Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Press Pointed Attacks in Debate

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Good Tuesday morning.
In a relentlessly antagonistic debate, Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton clashed over trade, the Iraq war, his refusal to release his tax returns and her use of a private email server, with Mr. Trump frequently showing impatience and political inexperience as Mrs. Clinton pushed him to defend his past denigration of women and President Obama.
Mr. Trump repeatedly interrupted Mrs. Clinton and at times talked over her throughout the 90-minute debate, making slashing attacks that surely pleased his Republican base but may have been off-putting to women and undecided voters. He also left unchallenged her assertion that he paid no federal taxes for years.
For her part, Mrs. Clinton repeatedly chided Mr. Trump for bungling his facts while accusing him of hiding information about his debts to Wall Street and foreign banks.
Mr. Trump’s strongest moments came early in the evening, when he put Mrs. Clinton on the defensive over her support for free trade agreements that he argues have cost Americans jobs.
But on issues of race and gender, Mr. Trump was less sure-footed. When he was pressed about what he would say to people offended by his years of questions about whether Mr. Obama was born in the United States, Mr. Trump did not respond directly, instead claiming credit for Mr. Obama’s releasing his birth certificate.
“I say nothing because I was able to get him to produce it,” he said of the birth certificate.
Mrs. Clinton also broadened the issue beyond so-called birtherism, which she called a “racist lie,” and accused Mr. Trump of having “a long record of engaging in racist behavior.”
Mr. Trump did little to rebut her charges of racism. He instead said that he had recently watched some of her debates with Mr. Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary and that she had been quite harsh on her then-rival. But Mr. Trump himself repeatedly demeaned Mr. Obama in the debate, at one point telling Mrs. Clinton that he was “your president.”
The debate was like no other in the television era: The first female presidential nominee of a major party facing off against an alpha male businessman with no political experience, both of them world-famous and both of them deeply unpopular, with a potential record-setting audience of 100 million watching and hoping to see their preferred candidate blow the other to smithereens.
Mr. Trump hurled so many accusations at Mrs. Clinton — and with such fervor that he frequently had to sip water — that she found herself saying at one point, I have a feeling that by the end of this evening, I’m going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened.
“Why not?” Mr. Trump shot back.
Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate, held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y, on Monday night. The moderator, Lester Holt of NBC, is at left.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

The Democratic candidate appeared to gain strength as the debate progressed, ultimately beating back Donald J. Trump in the late exchanges.

Gullifty’s, a restaurant in Rosemont, Pa., showed the debate on Monday night. Donald J. Trump said Hillary Clinton lacked the “stamina” to be president.

Mark Makela for The New York Times

Mrs. Clinton, with some help from the moderator, Lester Holt, found her footing during the second half and attacked Mr. Trump on his treatment of women.

Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump on Monday night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., during the first presidential debate.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Our team of reporters fact-checked Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump on the economy, trade and other issues.

Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

The first presidential debate was a lot like the presidential race itself: largely devoid of a way for voters to know who was sticking to the facts.

On the Trail

For their day after, Mrs. Clinton will hold a rally in Raleigh, N.C., and Mr. Trump will be in Melbourne, Fla.
Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia will also be in Florida; Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana has no public events on his schedule.
Lester Holt before Monday’s debate. He told the audience he intended to “facilitate” a conversation.

Lester Holt, Given a Choice Assignment, Opted for Restraint


Mr. Holt often held back during the debate, allowing the two candidates to bicker, but he did reject Donald J. Trump’s claim that he opposed the Iraq war.

Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate.

First Clinton and Trump Debate: AnalysisThe Times analyzed the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump in real time.

Rudolph W. Giuliani on Monday night at Hofstra University before the start of the first presidential debate.

Rudolph Giuliani Says Donald Trump Bit His Tongue Because Chelsea Clinton Was in the Room


Mr. Trump and his surrogates suggested that Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky was fair game in the debate.

Hillary Clinton on Monday night. Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, wrote on Twitter that Mrs. Clinton “has had the best debate training I’ve seen in years.”

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Mrs. Clinton drew praise on social media for her grasp of policy and her preparedness for her first debate with Donald J. Trump.


Hillary Clinton’s odds of winning the election rose from around 63 percent in the minutes before the debate started to 69 percent by the end.

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Hillary Clinton’s lead in national polling is down to about two percentage points.

Theories of the Race: How Solid Is Hillary Clinton’s Lead?


The relatively large number of undecided voters is partly responsible for the volatility in polling and may point to the importance of the debates.

Former President Bill Clinton speaking at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York this month.

Besieged Globalists Ponder What Went Wrong


In a time of rising nationalism, those who see the upside of globalism have become a distinct — and often embattled — tribe.

Constance Todd received a letter notifying her that her name would soon be removed from the list of registered voters, as a result of being convicted of “a felony involving moral turpitude.”

Suit Accuses Alabama of Bias in Law That Bars Some Felons From Voting


Language citing “moral turpitude” is seen as vague and as being applied arbitrarily to disenfranchise black and poor people.

David Wildstein, right, who has pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme to close lanes to the George Washington Bridge, arriving at court on Friday. He returned for more testimony on Monday.

Witness Details Origins of Bridge Plot and Links Scheme to Christie Aides


David Wildstein, the mastermind behind the lane closings, testified that Gov. Chris Christie’s former campaign manager knew about the plan and that it was meant as political retribution.

What We’re Reading Elsewhere

Three newspapers, including The New York Times, wrote articles this weekend accusing Mr. Trump of lying and provided fact-checking and documentation to show their work. Brian Stelter of CNN writes: “In a normal election year this would be extraordinary. On Sunday, editors and reporters at the newsrooms used another word: necessary.”
The New Yorker presents artwork from its archive that tracks its coverage, starting in 1983, of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump.
Many news outlets offered their own fact-checking of the debate, including NPR,Wired and, of course, Politifact.
The Wall Street Journal details the loans to Mr. Trump from his father that were the subject of a point of contention between the candidates Monday night.