The first 2016 general election debate is in the books and without a doubt Hillary Clinton emerged victorious over Donald Trump.
Through the first 20 minutes of the debate it appeared that Trump would keep his cool and put up the façade of that he is electable.
And from that moment on the wheels came off.
The moment that will probably be remembered will be the obvious lack of preparation that Trump did leading up to the debate and the line that Clinton delivered exposing Trump.
Trump criticized that Clinton was absent from the campaign trail in the lead up to the debate during his “I’m going to pretend I care about black voters” tour and this is likely to be one of the top moments of the debate season.
Mrs. Clinton, your response?
Meet The Press’ Chuck Todd in the post-debate analysis tried to spin it as Clinton “over-prepared” for the debate.
The post-debate polls confirmed that Clinton won. A CNN insta-poll had two-thirds of respondents say that Clinton won. A PPP poll had Clinton 51-40. Republican strategist Frank Luntz conducted a focus group and 16 said that Clinton won the debate.
Here is how I scored the debate
HILLARY CLINTON: B+
Clinton’s preparation paid off as well as having to only debate one person in all but one of the Democratic primary debates. Participating in that type of debate dynamic probably aided her debate prep better than what Trump endured during the Republican nominating contests.
Trump questioned Clinton about her stamina. Remember, this was a person who traveled to more countries in her four years as Secretary of State, more countries during her eight years as First Lady, and participated in the eleven-hour
kangaroo trial political witch hunt House Benghazi hearing that
Republicans later admitted the panel was only put together to hurt Clinton’s
Despite interruptions from her opponent, Clinton kept her cool and presented her vision for the country; a complete contrast to what Trump is offering.
Here is my critique of Clinton’s debate performance. There some moments where she was slightly hesitant to get her lines out there in that she would be criticized for being too mean to Donald Trump. If I was part of her team for the next debate, I would tell her do not be afraid to attack him, remember what your mother said about how to confront a bully. You go up to them and knock them out.
MODERATOR LESTER HOLT: B
Four years ago, the debate commission brought veteran journalist Jim Lehrer out of retirement to moderate the first debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Not only should have Lehrer stayed in retirement, but it renewed criticisms that the debate moderators were not reflective of the country’s demographics.
It appears that the debate commission yielded somewhat with their moderator selections. Lester Holt of NBC moderated the first debate. The vice-presidential debate will be in Farmville, VA moderated by Elaine Quijano of CBS on 4 October. The second debate on 9 October is moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC and Anderson Cooper of CNN and is a town hall format in St. Louis. The final debate is on 19 October in Las Vegas moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News.
As pointed by the Washington Post, this was not Holt’s first time moderating any type presidential debate. He did moderate a 2016 Democratic primary debate back in January splitting the duties with his fellow NBC News co-worker Andrea Mitchell.
Holt was the first black journalist to moderate a general election presidential debate since Carole Simpson in 1992.
I agree with these reviews from The Atlantic and The New York Times that Holt allowed the two candidates to go at it and interjected when Trump claimed that “Stop & Frisk” was constitutional (it wasn’t), Trump opposed the Iraq War from the beginning (Trump did in a 2002 Howard Stern interview), and that Trump put a stop to the birther controversy after Obama released his birth certificate in 2011 (Trump did not and kept at it for 5 more years).
I too would be nervous if I was moderating a presidential debate but Holt eventually shook off the early jitters and settled in.
The debate commission might have found a new moderator and I would have no objections if Holt was to return for a debate in 2020.
DONALD TRUMP: F
It was obvious that Trump did not prepare for this debate. Another strike against Trump as I previously mentioned, Clinton in all but one of the Democratic debates only faced off against one person. In the Republican debates, Trump was part of
clusterfuck wide field that allowed the Republican clown car
candidates to dog pile on each other while Trump could get in attacks while he could. In a one-on-one debate format, it does not work that way.
Trump would interject while Clinton spoke which I am sure earned him favor with his supporters, but among the nearly 80 million who watched the debate across the four major networks, it did not. I am also certain that continuing to stonewall against releasing his tax returns and disclose his finances is not going over well with the general electorate either.
Trump accused Clinton of airing attack ads against him but for someone who is willing to dish it out he sure cannot take it. Clinton regularly got under Trump’s skin and it showed. And still does nearly a week later.
Remember when Trump criticized Clinton for her taking a few days off from a pneumonia diagnosis? How many times did Trump sniff during the debate? And when will Trump release a medical diagnosis from a CREDIBLE doctor citing his true physical fitness for office?
Trump and his campaign continue to spin that they actually won the debate. That’s laughable. Various state polls released after the debate showed a movement towards Clinton. Public Policy Polling (PPP) found that in Colorado, Clinton leads Trump by 6 in a 4-way race and by 7 with greater than 50% in a head-to-head. Other key swing states - Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia - appear to be trending towards her in polls conducted by PPP.
The first debate showed that Trump was way over his head and is sending shivers through Republicans that their party has nominated someone who is woefully underprepared and dangerously unqualified for the presidency.
Remember in 2012 when Democrats were panicked over Obama’s first debate debacle at Denver University in Colorado? Yes, you do and had to be reminded that the first debate was not the end of the election.
Then came Biden’s hold in the vice-presidential debate, followed by Obama telling Romney to “please proceed Governor”, and then reminding Romney that we have these things called aircraft carriers (I just sunk your battleship, bitch!).
Can you foresee the Trump campaign repairing their candidate’s (several) flaws in the next eight days before Clinton and Trump meet again for a town hall style debate in St. Louis? Obama was able to fix it because 1) he’s Barack Obama, and 2) the Obama campaign was a competent operation.
The Trump campaign is neither competent nor is an operation.
The pressure for the Trump-Pence ticket is for Governor Mike Pence (remember him?) to save the ticket in a similar role that Biden did four years earlier. Ask yourself this question: does Pence strike you as a Biden type up to the task?
The answer is no.
I sense there is a little more confidence in Democrats after the debates.
Perhaps even a shimmy in their step.