Watching the First Presidential Debate Tonight
A Rite of Elderpassage – One More Time

The Day After the First Presidential Debate of 2016


She crushed him. Hillary Clinton crushed him. She was prepared, poised, knowledgeable and in control of the stage. Donald Trump was vague, pouty and flailing, clearly out of his depth and after the first 30 minutes or so, incoherent. Clinton had no trouble getting under Trump's skin and he reacted as we have come to expect, lashing out, but none of his attacks landed.

He interrupted Clinton constantly, made childishly faces while she was speaking, fidgeted and harrumphed. His behavior could have been seen as a Saturday Night Live parody of him played by a 10-year-old. It was that bad. It is questionable that this man is capable of running a company and certainly not a country.

Most of the pundits (except the ones you would expect) declared Secretary Clinton the winner. Two snap polls agreed: A PPP poll found that viewers thought Clinton had won the debate by a 51-40 margin. A CNN/ORC poll found that 62 percent of viewers thought Clinton won vs. 27 percent who thought Trump did, reported Slate.

This is a good thing - for us and for a world worried about what kind of person the United States will elect - but I remember the first debate in 2012 when Mitt Romney cleaned Barack Obama's clock. Obama came soaring back from that defeat in the subsequent debates and we'll see if Trump gets his game on when the two candidates square off again in St.Louis on 9 October.

I don't need to quote all the morning news outlets for you - it's easy to find them online. This extra Tuesday post is for all of us to react to what we saw last evening or read today. Comments are shut down on yesterday's post with a link to this one so all our responses are gathered in one place where we can follow along.

Because it is the internet, space is unlimited – have your say at whatever length. Just, please, paragraph it if it's long so that it is easier for old eyes to read.


I think Donald has no game to bring, only bombast.

Although he certainly did not appear "presidential", I don't think that last nights debate was in any way a crushing defeat for Mr. Trump.
He acted just as I expected him to act.
It's the way he has presented himself at all of his rally's and all of his interviews.
And I am sure that his appeal to THAT certain segment of the American voter has not waivered one iota.

I wonder at the way he was breathing--short gasps as someone described as one on cocaine--to me it was like sipping air. I wonder about his lung/heart health.

There was no commentary about that, but it seemed weird to me. When he spoke in his bombastic way, there was none of that "sipping for air".

Yes, Hillary looked and sounded healthy and presidential. But he got a few licks in for his followers, and may listen to his "handlers" and do a bit of prep for the next debate. I am still anxious--feel somewhat as Mika has said she feels--a foreboding.

I hope Hillary will stick to her talking points and not rebut some of the trashing he will be forthcoming with in the weeks before and during the next debate.

I agree with Olga and Bruce. Trump acted just as we would have expected, just as he as acted in the past, because it is the only way he can act. WYSIWYG -- Trump is Trump -- and to expect different behavior from him would be unrealistic. He is where he is because his behavior and beliefs appeals to a segment of the American voters.

Hillary performed admirably, did not appeared rattled, and brought her best composed and articulate game. It will be interesting to see if anything changes from either one in the next two debates, but I suspect they will be the same.

Trump provided lots of material for Hillary's ads. Stiffing contractors, not paying taxes, using bankruptcy laws for personal gain -- "that's business."

If we are not in battleground states, we won't see 'em, but I think he undermined himself.

I did not watch the debate so cannot give my own opinion. However, from what I'm reading, Hillary did well. There is always a few naysayers, though. One being a writer in San Francisco who said Trump looked good to his supporters, the white high school graduates who feel they have been abandoned by their government. She wrote that Trump looks to this group like they think a billionaire should look and act. Scary.

What I find disheartening is our fellow Americans. I was watching on MSNBC and afterwards the pundits cut to a reporter who was watching the debate with a small group of folks from Ohio for their reactions. Some were Clinton supporters, some were Trump supporters. No one's mind was changed from watching the debate. One woman, described as a registered Democrat but who is for "anyone but Clinton," said, and I quote: "I am voting for the conservative party. And if this jackass just happens to be leading this mule train, so be it."

I can understand people who will vote against their own interests because they are taken in by a charlatan. But how can people seemingly see this guy for who he is and vote for him anyway? The mind boggles.

NPR and The Guardian both mentioned his sniffling. He acted like such a bully, I could barely stand it. I am so glad Hillary maintained her calm.

I, too, cannot understand people who support bullies but hopefully they will be in the minority. I went to Europe after the primary. People there are incredulous that Trump got this far but, unfortunately, he did not have good competitors. They laugh but are also worried.

I watched the whole thing, and it was painful. Hillary stayed calm but seemed awfully scripted at times. And Trump reverted to the only thing he knows -- being Trump. After 20 minutes or so of sounding reasonably coherent, he began reverting to long, rambling, often incomplete sentences that might or might not have addressed the question at hand. He reminded me of a comedian I've seen (probably on SNL) whose shtick is long, rambling, incomplete and totally unrelated sentences. I'm afraid Trump's supporters are just like him, not particularly concerned with consequences but just wanting to "stick it to the man" and to any other group or nation they don't like. The possibility that a majority of American voters think like that keeps me awake nights.

I had fully intended not to watch - but just tuned into MSNBC at the outset to check it out.

And then I watched. All the way through. And no doubt offended my neighbors, because at certain moments I yelled back at whatever Trump was spouting. Good thing I wasn't in the Hofstra audience..

Trump was Trump - although he changed noticeably after the first half hour or so. Had there been throughout this sort of evidence of a civilized approach rather than his usual bombast, I would have been worried. But Hillary is far too smart for him - for most of us, I suspect - and she played him like an instrument. And got under that thin, thin skin.

And she also laughed and in a sense made fun of herself. My favorite exchange was after he had again blamed her for something outlandish [spending her whole life causing ISIL, or something like that], she laughed and said that by the end of the evening she would probably be blamed for everything in the world - and he snapped back "why not?" and she laughed again and repeated - why not. And even Trump laughed. Even Trump.

Lester Holt remained far too held back, not very moderator-like. He did minor fact checks, which I appreciated.

But don't count on me. My urgent suggestion is that you go online to this morning's Washington Post and find Alexandra Petri's incredibly apt column, all about Holt and Trump and Clinton. I laughed literally until I cried. Bless her. She nails it, but in her incredibly precise and hilarious way. I would give you the website, but I don't think Ronni wants us to give out websites. Petri is the satirist of all satirists right now.

So I am not sorry I watched. I unloaded a lot of stress, I think. And I desperately hope this changes the directions of the polls and Nate Silver.. It should.

ah yes, Trump's sniffling. It was so obvious, so omnipresent, also all his twitchings and wild facile expressions, etc. - MSNBC actually showed a split screen of each of their faces, the one wildly twitching, scowling, etc., the other totally calm and collected. And the Daily Kos commenters were the ones to bring cocaine to mind for me.. Ah well.

P.S. I had to look it up. The comedian was Fred Armisen doing his Nicholas Fehn routine. There are several examples on YouTube.

Not being a Jerry Springer fan, I have always assumed that his was mind I didn't need to take seriously. He may have redeemed himself this morning with his reaction to last night's debate. He said, "Hillary Clinton belongs in the White House. Donald Trump belongs on my show." Period, full stop. I think the country let out a collective sigh of relief after last night's one-sided blowout.

Doubt if the debate changed any voters' minds. We've already seen the best and worst of the candidates. As for the undecided, I can't figure out why any are still undecided. The differences have been clear for months. Trump isn't suddenly going to become unTrumpish, and grow a conscience. Hillary isn't going to become a pinnacle of integrity. She will continue to be a hard worker and won't lead the country into a tailspin at home or on the global stage.

As for party lines, the Republicans have let us all down with their whiny, hating ways. If the Republicans would grow up and be thoughtful leaders rather than hate mongers, compromises could be good for all. No signs of improvement are in sight no matter how the election ends.

My hope is that Republicans lose control of the House and Senate. The squeal would be loud, but some decent party members might rise to the surface and forge a recovery. I know. I am in LaLa Land now.

Trump is now blaming his microphone and Lester Holt - - the microphone was deliberately sabotaged and Lester Holt was helping Hillary. Poor guy, the whole world is against him, and nothing is his fault. Just as expected.

Trump reminded me of a spoiled toddler with his pouting, anger and incoherent speech.

I liked the way Hillary took blame for bad judgment in using a private e-mail server because it emphasized Trumps lack of taking responsibility for anything he did wrong.

Hillary also nailed him on not revealing his income tax and she forced him to repeat his dishonest excuse about being audited while cleverly giving all the reasons as to why he might want to hide them. She really got under his skin with that and and she also provided the answer to his followers for a reason when they say "it doesn't matter."

Hillary won the debate by every measure.

I agree that Hillary played him. What others call overly rehearsed, I'd call lawyer like. She started her time as if she was beginning her argument to a jury.

I thought at first her facial expressions were off putting, but as she got comfortable, I think we saw the Hillary we need to know can deal with crises and foreign leaders. I thought his jabs at her stamina and his assertions of superior temperament were bizarrely funny. Can't the man hear himself? Has he no self awareness? Oh, right, we are discussing Donald Trump here.

I admit I missed the sniffing. I also admit I did not pick up his gasping. But that could be a bit of anxiety, I think. I did note how old he looked on the split screen next to Hillary, who looked fresh as a daisy.

