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Trump-Clinton second presidential debate highlights

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump points at Democratic

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump points at Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump concluded their second debate far differently from its combative start — by exchanging compliments.

Asked by an audience member to trade compliments, Clinton started by saying she thought highly of Trump’s children.

“I respect his children, his children are incredibly able and devoted,” Clinton said.

Trump thanked her for complimenting his children, and called her “a fighter.”

I will say this about Hillary, she doesn’t quit, she doesn’t give up,” Trump said. “I tell it like it is. . . . She’s a fighter.”

Earlier, the spirited debate between Clinton and Trump segued from talk about Trump’s “locker room banter” to more substantive, policy-oriented questions on health care, the Syrian refugee crisis and Muslim-American relations.

At the high-stakes debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Trump defended himself when asked about his treatment of women after Friday’s release of a video showing the presidential nominee speaking explicitly about women in lewd and degrading terms.

“That was locker room talk, I’m not proud of it,” Trump said when asked about a 2005 video that surfaced Friday.

Clinton said, “What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women. What he thinks about women, what he does to women.”

Trump went after Clinton for deleting 33,000 emails from her tenure as secretary of state, saying “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” He vowed to appoint a special prosecutor if he is elected president to investigate the email situation.

The town hall-style debate started at 9 p.m. The attendees at Washington University included the families of both candidates as well as four women who attended a news conference just hours before with Trump, claiming they were either sexually assaulted or harassed by Bill Clinton.

Clinton began the highly anticipated second presidential debate Sunday by saying of her campaign’s goals, “We are going to respect one another and lift each other up. . . . I want us to heal our country and bring it together.” She spoke just days after a 2005 video was leaked in which the Republican nominee made repeated lewd comments about women.

Trump said “I agree with everything she said.”

Asked about the video, Trump said: “Yes I am very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But its locker room talk.”

“Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” he said. “I have tremendous respect for women.” He denied that he did any of the things he bragged about in the video.

Clinton stressed that the video showed Trump is not fit to be president. “He has said the video doesn’t represent who he is. But it think its clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is.”

“I said starting back in June that he was not fit to be president and commander in chief. . . . What we all heard on Friday was what Donald thinks of women.”

She noted he insulted and “rated” women before the tape was made public.

“He has also targeted immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities . . . veterans and so many others. The question our country must answer is that this is not who we are.”

“America already is great, but we are great because we are good and we will respect each other . . . and we will respect our diversity,” Clinton said. “This is the America I know and love.”

“It’s just words, folks, just words,” Trump countered. He said she promised but failed to create jobs and help African-Americans.

Moderator Martha Raddatz said the video has been “generating intense interest.”

“When you walked off that bus at age 59, were you a different man?” she asked.

“That was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. . . . If you look at Bill Clinton, what he did was far worse. . . . Bill Clinton was abusive to women,” he said.

Trump said, “there has never been anyone in the history of politics as abusive to women” as former President Bill Clinton, the candidate’s husband.

Trump included those who have accused Bill Clinton in the past.

“They are words . . . but they are words people say,” Trump said, defending his comments on the tape.

He said Clinton is “disgraceful and she should be ashamed of herself” for criticizing Trump after she once defended a rapist as a lawyer and supported her husband against accusers.

Clinton then quoted first lady Michelle Obama: “When they go low, we go high.”

“He never apologizes to anyone,” Clinton said, noting he criticized the parents of a Muslim captain from the United States who was killed in action in Iraq, a Latino judge a disabled reporter that “he mimicked,” and claimed that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

“He owes the president an apology, he owes the country an apology,” Clinton said.


Trump went after Clinton for deleting 33,000 emails from her tenure as secretary of state, saying “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” He vowed to appoint a special prosecutor if he is elected president to investigate the email situation.

“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there have never been so many lies,” Trump said, referring to Clinton’s use of a personal email server on official business as secretary of state. He also said she “bleached” or “acid washed” emails.

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Trump said.

“Everything he said was absolutely false, but it’s not a surprise,” Clintons said, adding, “It’s just awfully good that someone like Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in this country.”

Trump added: “You’d be in jail.”

Clinton acknowledged a private email server was a mistake.

“It was a mistake; I’m not making any excuses,” Clinton said about her use of a personal email server while secretary of state. “There is no evidence anyone hacked the server I was using.”

When Trump kept interrupting Clinton, she said, “OK, I know you’re into big diversion tonight” and remarked that his campaign “is exploding.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper pushed back on Trump’s interruptions. “She didn’t interrupt you,” Cooper said.

