With quite a few people of note in the audience (A, B, and C-list)— including Wayne Newton, Scott Baio, Ted Danson, Dr. Ben Carson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jesse Jackson, Cecile Richards, and Mark Cuban—the third and final presidential debate at UNLV had the air of a prize-fight.
And why not? Sure, both “The Donald,” who said “disaster” 30 million times, and “Hillary,” dressed in all white like a Black church mother, stuck to their talking points, but for the first time, it felt like a real debate. Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton gave detailed answers regarding their views on everything from the Second Amendment and gun control, to abortion and immigration and defense.
Yes, all the news reports today will be talking about how Trump said he may or may not accept the election results, but herewith this hack’s top 5 moments of the final presidential debate.
1. Donald Trump just can’t NOT dog whistle.
Very early into the debate, after moderator Chris Wallace asked a question about the Second Amendment and gun laws, Trump brought up Chicago and its murder rate, saying, “Well, let me just tell you before we go any further, in Chicago, which has the toughest gun laws in the United States, probably you could say by far, they have more gun violence than any other city. So we have the toughest laws, and you have tremendous gun violence.” Now this was very smart, because anyone with half a brain knows that all conservatives bring up the Chicago murder rate to deflect from institutional racism, police racism, and as a put-down of Black Lives Matter. We know that “Chicago” equals “violent-predatory-wild-as-hell-Blacks-who-need-law-and-order” in Trump-speak.
In answering the immigration question, Trump brought up the four people in the audience who lost a family member to an undocumented immigrant, at one point calling them “bad hombres” (code for illegal-job-taking-aliens-who-are-rapists-drug-dealers-and-thugs-making-America-not-so-great”). It’s his nature.
2. Hillary got off some great zingers. Like, drop the mic moments.
With rejoinders like, “He choked” (when talking about Trump going to Mexico, meeting with the Mexican president and not once mentioning “the wall”); “We now know what he thinks, does and ACTS towards women. That’s who he is” (when talking about the sexual allegations against him); and “But we don’t know if that’s true because he’s never released his tax returns,” (when Trump said he gave money to charity); Hillary got that off.
But the absolute best moment of the night was when Trump said the only thing that Clinton had on him was “experience.” Well, why did he say that? Clinton was ready.
Her quote: “
I’m glad you brought up experience…On the day when I was in the Situation Room monitoring the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was hosting ‘The Celebrity Apprentice.’”Bloop.
3. Behold, the art of the pivot
Although debate moderator Wallace was adept at his job, the art of the pivot was in effect last night. Both candidates—when asked tough questions—definitely retreated to their talking points. When Clinton was asked about the leaked emails, which revealed some embarrassing things about her paid speeches to Wall Street folks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, Clinton deftly deflected to talk about how her emails were hacked by the Russians and threw it back on Trump, asking him to denounce Vladimir Putin. “That was a great pivot…,” said Trump. “How did we get on to Putin?”
But Trump himself knows a thing or two about dodging questions. He straight didn’t answer the question about the illegal Polish immigrants he used to build Trump Towers when Clinton brought it up.
She ain’t talk about those emails; he didn’t talk about those Polish workers. Draw.
4. Did Trump really call Clinton a “Nasty Woman”?
He kind of mumbled it under his breath so that many were left asking, “Did he really say that?” Of course, that final insult wasn’t the first time he interrupted Clinton last night, saying things like, “Wrong” and “Not true,” but this one took the cake. During the last few moments of the debate, after Clinton explained how her plan was to increase social security contributions, and then baited Trump by saying, “assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it,” Trump replied, “Such a nasty woman,” as she was still speaking. As my hubby quipped, I thought that’s how Donald Trump liked his women—nasty.
5. Chris Wallace made me respect Fox News just a teensy weensy itty-bitty bit more.
I have to give it to Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace—he might be the Ken Bone of the third debate. Wallace did an excellent job of keeping the questions fair, balanced, and wrangling the politicians back to the question at hand (mostly). I give credit where it’s due.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty