Coverage of Presidential Debate #1


Nate (13:11): After reviewing the debate topics from (,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=66&cntnt01origid=93&cntnt01detailtemplate=newspage&cntnt01returnid=80) it seems as though the topics will be America’s Direction, Achieving Prosperity, Securing America. These vague topics may make it easier for Trump, who in previous debates was not forced to give concrete details or policies. This may make it easier for him to continue to push his promises. However, the Hillary camp will probably go after Trump, and fact check him on just about everything. This is part of her plan to get under his skin and get him angry. Trump needs to keep his cool and get above Hillary’s attacks if he wants to be in control of the debate. Trump does not have the highest bar to surmount when it comes to doing well here – he will probably only have to act presidential tonight. Trump may be helped if the moderator, Lester Holt, does not fact check Trump either. This could force Hillary into the look of a politician, something that has hurt her in this campaign of outsiders.


Qiwi (13:13): Just looking at the topics, there are a few clear hurdles Hillary will have to surpass to win the debate. Most prevalent is security. Trump, with his history of strong views on immigrants of the Islamic faith, may have an easier time inciting the support of voters recently shaken by the attacks in New York and New Jersey ( Hillary has received harsh media criticism for her alleged handling of confidential government emails on a private server. News sources have spun the story as an attack both on Hillary’s accountability and on her capacity to protect national security and handle crucial, potentially damning information. It will likely come down to Hillary’s ability to avoid being pinned down by Trump as “Weak on terror” or “An ISIS sympathizer.” However, this being the national stage, Trump may feel an obligation to exhibit restraint in his handling of this issue to avoid alienating Muslim and left-leaning voters. Another big issue will undoubtedly be economic issues, with Trump’s big goal being to keep Hillary from pulling working-class white voters into the democratic base. Flashpoints may include coal, Hillary’s campaign donations’ origins, and grand tax plans.


Nate Kramer (19:46): Right before the debate starts, there are some things we need to set forth: Neither Kevin nor I are going to be subjective in our commentary of this debate. We will try to fact check as well as possible, and as unbiasedly as possible.


Nate Kramer (19:52): Here is what each candidate must do to win:

  • Hillary: Hillary needs to act less robotic and more human in these debates. She cannot afford to be an Al Gore and be condescending. She has to trump Trump not only on policy and factual truth, but also humanity and likeability. If she acts robotic and does not do a good job of pushing the email scandal under the rug, then she may very well end up not only losing the debate, but letting Trump control the dialogue until at least the second debate. The constituencies she needs to reach will be middle class white voters.
  • Trump: Trump needs to not only reign in his perceived abrasive personality but also walk back many of the perceived racist comments he has made in the past. It will be telling to the rest of the campaign season how Trump reacts to the accusations of racism and sexism from Hillary. He needs to go against the idea that he is not only badly tempered, but thin skinned. Trump needs to reach out to the suburban male voters who may be turned off by some of his comments.

Nate Kramer (20:04): The debate is about to start. Let’s go.


Kevin Qi (20:00): Time for American politics to shine? Let’s find out


(20:00) Achieving prosperity


Nate Kramer: eh

NK (20:05): They said hi. That was nice.


KQ (20:05):

  • Issues
    • Income inequality
    • Growth
  • Clinton
    • Clinton starts off with an appeal to families, especially the balance between work and family obligations (Paid family leave).
    • Clinton proposes a proportional tax on the wealthy to fund her proposals, including support of small businesses and green technology development
  • Trump
    • An appeal to job exportation marks the beginning of Trump’s speech. Mexico. China. Ideas Trump has reiterated countless times in the past few months, including suspected Chinese currency manipulation and illegal immigration.
    • Trump makes a clear appeal to the American worker’s fear of jobs and companies stolen away by foreign economies
    • Trump clarifies that he resonates with Clinton on many domestic economic and social issues. Including healthcare, in many areas besides specific numbers
    • ( It is undeniable that illegal immigrant workers can undercut low-wage American jobs and put extra weight on social security services and public institutions like schools. However, there is also clear evidence that the jobs performed by illegal immigrants can actually increase specialization by providing a stable base of workers who support basic infrastructure. Furthermore, illegal immigrants as consumers also increase the GDP of the nation and lower the cost of goods like buildings and plumbing which allow for small businesses like restaurants to propagate quickly. However, Trump’s choice of this issue will have incredible weight among low-education white voters who often live next to more violent immigrant communities.

