The mornings are chilly, and the leaves slowly start spiraling down to the ground before the fall colors explode across the hills. The gardens are ending their production of crops for the season and the plants are dying before our eyes. The birds are starting their migration south to the warmer weather. Yes, it is the beginning of the last rush to the finish line for all the politicians scrambling to get their final message out before voters opinions are locked in. It is Debate time in America.
The much anticipated confrontation between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump started with the debate at Hofstra University. These two, strong willed people stood on the same platform for 90 minutes without a break to answer the questions fired at them from Lester Holt, the NBC moderator.
Before I get to the candidates, I want to examine the job done by Holt. The moderator pounded Donald Trump on releasing his tax returns, the issue of where Obama was born, Donald Trumps various bankruptcies, a forty year old class action suit on sexism, and his stand on the Iraq war. Holt also told Trump his plan to institute “Stop and Frisk” was ruled un-Constitutional, which it wasn’t. The moderator also told Trump he supported the Iraq war when Trump has opposed it from the beginning.
Lester Holt neglected to ask Hillary Clinton about the Clinton Foundation, immigration, her email server, Benghazi or ObamaCare, all issues Trump talks about on a daily basis. Holt hit all of Hillary’s negative talking points from her half billion dollars in ads so far and neglected to remember to ask Hillary about any of her problems.
Now lets get to the candidates. Neither hit any home runs. It was a night of singles and bunts. There were not any sound bites that will capture the medias attention to dominate the news for a week or two.
Hillary Clinton lasted the complete 90 minutes without having a seizure or coughing spell. She didn’t swear once (probably a record for her) and kept her cool. Hillary even came off as Presidential.
Clinton did not have any tough questions other than a response when Trump mentioned her emails. Holt gave her no follow up question. Because of this Hillary was able to float through the evening without any stress.
Hillary Clinton told several lies that were not fact checked by Holt. He was too busy micromanaging every word Trump uttered. Hillary was not challenged for saying college would be free. She doesn’t mention that the other college costs would continue. She also doesn’t mention that the schools continue to raise their charges each time financing becomes easier. Hillary stated Iran was ready to deploy nuclear weapons when John Kerry negotiated the treaty that stops them from deploying for ten years. Iran is still several years away, but the treaty allows them to continue their development unimpeded. Hillary claimed Trump didn’t pay income taxes. Documents he has released show there were years where this may have been true, but other years where he most certainly did pay taxes. Clinton claimed she was against the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade treaty. I’m sure most of you have seen the tape where she campaigned for the treaty calling it the “Gold Standard” for economic treaties. Holt chose not to challenge Clinton on any of these points.
Many of her answers were answered in a robotic manner. She seemed programed, but knowledgeable with her answers. Hillary never once looked like a bobble head as she has looked on the campaign trail.
Donald Trump had a completely different approach to preparing for this debate. He spent too much time on the campaign trail and not enough on debate prep. I don’t know if it was his handlers or himself, but his lack of preparation was evident.
Because Holt did not bring up any of the Clinton scandals, or fact check any of Hillary’s statements, it was up to Trump to be sharp enough to work those items into the discussions. He was not sharp enough to do that. This made him come off as unprepared for the task at hand.
Donald did not seem to know that the TV audience would spend the evening watching a split screen showing both candidates at all time. Trump made faces while Hillary was talking. This made him look immature and childlike. It was not very Presidential.
Hillary won the debate going away. I do not think any Trump supporters are going to leave him, but I do not think he gained any new supporters. If this type of performance continues through the next two debates we will be saluting the first woman President.
Hillary also failed to close the deal. She seemed mechanical and stoic in her answers. The media is in full drive for Hillary in the post debate discussions. Their influence is now questionable, but there are still plenty of people who follow what they say.
Donald must start listening to his campaign staff and change his debate preparation. If he doesn’t make major changes, he will surely lose in November. Just think what he will be like if he ignores his campaign staff and still wins. This man needs the structure that others bring to the table. His inexperience demands a great staff around him to provide their knowledge to him. Trump has been known to surround himself with the right people. If he doesn’t listen to his campaign staff, will he ever listen to his advisors once in the White House? That’s a scary question.