Both Trump and Clinton were losers in last debate

Sonia Chopra
Sonia ChopraOct 20, 2016 | 11:20

Both Trump and Clinton were losers in last debate

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump took to the stage for the third and final presidential debate at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

No one won the very contentious debate. It started off with them being polite and professional, but quickly disintegrated into angry exchanges, interruptions and insults.

They scored a few points each with clear pitches to their supporters on the positions they have already spoken on in the past. The issues included taxes, gun rights and immigrants.


The candidates did not shake hands at all, neither in the beginning nor at the end.

Clinton wore white and the internet noted that she had worn red for the first and blue for the second, representing the colours of the American flag.

The moderator was Chris Wallace, a Fox News anchor, who did a good job without help from either candidate to keep the debate on topic. Twitter humorously crowned him the winner of the debate.

There were many key moments that are worth mentioning. The candidates opened with gun and abortion lashes, with Clinton calling for a "liberal" Supreme Court.

There were two ugly moments where the attacks were personal. The first was a minute into the debate, when Trump said Clinton will not win the US election.

While describing her plan to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund social security, Clinton tried to bait Trump for allegedly trying to get out of paying taxes.

"My social security payroll contributions will go up, as will Donald's - if he can't figure out how to get out of it," Clinton said.

Enraged, Trump interrupted her by saying, "Such a nasty woman." Clinton cleverly and wisely chose not to respond.


A particularly stunning moment which drew a collective gasp from the country came when Wallace asked Trump about the peaceful transition into power and whether he would accept the result of the election. "I will look at it at the time. I will keep you in suspense," replied Trump.

He meant he would announce his decision on November 8, the election day, to which Clinton said his comment was "horrifying."

As a democracy, America takes pride in the acceptance of the will of the people and the moment when the losing candidate gracefully concedes the election to the winning candidate is a triumph of all that the country stands for.

Trump's stand is unprecedented in history, as is his stance that if he loses, it would not be his fault. And why? Because the system is "rigged" and he blames the media for "poisoning" the people against him.

Trump didn't forget to throw Clinton under the bus. He said she "should never have been allowed to run for the presidency".

The bias in the media and the election being fixed are two separate issues but Trump tends to mix the two often.


In this final debate, the gloves came off early. They started off with the second amendment of the American Constitution which is the right to bear arms.

Trump accused Clinton of being in favour of abolishing the amendment entirely, which is false. He needs to know that the Democrat has called for background checks and a greater liability for gun manufacturers.

When abortion was discussed, Clinton reaffirmed her position by saying it is "one of the worst possible choices a woman has to make. I do not believe the government should make it."

Trump went for the frightening rhetoric and probably alienated a large group of women voters as he painted a sickening picture: "In the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby right out of the womb, just prior to the birth of the baby."

Trump suggested that abortions can take place just two or three days before birth but that doesn't happen. Most abortions take place early in the pregnancy. One-third of the abortions take place at six weeks or earlier.

Immigration, which is a hotly contested issue in the election, came up too. Trump had a chance to soften his stance on the wall and his attacks on Mexicans but he blew it.

To his credit, he used a Spanish word for the first time but unfortunately as an insult. "We have some bad hombres here and we're going to get 'em out," he said.

On the other hand, Clinton is against federal agents raiding undocumented immigrants' homes and ripping families apart.

Trump reiterated his campaign promise to build a wall between Mexico and the US.

"We have to have strong borders to keep drugs out of the country. I will build a very strong wall. I want to get the drug lords (the bad, bad ones) out of the country."

Trump said Clinton wants "open borders", which is again incorrect. She is in favour of reforms that would let people pass background checks and let people pay back taxes to stay in the country.

She also supports President Barack Obama's executive action to shield some migrants, such as people who were brought to the US as children. In addition to it, she wants to deport people with criminal records.

Syria and Russia were topics that made both candidates defensive.

Trump said Obama and Clinton have brought in "thousands and thousands of people, they have no idea where they come from."

Fact check: Ten thousand refugees came to America in 2016. They were extensively screened in an 18-month process before being allowed entry.

Clinton's measured response was: "We are a nation of immigrants and we are a nation of laws." She also added that "undocumented immigrants are paying more in taxes than Trump".

That fact was checked and it is true that undocumented immigrants pay $11.64 billion in state and local taxes every year.

Russia's hacking into the electorate database came up and Clinton baited Trump by saying he had invited Putin to hack into her campaign website and that he is friends with Putin.

A very ugly final debate. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Trump refuted her claim by saying "She has no idea whether it is Russia, China or someone else."

US intelligence officials have formally accused Russia of hacking Democratic organisations, saying they have "high confidence" that the Kremlin is behind cyber attacks on the US government. Trump has publicly cast doubts on their statements.

When Wallace asked him if he stood with Putin, Trump replied, "Of course I condemn Putin. I don't know Putin. He is not my best friend."

And he could not resist adding that Clinton "doesn't like Putin because he has outsmarted her at every step." They bickered over who was "a puppet" in the election.

Trump kept interrupting Clinton as he has done in the past, with one or two-word retorts like "wrong", "wall", "thank you" and "correct."

The economy was a big chunk of the debate.

Clinton called Trump's plan for the economy a recipe for disaster. "Trump's plan might make us lose 2.5 million jobs because his plan will cut taxes and add many trillion dollars of debt. It will probably lead to another depression," she said.

Trump replied, "Her tax plan is a disaster. We will have a massive tax increase under Hillary's plan."

Clinton responded, "I will not raise taxes on anyone making $250000 or less. Won't add a penny to debt."

They traded insults. Clinton on Trump: "There is only one of us on this stage who has actually shipped to Mexico… that's Donald."

Trump said of Clinton, "She gave us ISIS."

Clinton had the last laugh as she countered with, "when I was in the situation room during the Osama bin Laden raid, he was hosting Celebrity Apprentice."

The issue of multiple women accusing Trump had been the subject of intense media scrutiny. There was a highly publicised interview of Melania Trump with Anderson Cooper that aired hours ago. She said Trump apologised and she forgave him but at the debate, the candidate said he did "not apologise" to his wife.

In fact, Trump said he believes the accusations of groping and sexual assault over the years have come from women paid by Clinton. And "those stories have been largely debunked." That is not true because none of the stories have been proven false.

Clinton said the attacks on women are in keeping with Trump's character. And women are only one of the many sections he attacks.

"He went after a disabled reporter, he went after Mr and Mrs Khan, he want after John McCain, he went after a federal judge," Clinton said.

"Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. I don't think there's a woman anywhere who doesn't know what that feels like. That's who Donald is," she said.

Trump went after the ethics of the Clinton Foundation, calling it a "criminal enterprise."

Although it is true that Clinton Foundation did not disclose financial statements as it should have done, it has also saved lives. It paid for HIV treatment of 11 million people.

Finally, both candidates asked voters to choose them.

"America is great because America is good," said Clinton. She also said "Donald's is a pattern of divisiveness with a very dark vision of our future. This is not who America is."

And she added that "Trump is the most dangerous person to run for president in modern history."

Trump repeated his campaign words, "I will make America great again."

This debate was the last window of opportunity for both candidates to win voters but it is certain they will continue to attack each other for the next 19 days on their campaign stops.

Then America will decide who will lead the country after a historic, eventful, ugly and entertaining election.

Last updated: October 21, 2016 | 14:50
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