KQ (20:10):

  • Clinton
    • Clinton characterizes Trump’s economic plan as trickle-down economics (essentially, an input of wealth into the upper economic echelons will spill down and benefit less wealthy workers, especially the middle class). She makes an appeal to middle class workers. This seems to be a pivot to capture the vote of the middle and working classes.
  • Trump
    • Trump criticizes Clinton’s past ideas concerning trade deals and the economy, blaming her for America’s debt.
    • However, he maintains a friendly tone, with a dollop of sarcasm, towards Clinton, specifically stressing how he wants her ‘to be happy’
      • This will undoubtedly support his move towards moderation (temperament)


NK (20:07): As someone who likes to see new ideas for the economy, seeing how each candidate approaches the topic of entrepreneurship and technology in the economy will be interesting to me at least.

NK (20:08): The appeal to voters “I hope I can gain your vote” is very telling of how she may approach the debate.

NK(20:09): Donald is once again going to his trademark adjectives. He is giving a more bleak view of the world than Hillary did. She gave more ideas and Trump is giving more actualities about what may be happening.

NK(20:10): Trump is talking about his tax plan. Lowering by taxes by 35% sounds great. But what is Trump cutting back on?

NK(20:11): Trump’s poker face is on.

NK(20:12): Hillary is pulling out the ole “my father was a middle-class man” card.

NK(20:12): How will Trump tell us how we are going to bring back jobs? Especially low paying jobs that will not benefit American workers? He’ll re-negotiate trade deals. To what? What will bringing back the sweatshop job do for the US worker?


(20:15) Achieving prosperity


NK(20:15): I missed the past three minutes. Has he given any specifics for how he will get jobs back?

NK(20:16): “That’s called business by the way” is not a good way to talk to the American worker who lost everything in the 2009 collapse.

NK(20:16): “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy,” Trump said in a 2006 audiobook from Trump University according to CNN (

NK(20:20): Are we in debt $20 trillion? No, in fact we are only about $1.3t in debt to China, and $5t in debt to other countries in total, including China. (Chart: Who Does the U.S. Gov’t Owe $17 Trillion To? |
NK(20:22): Fact Check – Hillary – Would Trump’s plan lose 3.4 million jobs? Maybe. But then again, probably not. (

NK: Has Hillary been fighting ISIS her whole adult life? That would be incredible.

NK: Is Douglas MacArthur a good general? Maybe.

NK(20:29): Hillary’s attack on Trump just now was not a good idea.


KQ (20:10):

  • Clinton
    • Clinton leverages the opinion of analysts and appeals to voters’ logos, pointing out the increases in national debt which would result from Trump’s tax plan (5 Trillion dollars)
    • Clinton stresses her specificity and cites specific examples, such as solar panel installations.
  • Trump
    • ‘Solar company investment has been a disaster’
    • Trump keeps bringing the issues Clinton discusses back to jobs. He specifically references Michigan and Ohio, a key state in the upcoming election

KQ (20:20):

  • Clinton
    • Clinton’s strong on globalization
    • Hard hitting criticism. Clinton states that Donald “lives in [his] own reality”
  • Trump
    • Points out contradictions in Clinton’s past position on NAFTA and her current opinion concerning that and other trade deal[s]
    • According the the Economic Policy Institute, Globalization has, on balance, decreased relative wages for non-college educated American voters (a large portion of Trump’s voter base). This may be a smart move by the business mogul in securing base loyalty (

KQ (20:25):

  • Clinton
    • Clinton’s continual emphasis on taxing the wealthy to support small businesses seems to slightly miss the audience she needs to win: working-class white citizens ( who usually take government or corporate infrastructure jobs.
    • The debate begins to get quite heated as the focus turns to Trump’s specific tax proposals. Clinton has historically done well by pinning her opponents down on individual issues.
  • Trump
    • ISIS


(20:30) Achieving prosperity


KQ (20:30):

KQ (20:35)

