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The Lion's Tale

Real-time reactions to the third presidential debate

Reporters+Ilan+Cohen+and+Sara+Sporkin.+
Reporters Ilan Cohen and Sara Sporkin.

Reporters Ilan Cohen and Sara Sporkin.

photos by Arielle Weinstein and Dahlia Lehman

photos by Arielle Weinstein and Dahlia Lehman

Reporters Ilan Cohen and Sara Sporkin.

Ilan Cohen and Sara Sporkin

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Reporters Sara Sporkin and Ilan Cohen share their real-time reactions to the third presidential debate.

Ilan

Pre-Debate: I’m wondering if there is going to be a handshake tonight. I’m assuming not.

Sara

Pre-debate: According to a CNN update on my phone, “Clinton will try to stay out of the mud.” Both candidates have invited guests, including Obama’s half-brother and Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith who was killed in Benghazi, for Trump and Mark Cuban and Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman for Clinton.

Ilan

9:04 p.m.: No handshake again. They didn’t get near each other which was surprising.

Sara

9:05 p.m.: No handshake again. First question is about the direction the Supreme Court will take the country and whether the Constitution is up for interpretation.

Clinton responds that the Supreme Court should stand up for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and reverse Citizens United. It’s funny since she opposed gay marriage until 2013 and Citizens United is about her.

Ilan

9:05 p.m.: Clinton already playing the “women’s rights” and “LGBTQ rights” cards, very quickly. Her answer that the Supreme Court should be for Americans is good, but generic. Nothing new.

Sara

9:08 p.m.: Trump: “The Supreme Court — it’s what it’s all about.” Also says that the Second Amendment is under siege and is important to uphold.

Ilan

9:08 p.m.: Trump believes that he is going to win. Obviously he is saying this because this is what a candidate says, but he doesn’t acknowledge his slipping in the polls. I’m interested to see how he handles that later.

9:10 p.m.: Clinton says she supports the Second Amendment, immediately following with, “I lived in Arkansas.” Are those really directly correlated?

Sara

9:15 p.m.: Question for Trump about overturning Roe v. Wade. He avoids answering by saying the case would go back to the states. Chris Wallace eventually gets him to say that his appointed justices would be pro-life and overturn Roe v. Wade.

Ilan

9:17 p.m.: In the abortion field, Hillary is destroying. Donald Trump seemed to be stuttering around a bit and was attempting to be vague and avoid questions. Hillary was on point with her arguments. She laid out her opinion and backed it up well — very presidential.

Sara

9:17 p.m.: Trump rightfully hits Clinton about late-term abortions. She responds that the government should not interfere in these decisions but does not deny that she thinks babies can be aborted until the day they are born.

Ilan

9:18 p.m.: “You can rip the baby out of the womb the day before it’s born.” That’s just not really what happens. Good move Donald.

9:20 p.m.: I feel like the endorsement from border protection agents will go to the candidate that has the strongest stance against illegal immigration. Obviously Trump takes that. That isn’t much of an achievement considering he has no real plan as to how the wall is going to be built.

Sara

9:21 p.m.: Trump talks about strengthening the border in respect to stopping drugs from coming into our country. He also says that ICE endorsed him. They can’t because they are a government agency, but 5,000 immigration agents did. Close enough to the truth for Trump, I guess?

Ilan

9:23 p.m.: Hilary using the idea of deportation by train is a pretty powerful image. Well said.

Sara

9:23 p.m.: Clinton gives an example of girl she met in Las Vegas. It’s a good reminder that she can interact with other humans.

9:25: Trump says that Clinton voted for “The Wall™” in 2005 but can never get anything done.

Ilan

9:25 p.m.: “… president of Mexico is a very nice man.” Actually, Trump did not have a very good meeting with the president of Mexico.”

9:27 p.m.: “Bigly” or “Big league?”

Sara

9:27 p.m.: Trump still hasn’t realized “bigly” isn’t a real word.

