] "is a criminal enterprise... [there] are people who push gays off of buildings and you take their money"
Clinton: "I'd be happy to compare what we [at the Clinton Foundation] do to the Trump Foundation"
Trump: "100% of the money [from the Trump Foundation] goes to charity"
Clinton: "We can't know if that is true because [Trump] has not released his tax returns"
Trump: "Most of [Clinton's] donors do the same thing I do [re: taking massive tax deductions]"
Trump [re: accepting the results of the election] "I will look at it at the time... I will keep you in suspense" (thereby undermining his running mate & his own daughter)
Trump: [the election is rigged because Clinton] "shouldn't even be allowed to run [for President]: she's guilty of a very serious crime"
Clinton (on Trump's claim the election is rigged): "This is a mindset-- this is how [Trump] thinks"
Clinton: "[Trump] is talking down our Democracy and I, for one, am appalled"
Clinton 10, Trump 7 in this 'Round'- but only because, towards the end of this segment, Trump made a most serious gaffe: indeed, the most serious during a Presidential Debate in at least 40 years (since President Gerald Ford's [in]famous statement that he didn't "consider Eastern Europe dominated by the [then-]Soviet Union"); the difference, however, is that Ford's mistake evidently was inadvertent: Trump's, on the other hand, appeared purposeful (if not even, perhaps, malevolent). As noted in my Tweet at the time, Trump's rather blithe refusal to commit to conceding the results of the Presidential Election- should he lose, obviously- pulled the rug out from both Governor Pence and Ivanka Trump, who had both already made public assurances to the contrary in response to Trump's own, frankly, silly notions that the election will be "stolen" should he lose. Putting aside both the math (well over 100 million votes will be cast nationally, even should turnout be relatively low) and the logistics (of a decentralized national election: Electoral Vote- which, after all, determines the actual winner- itself determined in 51 separate contests in each State and D.C., each of which conduct the election itself at the precinct level with the results from each aggregated up through counties to thereafter gain the overall State result so required) that would have to be involved in order to pull off just such a "steal", Trump's comment- precisely because it is being made before the election is even over (Al Gore, at least, waited to contest the 2000 results until the wee hours of the day after that election)- is an insult, not only to the many precinct poll workers, but also to the voters themselves (even those who will vote for Trump). History is, of course, still to record (as I now type this) whether or not this comment, even if but snarky in intent (or, perhaps, a lame attempt at humor), ultimately costs Trump the election in much the same manner Ford's gaffe contributed to his own loss back in 1976; in the meantime, I here merely record the first (and, as it turns out, only) Round of all 4 Debates in 2016 in which a 10-7 score has been noted.
Clinton: "We have to keep an eye on ISIS... go after them"
Trump: "We once had Mosul... then [Clinton] took everyone out, we lost Mosul and now we're fighting for it again"
Trump: "The only winner in Mosul... Iran should write us a letter of thank you... Iran is taking over Iraq"
Clinton: "[Trump] was for the invasion of Iraq"; Trump: "Wrong"
Clinton: "Mosul is a Sunni city... on the border with Syria... it is going to be tough fighting... but this is what we have to do"
Trump: "We don't gain anything: Iran is taking over Iraq... Bernie Sanders said you have bad judgment"
Clinton: "You should ask Bernie Sanders who he is supporting for President"
Trump: "Aleppo is a disaster... a humanitarian nightmare... a lot of this is because of Hillary Clinton"
Trump: "Assad is a lot tougher and a lot smarter than [Mrs. Clinton] and Obama... we're backing the rebels: we don't know who they are"
Trump (sarcastically): "Lots of luck, Hillary; thanks for doing a great job"
Clinton: "A 'no fly' zone [in Syria] could save lives and hasten the end of the conflict"
Clinton [on Syrian refugees]: "I am not going to slam the door on women and children"
Clinton notes that the Orlando shooter was born in Queens, as was Donald Trump himself
Trump: "No one can believe how stupid our leadership is"
All in all, a "tit for tat" 'Round' (one either likes President Obama's Middle East-related Foreign Policy or one doesn't): Mrs. Clinton noting that the lone perpetrator of the terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub, rather than being an immigrant (legal or otherwise) or refugee, was instead a native of the same Borough of New York City as was Trump himself (a Borough I myself once resided in for nearly a decade and a half, by the way) was a deft touch and won her the 'Round'. Clinton 10, Trump 9
Trump (denying his economic plan would eventually raise the debt to 105% of GDP) "Because I will create great jobs... we have a tremendous machine"
Trump: "We have political hacks who make these [trade] deals... we use people who get the position because they [donated to a campaign]"
Clinton: "[Trump] said we were the laughing stock of the world" (during the Reagan Administation via a newspaper ad)
Clinton (denying her economic plan would eventually increase the debt to 84% of GDP): "I take the debt very seriously... I will not add a penny to the debt"
Trump: "I disagreed with President Reagan on Trade... and now we're going to do it right"
Trump: "[the economy] will grow at a fantastic rate [if he is elected President]"
Trump: "It will probably die of its own weight, but Obamacare will have to go"
Clinton: "What we want to do is replenish the Social Security Trust Fund... I will not cut benefits"
Clinton: "[Obamacare] extended the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund" (worries what repealing it wholesale will do to this)
Another primarily "tit for tat" 'Round': as a result, neither candidate really won this one outright (their respective defenses to economic analysis that their respective plans would seriously raise the national debt were so broad as to be virtually useless to the average voter watching and/or listening: one either likes a candidate's economic policies or one doesn't). Mrs. Clinton, however, lost this 'Round' by her being forced- and, yes, it was quite forced- to reach back to a newspaper ad Trump had taken out back in the 1980s (Clinton was riffing on Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again" by so questioning just when Trump actually thought America was great in the first place): Trump's answer that he merely differed with the Reagan Administration on trade policy (regardless of the rather bombastic 'Trumpian' rhetoric ["laughing stock"] with which we are now all too familiar therein) well deflected this parry by Clinton. Trump 10, Clinton 9
And so ends the final (finally! LOL) US Presidential Debate
FINAL SCORE: Clinton 58, Trump 54
After having "scored" the first of these three Presidential Debates (in Hillary Clinton's favor, but not by all that much) nearly 3 1/2 weeks before (although, I have to admit, it seems a lot longer ago than that right now!), I wrote that it surely was *not* a "slam dunk" for Hillary-- she still needs the remaining two. In truth, none of her other two "wins" (by my own scoring system, using 'Ten Point Must'- 10 points [regardless] to the winner, something less than 10 to the other- under the same criteria already mentioned above, after the first 'Round' in this one) were "slam dunks" either (Trump's gaffe in this last Debate notwithstanding)...
what this all might mean (if anything) in the end is, of course, now left to the American electorate: we will know (or, at least, be on the verge of knowing [come what may thereafter]) by the wee hours of Wednesday 9 November this year: less than three weeks now to go-- I can hardly wait!