  • Clinton
    • Her message? Trump’s tax returns are suspicious, he’s uncharitable, not nearly as rich as he seems, prove he hasn’t actually paid taxes, and should be made public
    • ‘Trump has a responsibility to disclose to Americans to whom he owes money’
    • Emails: “I made a mistake,” No excuses. Clinton takes full responsibility, and Trump takes the opportunity (See below)
      • Clinton’s handling of emails on a private server was undoubtedly irresponsible. Some would argue that the issue has been overblown, but US cybersecurity has become a much larger, tenser issue. Is honest admittance of a mistake sufficient to convince voters to forget this blunder when one in competing for the highest office in America?
    • Clinton now makes a strong turn to American working-class voters. She talks about how his business “stiffed” thousands of workers without so much as an apology. The metaphor of the suffering, hard-working American laborer is invoked, and the political hammer falls.
  • Trump
    • Emails: “More than a mistake”
    • ‘We made huge problems by wasting money in the Middle East and becoming a “debtor nation” to Syria’ ‘You and your policies have wasted American money’
    • Trump interrupts Clinton again and again
      • Hillary is interrupted a total of 70 times during the debate, while Donald is only interrupted 47. Seems to send a worthy message…

KQ (20:40)

  • Trump
    • “We used certain laws” to promote our business


NK(20:30): Is the Fed political? Depends on what you want to call politics.

NK(20:32): Trickle down has not worked, according to multiple sources. (The “trickle down theory” is dead wrong – Jun. 15, 2015 – CNN Money) (Trickle-Down Economics: Four Reasons Why It Just Doesn’t Work …)

NK(20:33): Is a trade deficit bad? (Trade Deficit Myths – WSJ)

NK(20:34): Why hasn’t Trump released his tax returns? Why hasn’t Hillary released her emails? Probably for the same reason.

NK(20:35): Is Trump not paying taxes smart or illegal? Illegal, definitely, smart? Try selfish.

NK(20:36): Is Trump $650 million in debt? (Report: Donald Trump’s companies at least $650 million in debt – CBS …)

NK(20:36): Can a mistake be done on purpose?

NK(20:37): A Clinton staffer did plead the fifth – 125 times (Judicial Watch: Clinton IT staffer pleads 5th 125 consecutive times … )

NK(20:39):Trump has to do more than say he’s good at Micro economics. This country is run on macro, a completely different field of study.

NK(20:40): Once again, we owe $17 trillion, not $20 trillion.

NK(20:41): We have spent nearly $6 trillion on the Middle East. And yet our roads are falling apart. ( (

NK(20:41): Did Trump say he would negotiate debt? Not really. (

NK(20:42): Is it all words and soundbites? Most business leaders haven’t done too well as President. Take Hoover for example.


(20:45) Police shootings and Brutality towards African Americans


KQ (20:45)

  • Clinton
    • Her community-based, anti-gun-proliferation, police-training centered approach strikes a careful balance between a moderate and far left
    • Stop and Frisk is ineffective and unconstitutional
    • African American and Latino communities are vibrant, and the community is the inroads to solving the problem. Trump and Clinton both agree on this, but Clinton seems to distance herself from Trump’s somewhat “outsider” view of how to establish stability in these communities using “law and order”
    • Clinton’s emphasis on addressing systemic racism is a nod to the minority voters who give her an edge in the election
  • Trump
    • “Inner-city African Americans and Hispanics are living in hell”
    • Law and Order
      • Is it really that useful? Does it breed strife in communities? Would community policing work better?
    • Stop and Frisk
    • Community relations
      • Trump shows voters that he is indeed moderating by agreeing with and indeed supplanting Clinton’s emphasis on community relations, while pushing his own views on “Law and order” in poorer African American communities where police violence is prevalent


NK(20:45): How will Hillary restore trust? How will she train cops? Does Hillary get a say on this? Not really. That’s local, not federal.

NK(20:46): The gun issue. Does Hillary want to take your guns? According to her, only the bad guys’ guns. But who are the bad guys? Political dissidents? And yes, guns do kill more young African-Americans than other causes. (

NK(20:47): Trump’s response here will be very important – he is not reaching out to black voters, of which he has 1%, he is reaching out to suburban whites put out by his comments about race.