Ilan

9:28 p.m.: Oh here we go …

Sara

9:28 p.m.: Clinton looks happy that she can name-drop two Republican presidents without calling Republicans her enemies.

Ilan

9:29 p.m.: Trump just called out Hillary for pivoting the question? That never happens with him. I mean, really?

Sara

9:30 p.m.: Trump compliments Clinton on her pivot off of the immigration question. It takes one to know one.

Ilan

9:31 p.m.: Hillary just accused Trump of supporting espionage. Wow.

Sara

9:31 p.m.: Clinton accuses Trump of being a puppet for Putin. He comes back with the substantive response, “No, you’re the puppet!”

Ilan

9:32 p.m.: Trump is just doubting facts at this point. He keeps talking about how Putin keeps outsmarting her.

Sara

9:33 p.m.: Trump keeps repeating that Putin has outsmarted Clinton and Obama.

Ilan

9:34 p.m.: The first “wrong” interjection. Classic.

Sara

9:37 p.m.: Moving on the economy. Clinton wants women to get equal pay for equal work. Fact Check: They already do.

9:40 p.m.: Trump spends the first part of his answer talking about NATO and says that they have to pay up. Apparently, he will make them pay up. He also talks about lowering taxes and renegotiating NAFTA.

Ilan

9:42 p.m.: Hillary Clinton is doing a great job so far. She says that she won’t raise taxes for families making less than $250,000 a year.

Sara

9:42 p.m.: Clinton: “Let me translate that for you, if I can.”  Trump: “You can’t.”

Ilan

9:44 p.m.: Did Trump just agree with a question? Literally in the middle of a question to Clinton, he just said “Correct.” Good observation Mr. Trump.

9:45 p.m.: I’m very disappointed that she abandoned “Trumped-up trickle-down.”

Sara

9:46 p.m.: Running for president has been “a great education” for Trump. Well, I’m glad someone is enjoying this election.

Ilan

9:46 p.m.: The job report that Trump just cited actually shows that the unemployment rate has risen 0.1 percent this month. Has he ignored the fact that the unemployment rate has gone down by 2.8 percent since President Obama was elected.

Sara

9:49 p.m.: Trump says that Clinton has more experience than he does, but it’s “bad experience.” He keeps repeating that she is all talk and no action.

Ilan

9:49 p.m.: Trump totally disregarded the fact that he was using foreign steel in his building.

Sara

9:51 p.m.: Clinton compares her experience with Trump’s. Trump, of course, has to defend his business. This is dangerous territory considering he spent most of the first debate trying to defend himself and not focusing on actual issues.

9:53 p.m.: Chris Wallace asks about the sexual assault allegations against Trump. He says that Clinton’s campaign put the women up to it. He then pivots to talk about the Project Veritas videos.

9:55 p.m.: Clinton says that Trump responded to the allegations by insulting the women’s appearances. But Clinton talking about helping women is ridiculous considering she dragged her husband’s accusers through the mud. Both of these people can be wrong and horrible at the same time.

Ilan

9:57 p.m.: Trump just claimed that Clinton is responsible for violence at his rallies.

Sara

9:57 p.m.: Trump says that the allegations have been debunked and talks about Hillary’s emails.

9:59 p.m.: Clinton says that Trump’s campaign has incited violence at his rallies. Trump correctly points out some of this was started by her campaign. He also says he would love to talk about ISIS. Based on his pivots from the last debate, we know…

10:01 p.m.: Clinton says that the Clinton Foundation has helped thousands of people get treatment for HIV/AIDS. It has also helped her become a multimillionaire after a life of working for the government.

10:02 p.m.: Trump says that the Clintons have taken money from countries that push gay people off buildings and that she should give the money back. Not a bad idea.

Ilan

10:04 p.m.: And here come the tax returns …

Sara

10:05 p.m.: Trump says that Hillary’s donors do the same things he does to avoid paying income taxes and that she didn’t change the law because she benefits from it.