I thought Holt's looser rein gave us all a clear picture of Trump. We saw hm manterrupting, reacting to Hillary's arguments, and being defensively incoherent. I was surprised by Holt's questions about Trump's birther involvement. But that question produced an incoherent response that did Trump great harm.

I also thought Clinton's response on racism was right. She told the truth. We are all, in a sense racist, or, racism exists in our country. You have to name the evil before being able to combat it.

Tom Brokaw on NBC commented that Trump visited the spin room after, which is unheard of. He thought Trump was trying to get a bit of a do over.

I started to watch but only lasted 25 minutes and turned away. Only to check in once and awhile after. I tried to look at Clinton because I can't stand to look at TheDon.

Perhaps a toddler, Darlene, but my image is the 10 year old bully in the class who farts and points to a kid in the other corner. Not capable of taking responsibility for sniffling (which we all heard coming from him loud and clear because his mic was fine!) he is now blaming that very mic!

Was anyone else quickly offended by "is Secretary of State Clinton Ok...I want you to be happy." ? I cringed from there!

We watched it on our iPad (no tv) just us and the bottle of white wine to get through it. I agree with all the other commenters...who are all these people who think there is anything reasonable about him?

I find that I haven't watched any scripted television programming lately, for there's so much "drama" and "comedy" going on in the news with the current political race. Hillary Clinton definitely won the debate, and I was so proud of her for her preparation, sense of humor, style and grace. As always, Trump was petulant, unprepared, and nasty, admitting that not paying taxes makes him "smart." No wonder he's not releasing his tax returns! I still can't believe that he's even running and what that says about about so many of our electorate!

I don't know that any of it makes any difference. I was glad that Hillary avoided making any major errors, but I was sorry that she didn't follow up and hit Trump with some of his throwaway lines - that not paying taxes is smart, that he'll be on Pennsylvania Avenue one way or the other (really? He's just looking to move?), that he was the one who made Obama produce his birth certificate...

And I was sorry that Hillary didn't present a vision of any sort. I was thinking of JFK this morning. Hillary apologized in so many words for too many things..the TPP, the emails...instead of giving the audience anything like a vision. In a way, I'm glad she didn't try to - yes, she was scripted, but she tends to get creamed when she speaks from her heart. (I'm remembering her saying "I didn't want to stay home and bake cookies," so many years ago. )

Yes, Trump was incoherent- he can't put together six sentences without contradicting himself. (What was that mess about how he would never take the first nuclear strike? But then he might?) But I'm sure that won't bother his supporters any more than Benghazi bothers me.

The undecideds baffle me, too. But, like the woman who's going to vote for whatever ass is leading the mule train, I knew I was going to vote for the Dem four years ago: The GOP has nothing that aligns with my values/interests/concerns, from the role of gov't to guns to global warming.

I guess I start making phone calls for Hillary, because Trump scares the crap out of me, from my retirement savings to WWIII. It looks like the answer to the American Experiment - can a people govern themselves? - is No.

To add some levity to all this, read Alexandra Petri's column in today's Washington Post. I know this is serious business but it's nice to come up for a breath of fresh air.

They were both as I thought they would be...

Governor Romney "crushed" president Obama in their first debate too and still lost the election by four points. Nothing can change the fact that Secretary Of State Clinton took in hundreds of millions ,in the name of charity, to her Foundation from foreign countries with abysmal human rights records toward women and gays. She has always but her and her husbands self interests ahead of the country she was suppose to serve. As an example, she signed off, as acting Secretary Of State, on a trade deal giving Russia and Putin 20% of our know uranium reserves. The Russian company that negotiated the deal then promptly "donated" 20 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation and gave her husband a huge seven figure speaking fee.

I agree Hillary won the debate. She should have, she is, after all a politician. Trump is reaching the common man and that is where he wins. I will not vote for Hillary because she is a career (thief) politician.

ha ha 27% thought he did well. for those 'aware of all internet traditions', 27% is regarded as the average number of people who are regarded as certifiably crazy as far as voting preferences are concerned. (you can look it up! as yogi berra used to say.) trump has never really brought anything to the table except an overwhelming sense of entitlement, arrogance, misogyny and racism, all overlaid with a great deal of anger and resentment toward anyone perceived as a lesser being--or, in his case, everyone else.

his roasting at the hands of the president at the correspondent's dinner a few years ago is widely regarded as his prime motivation for entering this race. and that was brought about by his terrier like harrying of the birther issue, which he then had the temerity to lay at the feet of hillary clinton. he whined that sean hannity--that pillar of probity--would back him up on this, but, for once, sean demurred, perhaps seeing the handwriting on the wall, and not looking to make a possible career-changing move at this particular time. when your liability is drowning, throw him an anchor. hillary will win this election, but it will be, for me, a lasting source of embarrassment on the international stage, that such a ridiculous buffoon was foisted upon the american public by one of the two major political parties for consideration for the office of most powerful person in the world. at long last, republicans, have you no shame?

