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After first debate, Hillary Clinton comes out on top

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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (Joe Raedle/Pool via AP)

Monique Jones

The Birmingham Times

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (Joe Raedle/Pool via AP)
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (Joe Raedle/Pool via AP)

About 20 minutes in, it was clear who the winner of the first presidential debate would be. Between rampant defensiveness, wildly unpatriotic statements, and strange sniffing, Republican nominee Donald Trump became lost in his own reality show tactics.

The debate, held at New York City’s Hofstra University, became Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s to lose. Clinton appeared calm, in control, and—as a nominee should appear—presidential. In many instances, Clinton seemed to be the adult attempting to wrangle an unruly child by using an over-abundance of reason.

Despite Clinton’s appearance of calm, she was also able to throw some jabs at Trump, jabs that seemed to push him even more off his game. She called his economic plan “trumped-up trickle-down” and also brought up many of Trump’s own questionable statements. “…Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis,” she said. “He said, back in 2006, ‘Gee, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money.'” Trump responded, “That’s called business, by the way.”

Trump would defend more of his bad behavior, which was strange even for Trump. When Clinton slammed Trump over not paying architect Andrew Tesoro for work on one of his properties, Trump responded, “Maybe he didn’t do a good job and I was unsatisfied with his work.” (Tesoro told MSNBC Tuesday that Trump gave him a glowing reference letter and that the two made “substantial” agreements, but Trump has yet to pay a sum “upwards of $100,000” 10 years later.)

During the debate’s turn to race relations, Clinton focused more on reforming police training, gun violence, and implicit bias in the justice system. Meanwhile, Trump doubled-down on his support for unconstitutional stop-and-frisk tactics, his belief that all minority communities are similar to “a war-torn country” and that gangs stem from illegal immigrants.

One of the most startling defenses Trump gave involved his lack of releasing his income taxes. To Clinton’s assertion that Trump hadn’t paid any income tax, Trump didn’t deny her statement; instead, he said, “That makes me smart.”

Clinton also brought up how Trump has called women “pigs, slobs, and dogs,” and how he called a former Latina beauty contestant “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.” Trump’s rebuttal to those statements was an oddly-placed diatribe about comedian and actress Rosie O’Donnell, his long-time nemesis. “…I said some very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her,” he said.

Trump also congratulated himself for not going “tough” on Clinton. “…[Y]ou want to know the truth? I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, ‘I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice,” he said.

Despite the audience being repeatedly told not to react to either of the candidates, Trump earned the most laughter from this statement: “I also have a much better temperament than [Clinton] has, you know.” The audience’s reaction, and Tuesday’s polling, state differently.

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