3 things the rest of the world learned watching Clinton debate Trump, who was flailing

In case you were too lazy/busy at work to sit through the whole 1.5 hours of it.

Jeanette Tan | September 27, 2016 @ 05:59 pm

Tuesday morning, Singapore time, saw Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the U.S. Democrat and Republican presidential nominees respectively, come together for their first live debate.

There will be two more in the coming weeks in the lead-up to November 8, when Americans will go to the polls to vote in their House of Representatives (Congress), senators (the Senate), who will in turn decide — based on who gets the majority — who will succeed U.S. President Barack Obama.

If you’re interested to watch the entire thing, it’s available here:

If you’re more of a text kind of person, several American news websites carry on-the-fly transcripts of the debate, as well as real-time fact-checking — we recommend you read them while listening to the video, though; there might be several mistakes in some of them.

The debate was about one and a half hours long, which we know most people wouldn’t have had time for, so we summarise here some things the rest of us can take away from it:


1. The need for way, way firmer moderation

This is the guy whom none of us envied this morning:

Screenshot from live stream
Screenshot from live stream

His name is Lester Holt, and he’s an NBC news anchor who had the immensely tough job of moderating the debate.

And indeed, it was. Trump interrupted Clinton while she was speaking, and he spoke so loudly and aggressively while doing so most of the time that Holt was practically powerless to stop him.

Here’s one tally from NowThis:

Al-Jazeera put it at 28 interruptions (to Clinton’s seven):

Screenshot from AJ+ Facebook page video
Screenshot from AJ+ Facebook page video

while Vox claims he butted in 51 times:

We’ve got some suggestions for the upcoming debate moderators:

a) Plant a button (or perhaps a loud buzzer) on the moderators’ table that turns off the microphones for both candidates when their time is up, or when they shouldn’t be speaking and try to butt in when the other is talking.

b) Have minders standing behind each candidate holding a large trout to slap them with if they speak when they are not supposed to.

c) This:

If none of the above work, we don’t know what will.

2. Neither candidate did a particularly stellar job, in terms of getting their facts right.

According to Politifact, an American independent fact-checking website, here’s how accurate Clinton and Trump were in a total of 33 claims they collectively made throughout the debate:

Hillary Clinton

– True or mostly true statements: 14
– Half true statements: 1
– False statements: 1
– Unverifiable statements: 0

Donald Trump

– True or mostly true statements: 7
– Half true statements: 2
– False statements: 8
– Unverifiable statements: 1

At least Clinton appears to have gotten her statements mostly right, to be fair.

Trump notably faced difficulty in addressing the Obama birth certificate issue (why he kept trying to cast doubt on where Obama was born), in explaining why he said before that he supported the Iraq war, and also in defending his refusal to make public his tax return.

3. Something most women would have noticed watching the debate.

The Jim Helpert moment. (Screenshot from live stream)
The Jim Helpert moment. (Screenshot from live stream)

Apart from our first point, which alluded to the sheer number of times Trump interrupted Clinton while speaking — Holt too, by the way, as compared to the number of times she or Holt interrupted Trump — there are a few other things that happened that simply point to how women, in general, are treated.

It’s sad to know that a woman as high up the ranks as Clinton can still face chauvinistic behaviour, even if it’s not as explicit as being talked over or interrupted.

Reports in Quartz and Vox both highlighted this problem — Quartz in particular, highlighted some things Trump did and said that rather betrayed his attitude toward women:

– Criticising Clinton’s temperament.

TRUMP: Well, I have much better judgment than she does. There’s no question about that. I also have a much better temperament than she has, you know?


I have a much better — she spent — let me tell you — she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on an advertising — you know, they get Madison Avenue into a room, they put names — oh, temperament, let’s go after — I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament. I have a winning temperament. I know how to win. She does not have a…

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

TRUMP: Wait. The AFL-CIO the other day, behind the blue screen, I don’t know who you were talking to, Secretary Clinton, but you were totally out of control. I said, there’s a person with a temperament that’s got a problem.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?


– saying Clinton doesn’t have the “stamina” required to be President.

HOLT: Mr. Trump, this year Secretary Clinton became the first woman nominated for president by a major party. Earlier this month, you said she doesn’t have, quote, “a presidential look.” She’s standing here right now. What did you mean by that?

TRUMP: She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina. I said she doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina.

HOLT: The quote was, “I just don’t think she has the presidential look.”

TRUMP: You have — wait a minute. Wait a minute, Lester. You asked me a question. Did you ask me a question?

You have to be able to negotiate our trade deals. You have to be able to negotiate, that’s right, with Japan, with Saudi Arabia. I mean, can you imagine, we’re defending Saudi Arabia? And with all of the money they have, we’re defending them, and they’re not paying? All you have to do is speak to them. Wait. You have so many different things you have to be able to do, and I don’t believe that Hillary has the stamina.

Thankfully, Clinton had a steely comeback for him:

“Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

– Trump also patted her on the back at the end of the debate.

HEMPSTEAD, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (R) and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) shake hands after the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York. The first of four debates for the 2016 Election, three Presidential and one Vice Presidential, is moderated by NBC's Lester Holt. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
HEMPSTEAD, NY – SEPTEMBER 26: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (R) and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) shake hands after the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York. The first of four debates for the 2016 Election, three Presidential and one Vice Presidential, is moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Thankfully, Clinton held her own through most of this and even had the opportunity near the end to bring up the misogynistic comments he made in the past, even though he tried to deny them.

To that, we’ll just leave this here:

The end.


Top photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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About Jeanette Tan

Jeanette takes pride in her ability to sing the complete lyrics to Hakuna Matata and a host of other Disney songs. She holds out hope to someday be talent-spotted to do voice-overs for documentaries, lifts and automated telephone answering systems.

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