Ilan

10:05 p.m.: Did he just say Warren Buffett took massive tax cuts? Buffett just released his tax records to show that he doesn’t even use all the loopholes he is able to use.

Sara

10:07 p.m.: Trump says he may not accept the outcome of the election if Clinton wins. He’s down by six and a half points in the latest RealClearPolitics average with 20 days until the election. I think he needs to accept it.

Ilan

10:07 p.m.: Trump just said that he may not support the peaceful transition of power.

10:09 p.m.: I feel like we should leave the Emmys out of this.

Sara

10:09 p.m.: Clinton says that Trump claimed the Emmy voting was rigged when he didn’t win one. He says he should have won it. Why… Why would you say that …

10:16 p.m.: Clinton tells people to Google “Donald Trump Iraq.” I guess her website is no longer a fact checker?

Ilan

10:16 p.m.: “Wrong.” “Wrong.” “Wrong.”

Sara

10:17 p.m.: Trump mentions WikiLeaks but doesn’t mention any of the important information. Opts to quote John Podesta and Bernie Sanders about Clinton’s judgement instead.

Ilan

10:17 p.m.: Oh my lord.

Sara

10:18 p.m.: What is Aleppo?

10:19 p.m.: Trump: “Have you SEEN what happened to Aleppo?” Wallace: “Can I finish my question?”

Ilan

10:19 p.m.: Hillary looks tired and bored — must be the dementia.

10:21 p.m.: The Daily Show is live streaming candles and a small fountain on the side.

Sara

10:25 p.m.: When asked why both the campaigns have been ignoring the debt, Trump says that it’s because he will create “tremendous” jobs. Well, I’m relieved.

Ilan

10:28 p.m.: Closing with the national debt was a good final topic. Honestly, there isn’t going to be too much conflict here. They both agree they shouldn’t raise it. They both want to lower it. Good.

Sara

10:29 p.m.: Trump says he disagreed with Ronald Reagan on trade. Trump’s proposed trade tariff’s are one of his worst policies.

Ilan

10:29 p.m.: “Can I respond?” “Well, no.” Continues to respond anyway …

Sara

10:31 p.m.: Trump wants to repeal and replace “Obamacare” but does not specify what the replacement would be. He has previously said that he would replace it with single-payer healthcare. What…?

Ilan

10:32 p.m.: Trump just called Clinton, “such a nasty woman.” There is nothing okay about that, however, she really is not answering the question.

Sara

10:32 p.m.: Trump calls Clinton a nasty woman.

Ilan

10:33 p.m.: Trump just said, “your husband disagrees with you,” but doesn’t his own running mate disagree with him?

10:33 p.m.: Oh this is exciting. One minute only to give an impromptu closing speech.

Sara

10:35 p.m.: Clinton gives a bland, vanilla answer for her final answer. Trump goes after Clinton and says that he will help minorities more than she ever has. He ends by saying that a Clinton presidency will be four more years of Obama’s policies.

Ilan

10:35 p.m.: Her speech was not that bad. It wasn’t inspiring. It wasn’t anything new. She was fine overall.

10:35 p.m.: His speech seems to just be him complaining about our country. “I will do more for the African-Americans and Latinos than she can ever do in 10 lifetimes.”

Sara

10:37 p.m.: The debate is over. They still didn’t shake hands.

Final Thoughts: I thought Chris Wallace did a good job moderating. He asked both the candidates questions about their various scandals and didn’t interrupt them. Trump was much calmer than he normally is. Overall, this seemed like the most civil, policy-oriented debate of the three, even though the candidates did insult each other and avoided answering many of the questions. Oh well.

Ilan

Final thoughts: Just from the outside without much thought, Trump was much better. He mostly kept his cool, relative to the other debates. The debate was almost normal. I don’t believe that this debate will swing that many votes, but overall he was better. He sounded better in the moment, but did not always have as much substance in his comments. To claim that the elections are rigged and that he will not support the results of the election will not benefit him. It will be his downfall.

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