Takeaways from first 2016 presidential debate

  • Trump takes the bait

Trump is the self-proclaimed counterpuncher, but it was Clinton whose restraint was on display: She waited for Trump to create an opening before she pounced.

She let moderator Lester Holt grill Trump about his refusal to release tax returns before delivering her own withering assessment of his insistence that a “routine audit” be completed first.


  • Trump’s pitch to blue-collar voters

The CNN said Trump’s brightest spots came early in the debate, when he invoked Clinton’s 2012 praise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as the “gold standard” of trade deals. (Clinton now opposes the deal.)

“You were totally in favour of it,” Trump said. “Then you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, ‘I can’t win that debate.’”

It was part of a theme he worked hard to drive in the debate’s early stages: Clinton, he said, has been in Washington for nearly 30 years, and has done little to improve economic conditions for Americans.


  • They really don’t like each other…

…And it shows. With two debates to go, this is going to get nastier.

A preview of what’s in store came at the end, when Clinton attacking Trump’s treatment of women called him “a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs.”

She said he’d referred to a Latina beauty contestant as “Miss Piggy. Then he called her Miss Housekeeping.”

An agitated Trump twice asked, “Where did you find this?”

The woman, 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado of Venezuela, told The New York Times and “Inside Edition” this year that Trump repeatedly mocked her weight.