Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton answers a question from the audience during their presidential town hall debate.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Sunday, October 9, 2016, 11:56 PM
The land of the brave, the home of the sleaze.
The second presidential debate quickly devolved into a mudslinging soap opera on Sunday, with Donald Trump parrying a question about his nasty comments that his fame entitled him to grab women “by the p—y” into non sequiturs about ISIS and attacks against Bill Clinton for his alleged sexual assaults.
“Yes I’m very embarrassed by it, I hate it, but it’s locker room talk and it’s one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS,” he said at the beginning of the debate.
A minute later, he took aim at Clinton for her husband’s sexual history.
“If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine are words and his is action. … Bill Clinton was abusive to women,” he said.
Clinton fired back.
The New York Daily News published this front page Oct. 10, 2016.
(New York Daily News)
“What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women, what he thinks about women, what he does to women, and he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is but I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is,” she said.
Clinton decided to go after Trump’s long string of racist and sexist comments rather than defend her husband, citing Michelle Obama’s edict that “When they go low, you go high.”
“He never apologizes for anything to anyone,” she said, hitting him for promulgating the “racist lie that President Obama was not born” in the U.S., his attacks against a Gold Star family because of their Muslim faith, and his denigration of an American judge of Mexican descent because of his heritage.
The debate quickly devolved into squabbling, with Trump repeatedly talking over Clinton, telling her “you’d be in jail” if he were elected president, saying Clinton had “hate in her heart” and at one point referring to Clinton as “the devil.”
“Okay, Donald, I know you’re into big diversion tonight, anything to avoid talking about your campaign exploding and the way Republicans are leaving you,” she said with a smile after debate moderators asked him to stop interrupting her.
Trump, sniffing throughout the debate as he did through the first one and pacing continually while Clinton spoke, delivered a much more aggressive and confident performance than the first debate – though it’s unclear whether it will be enough to stop his recent slide.
And Trump’s hostility was aimed at debate moderators Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper as well.
“I’d like to know why aren’t you bringing up the e-mails?” he demanded at one point, even though Clinton had just been asked about the topic.
“Nice, one on three,” he complained a moment later.
He even split with vice presidential nominee Mike Pence. When Raddatz read him a Pence quote from the vice presidential debate that America needed to stand up to Russia when it backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Trump dismissed his running mate’s views.
Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump participates in a town hall debate.
(RICK WILKING/AFP/Getty Images)
“He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree,” he said.
The debate’s aggressive tone had been foreshadowed for days, and Trump erased any doubt that he’d take a penitent tone with a surprise event just 90 minutes before the debate featuring alongside women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault.
The quartet: Juanita Broaddrick, who has long alleged that Bill Clinton raped her, Paula Jones, who sued the former president for sexual harassment, Kathleen Willey, who also accused him of such, and Kathy Shelton, who was raped as a 12-year-old in the 1970s and whose accused rapist Clinton defended in court.
The nasty battle covered a bevy of issues, though it kept veering back into personal attacks between two candidates who obviously hate one another. In a break with longstanding tradition, they declined to shake hands as the debate began.
After Trump claimed his tax plans would raise taxes on people like him Clinton fired back that Trump was living “in an alternate reality,” pointing out that his actual tax plans would cut taxes for himself and other wealthy people.
It was another slugfest as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump traded personal attacks.
(JIM BOURG/AFP/Getty Images)
“Donald always takes care of Donald and people like Donald,” she said.
Trump retorted by calling her ineffective for not changing tax law when she was in the Senate – even though Republican George W. Bush was president at the time.
When Clinton was asked about private comments she made in a speech that “you need both a public and a private position” and whether they were an argument for being “two-faced,” as Raddatz put it, she argued she was just praising Abraham Lincoln for his ability to make different points to different people. She then pivoted to point out that the comment and many other private emails had been obtained by hackers with ties to the Russian government, who she said want to see Trump elected president.
Trump fired back, mocking her as a liar and arguing it’s unclear who hacked the Democratic National Committee, Clinton’s campaign chairman and other politicians in both parties.
“She lied. Now she’s blaming the lie on the late, great Abraham Lincoln,” he said. “Honest Abe never lied. … That’s the big difference between Abraham Lincoln and you.”
Bill Clinton accusers Kathleen Willey (L), Juanita Broaddrick (C) and rape victim Kathy Shelton sit in the audience for the second presidential debate Sunday.
(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
But he slipped up a minute later while arguing that he has no financial or political ties to Russia.
“I know nothing about Russia. I know Russia but I don’t know anything about the inner workings of Russia,” he said.
The tone of the debate was so hostile that felt shocking when the two managed to come up with something nice to say about each other at its conclusion.
After Clinton complimented Trump’s children, he said “She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. She’s a fighter.”
The second debate came at a critical time for Trump, following days of brutal headlines over a leaked video in which he bragged that his celebrity allowed him sexually assault women, to grab them “by the p—y” and get away with it.
Former President Bill Clinton waits for the presidential town hall debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at Washington University in St. Louis on Sunday.
The fallout from that hot-mic video has led to a new round of anguish within the GOP, with a number of senior Republicans un-endorsing him or asking that he drop out of the race and panic within the party that he’ll drag down-ballot Republicans down with him.
Trump has loudly declared that he has no plans to quit, however, and his punchy debate performance showed he’s going to go down swinging.
The self-proclaimed billionaire was manhandled at the first presidential debate, stumbling over himself to defend his refusal to pay taxes and pay workers and previous lewd comments about women.
He doubled down afterwards with a days-long attack against former beauty pageant winner Alicia Machado, who he’d attacked for gaining weight. That included a 3 a.m. Twitter rant where he called on voters to “check out sex tape and past” of Machado, which he promptly denied he said during the debate. “It wasn’t saying look at the sex tape,” he falsely claimed onstage Sunday.
In the midst of all that, his 1995 taxes were leaked to the press, showing that he’d lost $ 916 million that year and likely avoided paying income taxes for years as a result. He initially refused to admit the 1995 returns were accurate. But when asked in the debate if he’d used the reported loss to avoid taxes, he responded “Of course I do.”