JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, October 9, 2016 — Donald Trump was considered by many unwise pundits to be dead and buried after a miserable performance in the first presidential debate. Not helping matters was a leaked videotape from 2005 where he discusses touching women’s body parts without their permission. With rumors swirling that either he would be forced to drop out or that vice presidential nominee Mike Pence would exit the ticket, Trump again confounded the experts.
In the second presidential debate from St. Louis, Trump dominated Hillary Clinton from start to finish. In the first debate, he was angry and abrasive while she laughed and smiled the whole time. This time he spoke in a calm voice as Hillary approached near-screaming levels. She had a pasted on angry look in a debate that began without a handshake.
In the first debate, she was inside his head. He repeatedly missed opportunities to attack Clinton, and spent far too much time giving rambling answers in defense of himself. This time, he followed the successful Pence strategy of quickly pivoting back to a calm attack.
Trump had Clinton rattled before the debate even started. He invited several women to sit in the front row who have accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting them. Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones all looked Hillary Clinton straight in the eye. Also in attendance was a former 12-year-old rape victim who saw Hillary Clinton laugh about getting her guilty client acquitted. Clinton was clearly shaken by the appearance of these women.
Clinton began with by plagiarizing a quote often attributed to former French thinker Alex de Tocqueville. She did this twice. When she went after Trump’s comments about women, Trump pounced. He reminded the audience of Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual assaults and his Hillary Clinton’s role in intimidating the women. Trump then quickly pointed out that it was silly to talk about nonsense when ISIS was chopping off heads.
Trump did get testy with liberal moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, lamenting that the debate was three against one. Yet the rest of the night he was on message. He kept pointing out that in 30 years or more of being in public office, Hillary Clinton had very little to show for her time.
On everything from taxes to the Affordable Care Act to Syria, Trump showed that Clinton talks a big game, but fails to back up her words.
He hammered Clinton on Benghazi and her deleted 33,000 emails.
Clintons as reduced to assertions that were as desperate as they were ludicrous. She claimed that Russians were hacking our national security because Russian President Vladimir Putin desperately wants Trump to win the election. When caught in a lie about offering different positions in public than in private, she blamed Abraham Lincoln. She blamed everybody but birthday boy Christopher Columbus.
When Clinton trotted out her retread line about, “Be glad that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge,” Trump coolly delivered the line of the night. He replied, “Because you’d be in jail.” The crowd erupted in cheers at that moment.
From Syria to ISIS to domestic policy, Clinton kept saying what she would do to solve problems and insist Trump had no solutions. Trump calmly kept reminding the audience that it was President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who caused the problems to begin with.
After a warm fuzzy final question where she complimented his children and he said she was a fighter, they did shake hands.
While some Americans decided to watch the Green Bay Packers defeat the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football, it was Trump who blasted Clinton on the playing field.
Clinton put on a brave face after the debate, but the undeniable consensus was that Trump won big. Liberal commentator Juan Williams said Trump offered substance while Clinton did not. A Frank Luntz focus group of undecided voters overwhelmingly said Trump won.
Each candidate won one debate in convincing fashion. The rubber match third and final debate will be on Wednesday, October 19th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The sole moderator will be Fox News’s Chris Wallace.