I watched every minute, followed comments on Twitter and then watched an hour of talking heads rehashing the debate. ( I need a life and a nap)

Hillary won! IMHO

I just heard Trump say he won in all of the polls, except CNN, but no one watches CNN anyway. Also, the Trump spokespeople are all over the TV and doing their emotional less style interviews. They look like windup robots.

A few minutes before CNN shown a few minutes of Hillary in Raleigh, NC this morning thanking her supporters.

According to MSNBC, even the Russian newspapers declare that Hillary won the debate. That tells you something.

With all due respect, I'm having a bit of difficulty seeing where billionaire Trump is for "the common man". Here's a man who thinks it's "smart" to pay no federal income taxes (the rest of us paid ours, right?) although he uses the infrastructure those taxes support. He thinks it's just good business to cheat employees out of wages and vendors out of payment for services rendered, then tie them up in lengthy and expensive court battles. His multiple bankruptcies left thousands of ordinary people unemployed. His branded clothing, campaign materials and other merchandise are manufactured overseas, mostly in China. I'm just curious: how does that work for the common American?

That said, Hillary is not Mother Teresa. Who is? She has made mistakes and errors in judgment that might have been avoided. However, unlike the Trump Foundation, the Clinton Foundation has actually spent its money to help people all over the world. True to form, Trump has basically used his foundation to help himself.

As far as the debate is concerned, I think Trump performed like the bombastic bully that he is. His behavior confirmed for me that it's terrifying to contemplate his being anywhere near the nuclear codes. I believe that the planet would be at terrible risk if he is elected. I don't think the debate changed many voters' minds. The only hope we have is that more Americans will cast a vote for sanity than for bombast.

At 83 yrs, I thought I had seen it all. I am stunned that there are apparently a large percentage of people who would vote for D.T. Where is their reality? These are very scary times. I think I will start praying again.

Of course Hillary Clinton won. She was debating against an ignorant buffoon who has spent his life conning people and proclaiming this fact with pride. Hillary has always impressed me with her intelligence, her knowledge of facts, and her ability to present.
BUT WE LIVE IN VERY STRANGE TIMES and what should be a dunk/slam isn't! television, the dumbing down of the American people, reality TV, and entertainment. All of these have taken over and their influence is what has made this circus of our political system.
Jimmy Kimmel or one of the other late night hosts did interviews with people and the questions they were asked: Who won the Civil War (a majority had no idea or confused their history) and who are Brangelina (all of them knew) demonstrates where we have come in this country. Trump is a big reality star. He knows how to play the entertainment card. Hillary is a policy wonk. Most people nowadays want entertainment.
I thought she aced the debate but my inner gut says we really won't know the outcome of these elections until November 9th.
As an aside, Hillary's whole adult life has been difficult. Nothing has come easy for this woman. Whatever else can be said, this fact alone demonstrates her resilience and that is a good quality to have in this crazy world of ours!

A total KO for Hilary.


High schools need to provide a four year curriculum in critical thinking. It is painfully obvious that it is lacking in a large segment of our population.

A tongue-tied bully boy!

...and I would like to add what kind of a political party would accept this man as it's nominee. Are they not afraid for their own families let alone the world??
Shame on them for not stopping him before now. I hope Hillary can prevent this "Catastrophe' from happening.

Hillary clearly will make the better president, but that was obvious before the debate. Nothing happened in the give-and-take to change that, but she did show she could stand up to the bullying in a positive way.

My hope is that the undecideds are that way because they still are thinking about the issues and the merits of the candidates. My hope also is that the poll results we'll be seeing in the next few days will show a shift to Clinton. Then we'll know who "won" this debate.

I agree with much of what has been said in most of the posts...and in particular the comment about the Republican Party - "whiny, hating ways." An Independent all my voting life - who voted Republican until 2008. I am not aligned with the current party leaders or most of the platform. I am not sure I will ever vote Republican again before I leave this earth. All that said, the current situation - with Trump as the candidate - is a direct manifestation of this party's abandonment & failure to lead in a way that is good for all - and not just a small percentage. Other than the few who have had the guts to stand up to Trump & publicly announce they are not behind him, etc. - they are not an option for me.

I tried to watch, I really did, but only lasted about 20 minutes before resorting to muting when Trump spoke. Several comments mentioned that he was "bombastic", and I think that is well-put. I finally gave up and switched to "While You Were Sleeping." You can bet I won't be sleeping when it comes time to send my ballot in, though. That is a guarantee.

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