NK(20:47): Saying gun violence is Obama’s fault is like saying a firefighter without a hose is to blame for a burning house.

NK(20:49): Trump wants to bring back “stop-and-frisk” because it works. But does it? According to the Washington Post, which says “Crime experts completely disagree on whether it has an impact on crime, and it is disproportionately used in minority communities almost everywhere it’s used.” And stop and frisk is unconstitutional. This is a major theme of the Trump presidential candidacy – a lot of what he will say may work in theory and maybe even on paper, but it is unlawful, will affect minorities disproportionately, and in the long term will not work out.

NK(20:49): So far neither Hillary nor Trump have given specifics about how to control race relations.

NK(20:49): Stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional, however the judge was considered for removal from the case because of her lack of impartiality.

NK(20:49): Hillary Clinton’s plan of taking away the guns from the people who shouldn’t have them has been attacked by Trump multiple times, yet here Trump is embracing it. However, this plan is questionable in the long term – who are the people who shouldn’t have guns?

NK(20:52): Hillary’s speech about prisons is a crucial policy point to African-Americans. Not only are “tough-on-crime” laws a lot harder on minorities, they also fill up prisons and waste money.

NK(20:53): Once again, who is a “terrorist”?

NK(20:56): This debate is highlighting the few similarities they have.

NK(20:57): Murder rates have continued to fall under Mayor de Blasio (Crime in New York City – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) but this talk about law and order is really unnecessary. What can these candidates actually do? A lot of these problems are more than just stopping gun violence – they are systemic problems that have persisted throughout our history that need to be fixed at the local level.

NK – this debate feels better when they agree and are kind to each other.


(21:00) Birth certificate


NK(21:00): This again? Can we get back to what matters please? (

NK(21:01): Trump wants to get onto  important things? He stayed on the topic for five years.

NK(21:02): If he’s black, he’s gotta be from Africa. The lie was a racist lie that was not at all done for the president and our country.

NK(21:05): Didn’t Obama go after Trump at the Correspondence Dinner?

NK(21:05): Look, both of these candidates are not what they say they are.

NK(21:06): “it was very easy to do” apparently, Donald Trump says, about getting away with not allowing African-Americans into his buildings as renters.

NK(21:06): Trump and Bernie both love cows so much they call Muslims “Mooslims”.

NK(21:07): It seems as though Trump was about to let loose a primary style remark against Clinton about his praise for Putin. Maybe “wrong”? Don’t lie through your teeth.

NK(21:09): He only has 88 admirals and generals endorsing him.

NK(21:10): Wait, I feel offended! Not all computer geeks weigh 400 pounds!

NK(21:11): Taking a moment to reflect, I feel as though the debate has been very short on details. It’s just the same broad ideas as the rest of their speeches. No details on policies.

NK(21:12): Hillary’s plan to defeat ISIS is “we’ve got to defeat ISIS” and Trump’s is “we’ve got to bomb ISIS”.

NK(21:13): Trump is right – Obama and Hillary’s decision to pull out of Iraq so abruptly and with the job unfinished created the vacuum for ISIS. But taking away the oil from Iraq would not have just stopped ISIS from evolving – it would have destroyed the economy of Iraq for generations, creating a vacuum that may have ended up creating a Syria in Iraq.

NK(21:15): Time for me to sign off – one thing I’ve taken away from this debate is that we can take away nothing more than before.


KQ (21:00)

  • Clinton
    • The audience laughs as Clinton frames Trump’s pressure on Obama to release his birth certificate as racist and ridiculous. I may be wrong, but it seems like a pretty clear effort to appear more human. Is Clinton’s emphasis on Obama’s dignity when he was under fire from Trump an effort to promote party unity?
      • So Clinton’s previous disrespect for Obama when she was campaigning against him is just going to go unnoticed?
  • Trump
    • ‘Birther was important and necessary’
      • Was it? Was there legal precedent?

KQ (21:05)

  • Clinton
    • Cybersecurity
      • Russia enters the field of discussion. Clinton mentions Trump (and his campaign)’s connection to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Recent reports from media outlets often suggest an overly warm relationship between the two.
      • Clinton brings up an important question. Is Donald Trump prepared to handle an international crisis on the scale of an interstate cybersecurity attack?
  • Trump
    • Cybersecurity
      • The DNC hack exposed bias against Bernie Sanders within the democratic party
      • Trump has a small son who’s good with computers. That’s legitimately humanizing.

