The Highs and Lows of the Last Presidential Debate
And now we're through it, glory be. That's right folks, the final presidential debate took place on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, and if you are reading this, then we are now officially on the other side of the final debate between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
In other words, we no longer have to sit through the strangest and (hopefully) most depressing series of exchanges that a pair of presidential candidates have ever had in modern history.
There were some good points and some bad points, some moments where one or both of the candidates went high (or at least amused us enough that it counts) and, yet again, as with the first two debates, plenty of moments when they went good and low. We've rounded up five of our faves:
5. The point where Clinton calmly and succinctly hit the BS button on Trump's claims that all of the women who have come out in recent days and accused him of sexual assault are lying. "Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self worth and I don't think there is a woman anywhere who doesn't know what that feels like," Clinton said. "So we now know what Donald thinks and what he says and how he acts toward women. That's who Donald is. I think it's really up to us to show the world who we are."
(We also found out during this exchange that Trump hasn't actually apologized to his wife yet about all of the allegations that have come out. Seems like a very, well, interesting choice, let's say.)
4. Debate moderator Chris Wallace made the candidates and the audience shut it and actually debate. The Fox News host isn't a miracle worker of course, so there were still plenty of potshots and low blows being traded between the candidates as the debate unfolded.
But on the upside, there were also moments when Wallace would tell Trump or Clinton or, you know, Trump again, that it was the other candidate's turn to talk, and they (ahem, mostly we mean Trump here) actually listened. At one point, Wallace shushed the barely audible audience and the crowd surprised the hell out of us in acquiescing.
The decorum devolved by the end of the debate — after all Wallace probably can't physically turn off the candidates' microphones since we need to hear from both potential leaders of the Free World — but still he did better than the moderators before him. Low bar, but still an accomplishment.
3. That time when Clinton and Trump talked puppets. Specifically, they were talking about the next president of the United States being Russia's puppet. Clinton said Vladimir Putin wants “a puppet as president of the United States.” "No puppet, no puppet," Trump replied, kind of puppet-like. "You're the puppet."
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2. The part where Trump once again questioned the integrity of our elections, and then refused to guarantee that, if/when he loses he'll step up and concede to Clinton. No, don't worry Donald, faith in our electoral process is just one of the hallmarks of democracy, while the peaceful handover of power is just, you know, the miracle we collectively witness every four years, one of the things that actually does make America great. But it's whatever. Go ahead and try to smash it all up.
Trump's allegations that the election is rigged are troubling and he did not do anything to back away from those claims Wednesday night. He had started out the debate with a tone of voice so mild we started to wonder if he was feeling well, but he veered off course on the election bit.
When Wallace pressed Trump about whether or not he'll concede if he loses on election night, Trump claimed the media are "dishonest" that the FBI rigged its investigation of Clinton's emails and refused to back off the "rigged election" bit. “I will look at it at the time,” Mr. Trump said. He continued: “She should not be allowed to run and, just in that respect, I say it’s rigged," he said. And then he followed up with the phrase that will most likely be the epitaph of his debate: "I'll keep you in suspense."
1. Clinton's reaction gave us one of the rare funny moments of the night. Clinton called Trump's comments on the rigged election claims "horrifying." She also dug in, pointing out that this is how Trump rolls, continually claiming that, when things don't go his way that nefarious forces worked against him. She mentioned him not winning an Emmy award for his television show. “Should have gotten it,” Trump snapped back. It wasn't much but anything that allows for a chuckle at this point in this particular election cycle counts for a win.
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