Remember the actual TENSION before the debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? There was a tightness in the air, on television and across the Twittersphere.
And it continued for a while — while Trump was calm, Hillary was rattling off her prepared remarks and the everyone was getting in the groove.
Finally we got what was expected: Broad attacks, long-winded defenses and smarmy responses.
And that was just on Twitter!
(ho ho ho)
But the broad consensus is that Trump did well in the first half hour, then Hillary did much better in the final 60 minutes. Instead of attacking Hillary on all the regular recent events, Trump spent the majority of the time defending himself. Hits on emails, Benghazi, servers, Clinton Foundation and “deplorables” all went by the wayside.
Now moderator Lester Holt isn’t innocent in this whole matter. Sure, Trump was Trump and he went down the path that he usually goes down.
But Holt asked the “tough” questions to Trump — and ONLY Trump. He hit him on his taxes, birtherism, argued back and forth on the Iraq war and Hillary’s “look”.
And what did Hillary get from Holt?
You can argue that Hillary kept Trump “on his heels”, etc. etc. and that he should have been more on offense. But when it’s 2 against 1, the game changes.
Could Trump have still hit Hillary harder and better? Of course. But Hillary also had the luxury of no hard questions from the “independent” moderator. And she got to have Holt do the dirty work while she stood by doing her shimmy-dance thing.
Hillary supporters know this happened.
But Holt wasn’t about to end up with the same fate as Matt Lauer — or heck, even Jimmy Falon. So hammer Trump he did.
Debate panelists felt Hillary won easily. But it’s questionable how much “undecideds” watched past the first 30 minutes. The estimation here is that it did little to move the needle much either way.
Feel free to give an edge to Hillary.
Question is, did she need more than that?
Solace for Hillary fans:
A focus group of 29 undecided Ohioans gave it:
Solace for Trump fans:
Same focus group said NONE of the undecideds were moved to one side or the other by the debate.
More on the rest of the politics of the day around 1pm-ish. So come on back.
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