Second presidential debate rundown

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off in second presidential debate


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump faced off for the second time in the second presidential debate on Sunday night.

CNN reporter Anderson Cooper and ABC Newsreporter Martha Raddatz were moderators for the debate. Audience members asked the candidates several questions during the debate and Cooper and Raddatz asked questions submitted online that received the most votes.

News organizations around the country, including The New York Times, The LA Times, ABC News and CNN are calling last night the “ugliest, nastiest” debate in history. The candidates rarely answered the questions directly and instead focused on attacking their opponent.

Cooper chided Trump several times for interrupting Clinton. Cooper and Raddatz had to ask Trump to answer the question asked many times.

The night ended on a different note, when a man on stage asked the candidates to name one thing they genuinely admired about one another. Clinton said she admired Trump’s children while Trump said he admired Clinton’s “fighter” nature.

Trump tape and Clinton emails

An audience member asked candidates if they felt they were modeling appropriate behavior for today’s youth. After both candidates spoke vaguely about uniting the country, Cooper redirected the question toward Trump. Cooper, referring to audio released Oct. 7, in which Trump spoke about grabbing women’s genitals, asked if Trump realized he had bragged about sexually assaulting women.

Trump responded by saying he had already apologized for his “locker room talk” and wanted to return to other issues, like fighting ISIS.

“I will knock the hell out of ISIS,” Trump said. “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”

Clinton said the tape made Trump unfit to serve.

“With prior Republican nominees for president, I disagreed with them on policies, politics, principals, but I never questioned their fitness to serve,” Clinton said. “Donald Trump is different.”

Trump said Clinton should be more ashamed of the e-mails she deleted off her private server. He promised that if he won the election, he would launch another investigation into her emails.

Trump continued to interrupt, pushing Clinton on the email investigation, until she retaliated.

“Okay, Donald, I know you're into big diversion tonight, anything to avoid talking about your campaign and the way it's exploding and the way Republicans are leaving you,” Clinton said.


Another audience member asked the candidates what they would do to fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act created by the Obama administration. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has been criticized as more expensive, less comprehensive coverage and a burden on small-business owners.

Trump promised to repeal the law and allow health insurance companies to compete freely without any mandated coverage system.

Clinton acknowledged problems with the plan, but said she wants to “keep what’s good” with it and fix what is wrong, rather than repeal it and start all over again.

“Bernie Sanders said Clinton has very bad judgment, this is an example of it,” Trump said.

Trump cited this quote about Clinton’s judgment several times throughout the night.

Muslims in the U.S.

A Muslim-American woman on-stage asked the candidates how they would deal with “Islamophobia” in the U.S. and Trump answered first by saying, “Whether or not we like it, and we can be very politically correct, but whether we like it or not, there’s a problem.”

Trump said Muslims need to report “when they see hatred.”

Trump said his opponent can’t fix the problem without saying the words “radical Islamic terror.”

Clinton said there have been Muslims in the U.S. “since George Washington,” and named the late Muhammad Ali as an example.

Clinton called Trump’s comments about Muslims “dangerous and short-sighted.”

“We are not at war with Islam and it is a mistake and it plays into the hands of the terrorists to act as if we are,” Clinton said.

Wikileaks and taxes

The moderators asked Clinton about part of a recently leaked speech she gave to Wall Street groups, where she advocated politicians having both a “public position and a private position.”

Clinton defended her remarks. She said she was talking about a film about Abraham Lincoln and how she admired his ability to pass the 13th Amendment using different arguments to persuade different parts of Congress.

Clinton then accused Russia of hacking the accounts to influence the election in Trump’s favor.

“Now she’s blaming the lie on the late, great Abraham Lincoln,” Trump said. “That’s one that I haven’t heard.”

The audience roared with laughter and applause.

Trump said he would like to get along with Russia so they could defeat ISIS together, but he does not know Putin or have any business with Russia.

An audience member then asked how the candidates planned to ensure that the most wealthy pay their fair share in taxes. Clinton said she would like to see Citizens United overturned to get “dark money” out of elections. Clinton also promised no increased taxes for anyone that makes less than $250,000 a year.

Trump promised to get rid of “carried interest rates” because they benefit Wall Street and said his opponent would raise “huge” taxes on everyone.

The war in Syria

The moderators asked the candidates what they would do about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo and the escalating war in Syria. They asked if the situation in Syria will be similar to the Holocaust, where the U.S. waited too long to intervene.

Clinton said she would support investigating the Assad regime for war crimes, but would not support any U.S. military intervention in Syria beyond air-strikes. Trump said Aleppo has already fallen.

“I don’t like Russia and Assad, but they are both killing ISIS,” Trump said.

Raddatz asked Trump about his running mate, Mike Pence’s comments about intervention in Syria. Trump says they haven’t spoken and he disagrees with Pence’s remarks.


Another audience member asked if the candidates think they can be a leader for all Americans. Trump brought up Clinton’s comments about Trump supporters as “deplorable.”

Trump questioned how his opponent could be a president for all people when she has already written half of them off. Clinton said she regrets her remarks and she was speaking about Trump’s divisiveness, not his supporters.

Trump blamed Clinton for the divided country and said, “She has tremendous hatred in her heart.”

Supreme Court, energy policy, closing remarks

An audience member asked the candidates what they would look for when selecting a Supreme Court judge. Clinton said she would look for someone who would uphold abortion rights for women, gay marriage rights and someone who would overturn Citizens United.

Trump said he would look for someone who would emulate the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and values the 2nd Amendment and the Constitution.

Another audience member then asked the candidates how we would move toward energy efficiency without hurting the energy industries. Trump said he would revive the energy companies and bring back jobs from China.

Trump also said the EPA under Obama is ruining energy industry.

Clinton responded saying she would continue our energy independence. She said she would move toward cleaner sources, while still taking care of those in coal industries.

Sarah Crowley is the assistant news editor and can be reached at