KQ (21:10)


(21:15) Security


KQ (21:15)

  • Trump
    • “We have to knock the hell out of ISIS”
    • Important: Did Obama’s withdrawal from the Middle East allow ISIS to form?
    • Trump is very persistent on how “against the war” he was. Donald Trump never openly opposed the invasion of Iraq.

KQ (21:20)

  • Clinton
    • Iran Sanctions
    • Clinton provides an arguably strong example of her diplomatic prowess. She did have a significant part in setting sanctions on Iran to facilitate nuclear negotiations.
    • Clinton again brings up a hugely important question: Does Trump really have the capacity to handle crises in a mature enough manner to prevent outright war? She brings up his loose attitude towards nuclear proliferation as an example of this inability to address problems seriously or to maneuver around the international political stage.
      • Perhaps another question. Is Clinton unpredictable? If she is predictable, can the world trust her to act with caution, or will she make gravely mistaken decisions as she has done so many times in the past?
  • Trump
    • Trump paints Nuclear weapons and war as a far greater problem than climate change. This is a particularly smart move given his controversial views on global warming ( and how the United States should address that problem as compared to his strength, at least among voters, on security issues.
    • Agrees with Clinton on the importance of honoring defense commitments with nations like Japan
      • How will the world be able to predict and respond to Trump’s actions and words when he is introduced into an environment of complex, difficult issues like the Syrian conflict and North Korea?


(21:30) Security


KQ (21:30)

KQ (21:35)

  • Clinton
    • Clinton hits him hard on his conflagrating remarks concerning women’s’ appearances. This is as much an appeal to the female vote as it is an attack on Trump’s public image
  • Trump
    • Hillary’s ads are the meanest things in this election? What was ‘Crooked Hillary’ all about

KQ (End) Support outcome of elec?

  • Clinton
    • I support the republic
    • Appeals to voters and their view of families and country’s future
  • Trump
    • “I want to make America great again”
    • A change of tone near the end. Apparently, he would indeed support her fully if she won the election.





  • Overview: I have to commend both candidates on being able to find points of agreement and (for the most part) avoid the churlish commentary flung from both sides of the campaign trail for the majority of the race. However, it does strike me how the debate somewhat dissolved near the end, as the candidates began to jab more precise criticisms of each other’s actions and became a bit more rushed in their answers. The audience got noticeably more involved during this portion, as applause and protest seemed to erupt at every other remark from the two polarizing figures on-stage. This fact – that the latter and more heated part of the debate seemed to engross more listeners – pushes me to predict the outcome to be in Hillary’s favor. The fact is that Trump did quite well in the beginning of the debate. Perhaps he was even winning. Despite Hillary’s initial efforts to make her economic plans seem family-oriented, Trump was able to re-iterate several of his (and the public’s) most pressing concerns. Hillary did a great job of staying on topic and making sure her main ideas were heard by the American people.
  • Issue by issue
    • Trade agreements
    • Tax plan
    • Terror
    • Police shootings


NK(09:35): After reviewing the debate in my head for the last night, I found it thoroughly disappointing. Although many people are saying Hillary won, it feels as though she missed an opportunity. There are a lot of times when Hillary could have gone on the offensive against Trump, however she didn’t and let him talk over Mr. Holt and herself, many times being factually incorrect. For someone who actually focuses on facts and fact-checked this debate, Hillary probably won. Yet for someone who is undecided between which candidate is the lesser of two evils, it was a draw. For a Trump supporter, Trump probably did pretty well, although he could have done much better. He died in the end and Hillary really shined in the second half of the debate, but Trump did a good job by being kind and respectful to Hillary and letting her jabs and side comments towards him seem petty and unnecessary. This is why I think Hillary barely won. If she had been on the attack more in policy and less on character, then she could have really done a good job as portraying Trump as unfit. However, she let him get away with a lot of factually incorrect statements and instead went for plenty of snarky remarks toward him and his business. What will this do for her? Maybe undermine the “Trump” image, but if Hillary comes away from this debate even one or two points ahead of Trump, it will be fortuitous.