By Kenya Confidential Correspondent, Washington October 20, 2016
Democratic party nominee Hillary Clinton makes political minced meat of Republican party nominee Donald Trump
After a seemingly dull second debate a few weeks ago, the third and final US Presidential debate was decisively one that cleraly separated the wheat from the chaff. Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton emerged the sober, balanced and focused candidate with a clear vision for the United States.
The CNN viewer poll gave Hillary 62 per cent mark against Republican nominee Donald Trump’s 32 per cent. Earlier CNN viewers poll gave Hillary a wider lead against Trump.
Indeed, with a last chance to make a pitch to the American public that he should be trusted with the presidency, the Republican nominee Donald Trump had to make efforts to expand his base of support. He had to find a way to distance himself from the allegation that he has a history of sexual harassment.
He had to position himself as the change candidate – just days after a Fox poll showed that Hillary Clinton, whose Democratic party has held the presidency for eight years, was beating him on the question of who would “change the country for the better”.
Instead, after a roughly half an hour of something resembling an actual policy debate about the Supreme Court, gun rights, abortion and even immigration, the old Donald Trump – the one who constantly interrupted his opponent, sparred with the moderator and lashed out at enemies real and perceived – emerged with a strong feeling of defeat.
See for yourself: http://www.newstag.com/story/1252?lang=English&adw=1&gclid=CPvd39Tf6M8CFU-6GwodmsoKBA
He called Hillary a liar and a “nasty woman”. How much he would appreciate Bill Clinton calling his wife “nasty” would be interesting to to know.
He said the women accusing him of sexual harassment bordering on assault were either attention-seekers or Clinton campaign stooges.
He said the media were “poisoning the minds” the public. And, most notably, he refused to say whether he would accept the results of the election if he loses.
Mrs Clinton had her own moments where she was put in the defensive – on her emails, on the Clinton Foundation and on embarrassing details revealed in the WikiLeaks hack.
The difference, however, is that Mrs Clinton largely kept her poise and successfully changed the topic back to subjects where she was more comfortable. It was, in fact, a master class in parry-and-strike debate strategy.
The key takeaway from this debate, however – the headline that Americans will wake up to read in the morning – will certainly be Mr Trump’s refusal to back way from his “rigged” election claims.
That was what Mr Trump wanted to say, but it isn’t something the American people – or American democracy – needed to hear.
The Russian gambit
Mrs Clinton’s skill at deflecting attacks and baiting Mr Trump into unhelpful answers first was on display when moderator Chris Wallace brought up a line from one of her Wall Street speeches – revealed in the Wikileaks hack – that she endorsed a hemispheric free-trade and open-immigration zone.
After saying she was only talking about an open energy market – an assertion that seems somewhat questionable – she tried to turn the question into a discussion of whether Mr Trump would renounce the Russian government, which US officials have said is behind the cyber-attack.
Mr Trump actually called Mrs Clinton out on her attempted “great pivot” – but then he went on to get bogged down on the Russian issue.
He said he’d never met Mr Putin (although he boasted during a primary debate that he had talked with him in a television green room), and said that Mrs Clinton was a liar and the real Russian “puppet”.
Oh, and this all came up when the debate topic was supposed to be immigration.
A bad experience
Mrs Clinton’s next chance to pull a rhetorical switch-a-roo came during the economic portion of the debate. After a discussion of their tax proposals – and a predictable exchange of allegations over who’s cutting and who’s raising them too much – Mr Trump went after Mrs Clinton on her past support of trade deals.
When she waffled a bit, he tried to tag her with a line he used in an earlier debate with some success.
Why didn’t Mrs Clinton enact her economic reforms over her 30 years in the public sphere? Mr Trump asked.
“You were very much involved in every aspect of this country,” he said. “And you do have experience. I say the one thing you have over me is experience, but it’s bad experience, because what you’ve done has turned out badly.”
The problem with reusing attack lines is that sometimes your opponent prepares a defence – and Mrs Clinton had a scathing response ready to fly.
She said that while she was defending children’s rights in the 1970s, Mr Trump was defending himself against charges he engaged in housing discrimination against African-Americans.
When Mrs Clinton was speaking out for women’s rights as first lady in the 1990s, Mr Trump was taunting a beauty contest winner about her weight. And when she was in the White House situation room watching the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, Mr Trump was hosting a television reality show.
“I’m happy to compare my 30 years of experience, what I’ve done for this country, trying to help in every way I could, especially kids and families get ahead and stay ahead, with your 30 years,” she said.
“I’ll let the American people make that decision.”
It was a scripted set-piece, yes, but it drew blood.
All in all Democratic party nominee Hillary Clinton makes political minced meat of Republican party nominee Donald Trump