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Here’s What You Missed: Highlights of the Second Presidential Debate

Sunday, October 9, 2016, the country tuned in to the second presidential debate at Washington University with great anticipation for what would follow: bitterness, banter and passion. The debate was set up town-hall style where audience members could ask questions along with moderators Anderson Cooper from CNN and Martha Raddatz from ABC News.

In case you missed it, you to watch the full debate here.

Also, if you wish to fact check anything the candidates said, you can go here.

The debate started off on frigid note: the candidates did not shake hands after entering the stage.

After the tension-filled introduction, Cooper dove into the issue many people had been waiting for. He questioned Trump about the tape released that showed him talking about women vulgarly, kissing them without consent and grabbing their genitals.

“This was locker room talk,” Trump answered. “I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people.”

When Trump went on to say how the country has bigger problems such as ISIS, Cooper pressed him. He asked if Trump actually kissed and groped women without consent.

Trump initially avoided the question, responding, “I have a great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”

Cooper repeated his question until Trump finally stated he had not.

Raddatz brought up a question from online that asked if Trump is a different man today than the man he was when he was 59 and made those statements. He responded by reiterating it was “locker room talk” and brought up how Bill Clinton has allegedly abused many women, four of whom were in the audience.

The audience erupted into applause after Clinton claimed the allegations were false and quoted Michelle Obama, stating, “When they go low you go high.” 

She reminded the audience Trump has never apologized to anyone such as the Khan family for mocking their religion, Judge Gonzalo Curiel for mocking his Mexican heritage, reporter Serge Kovaleski for mocking his disability and President Obama for falsely alleging he wasn’t born in the United States.

The tension heightened when Trump countered by stating she was the one who needed to apologize for the email scandal. He made a bold statement saying he was going to get a special prosecutor to look into her email case.

Clinton replied, “It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.”

Trump retorted, “Because you’d be in jail.” The audience exploded into cheers once more.

This directed Cooper to ask Clinton about the email scandal. She repeated what she has always said: She wasn’t going to make excuses, and if she could go back in time she wouldn’t do it again.

“That was a mistake, and I take responsibility for it,” said Clinton.

Trump appeared agitated, pacing back and forth while Clinton spoke. When the moderators tried to move onto another topic, Trump urged they talk about the emails. When Cooper, Raddatz and Clinton insisted they move on, Trump muttered, “Nice, one on three.”

The banter did not stop there. An audience member asked Clinton what she would do to bring down the cost of Obamacare. Trump tried to cut in, but Cooper told him it was Clinton’s turn to respond first. However, Clinton insisted Trump go, but Trump contended, “No, I’m a gentleman. Hillary, go ahead.”

Later, Raddatz read Clinton a question concerning when she said “you need both a public and private position on certain issues” in a WikiLeaks excerpt of her paid speeches. Clinton asserted the quote was taken out of context. She was referring to a movie where Lincoln used different arguments tactics when trying to get the 13th amendment approved.

“It was principled, and it was strategic,” said Clinton. “And I was making the point that it is hard sometimes to get the congress to do what you want to do.”

Trump was also asked about a leak of his information when the New York Times released three pages of his 1995 tax returns. The leak suggested he used a $960 million loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes.

“Of course I do, and so do all of her donors, or most of her donors,” said Trump when asked if he did avoid paying personal federal income taxes.

He claimed he understands the tax code better than anyone who’s ever ran for president and Hillary reaps the same tax benefits he does. However, he refused to say how long he’s avoided paying personal federal income taxes.

As the debate wore on, the candidates were asked about the problem of ISIS and the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Trump expressed wishes to work with Russia and Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad to take out ISIS. However, Raddatz read a statement by his running mate, Mike Pence, that stated, “Provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength, and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.”

Trump surprised everyone by stating, “He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree.”

Clinton has a different plan in mind. She wants to work with a coalition of Muslim majority nations, enact a no fly zone and safe zones in Syria, and have leverage over Russia. When asked what she would do different than the Obama administration, she said she would go after Baghdadi and arm the Kurds.

More issues were discussed such as healthcare, appointing supreme court justices and the environment. Following these questions, the crowd burst out laughing after an audience member asked each candidate to name one positive thing they respect about each other.

Clinton responded first, “I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.”

Trump thanked her for the compliment on his children. “I will say this about Hillary: She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that.”  

Possibly due to the last question, the debate ended on a more civil note with a handshake before the candidates left to embrace their families.


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Kelly is the President/ Campus Correspondent at HC Pitt. She is a senior double majoring in English writing and communication rhetoric while pursuing a certificate in digital media. Writing has always been a passion of hers, and she hopes to work in book publishing and a best-selling author one day. She works as a tutor at Pitt's Writing Center and an intern at Creative Media Agency Inc. In her free time, she works on her novel, reads stacks of books and explores Pittsburgh with her friends.
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