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Mace & Crown | April 30, 2017

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Second Presidential Debate in Review

Second Presidential Debate in Review

T.J. Thompson
Contributing Writer

The second of three presidential debates occurred Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The 90 minute verbal scuffle was moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News and Anderson Cooper of CNN with a town hall style format of audience members chosen by Gallup, based upon their undecided voter status.

The first question regarded the content of the previous debate, as well as Trump’s lewd comments released the previous Friday from a 2005 Access Hollywood recording. The lady posing the question was concerned because teachers attempt to use the debate process to teach students civics.

Clinton responded directly to her questioner, stating she wishes to heal the divisions created by this election. She also addressed the fact that she has a solid plan for education. Trump addressed many of his concerns when given an opportunity to speak on this question, yet avoided addressing the original query.

The next inquiry came from Anderson Cooper regarding the numerous questions received online about Trump’s admission to sexually assaulting women and getting away with it because of his privilege.

“No, I didn’t say that at all,” Trump responded. He followed up by stating it was “locker room” talk and claimed people misunderstood his words. Next came deflection, with Trump bringing up ISIS and claiming he has more respect for women than anyone. Trump also said they needed to move on to more important issues than his admission of sexually assaulting women.

Clinton came at this question stating Trump is unfit to serve as president. She solidified her statement with examples of Trump attacking people for their gender, ethnicity, religion and physical appearances and handicaps. This was the first time of the night where Trump attempted to bully the moderators, claiming they were not giving him equal time to defend his remarks.

Trump then pointed out he had invited guests who accused Sec. Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, of sexual misconduct and another woman who lost a case against her alleged rapist with Sec. Clinton as the defense attorney. Clinton’s response to this situation was a quote from current First Lady Michelle Obama, “When they go low, you go high.”

Trump attempted to attack Clinton regarding a recent WikiLeaks drop of some of her campaign emails. He even threatened to assign a prosecutor to investigate her use of a private email server as Secretary of State. Clinton has been investigated by the FBI and they found insufficient evidence to charge her with a crime.

On the topic of the Affordable Care Act, Sec. Clinton said we need to keep the portions that are working and fix what isn’t. Trump’s response was to repeal the entire plan and begin anew.

Shifting the conversation, a Muslim woman then asked about the treatment of Muslims in the U.S. Trump’s remarks backfired on social media when he said Muslims need to report fellow Muslims for suspicious activity. Sec. Clinton directly addressed the woman’s concerns, stating it is time to end the division over religion in this country.

The next round of questions was on economics. When questioned about how he would reform the IRS code, he stated he would lower taxes and his opponent would raise them. Trump’s plan has been said to give the most-wealthy the biggest tax breaks and only save the government around one percent from where it is currently. Clinton’s tax plan would raise taxes on the wealthy and not impact the economy as much as the Trump plan. Trump took the tax conversation as an opportunity to attack Clinton on her time in the U.S. Senate. He questioned why she did not introduce legislation to reform the tax code.

Although there were questions regarding other important issues such as the human rights crisis in Syria and Congress blocking Obama’s Supreme Court justice nominee, the debate seemed to hone in on the divisiveness between the two candidates. Trump kept complaining he was not being given equal time to speak, although post-debate analysis showed he actually spoke for slightly more time than his opponent.