“Because she has nothing to say,” Trump said. He asked the moderators why they hadn’t asked about Clinton’s email scandal.

“It’s nice, one on three,” Trump said.

At one point, Clinton deferred to Trump to answer a question addressed first to her, mirroring a “Saturday Night Live” skit in which the actor playing her felt Trump was hurting himself so badly every time he spoke that she let him ramble.

“No, go ahead,” Trump said Sunday night at the debate. “I’m a gentleman.”


Clinton said she wanted to amend Obamacare but does not want to repeal it. “Then we would have to start all over again,” pointing out that so many more people are insured now.

“Let’s fix what’s broken about it,” she said.

Trump called Obamacare a “disaster.”

“We have to repeal it and replace it” so that insurance can be more tailored to the individual.

“We want competition. You will have the finest health care plan,” saying Clinton’s plan would be dictated by the government. “Not only are your rates going up . . . the deductibles are going up.”

Trump said Clinton wanting to fix Obamacare is an example of Clinton’s bad judgment.

He said his plan would encourage competition, calling Obamacare is a “fraud.”


Trump called Islamophobia “a shame.”

“But whether we like it or not, there is a problem,” Trump said, adding he wouldn’t be “politically correct” on the issue.

“Muslims have to report the problems when they see them,” he said, noting some saw evidence of weapons before the San Bernadino, California, massacre earlier this year.

“She won’t even say the name . . . ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ ” Trump said.

Clinton noted that the U.S. Army captain who lost his life in Afghanistan “was attacked” by Trump.

“It’s also very short-sighed and dangerous to be engaged” in anti-Muslim sentiment as stated by Trump, she said.

“This is a gift to terrorists,” she said. “We are not at war with Islam.”

Trump said if he had been president, Capt. Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan, who was killed in Iraq, would be alive today.

Trump was pressed on whether he has reversed his plan for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration.

Pushed to answer the question, he said the ban he once talked of is now “extreme vetting” to make sure immigrants aren’t a threat to the U.S. He said he fears “the great Trojan Horse of all time” if Clinton eases immigration standards.

“We know nothing about their values and we know nothing about their love of this country,” Trump said.

“I will not let anyone into this country I think is a threat to us,” Clinton said. But she said refugees, mostly children from Syria, need to be helped.

“We need to do our share,” she said. “We will have vetting as tough as it needs to be. . . . We are a country founded on religious liberty.”

“Are we going to have religious tests?” she asked.

“A lot of what Donald Trump has said about Muslims is being used to recruit fighters,” she said.


Raddatz pressed Clinton on whether it is acceptable for a politician to be “two-faced,” as revealed in WikiLeaks about her private speeches to Wall Street executives.

She said she was referring to a movie about President Abraham Lincoln and how he created support for his proposals in Congress.

“I was making the point that it is hard to get Congress to do what you want,” she said. She said Lincoln used “some arguments” to convince some people and “some arguments” to convince others.

She said never before in history was Russia trying to influence the election so that Trump would win. “Maybe because he has praised [Vladimir] Putin,” she said, once again urging Trump to release his tax returns.

Trump said, “She got caught in a total lie.” He said he had no dealings with Russia. “I have no loans with Russia,” he said.

He said he paid “hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes” without mentioning personal income tax and said supporters of Clinton had taken “massive deductions.”

“I know nothing about Russia,” Trump said, clarifying that he knows nothing about its “inner workings” or contact with Putin.


Trump said Clinton would impose a massive tax increase. Clinton said she wants to “invest in hard-working families” and that “the gains have all gone to the top.”

Trump said he will cut taxes “big league” for the middle class, while Clinton “is raising your taxes very high.

“We are going to be thriving again, we have no growth,” Trump said.

He said he would bring the tax rate “to one of the lower in the world.”

Clinton responded: “Everything you heard from Donald is not true. . . . He lives in an alternative universe.” She said it was amusing to hear someone talk of cutting taxes when he doesn’t pay his own taxes.

“Donald takes care of Donald,” she said.

Clinton said she would close corporate loopholes and raise taxes on the richest Americans.

Trump said, “I understand the tax code” better than anyone who has run for president. “I absolutely used it,” he said referring to a tax loophole that enables him to avoid paying personal federal income tax.

Trump then turned the tax question into an accusation that she is responsible for the growth of the ISIS terror group and that she was an ineffective U.S. senator.

“Well, here we go again,” Clinton said.

She said her work as a senator domestically and internationally was often stopped by Republican President George W. Bush’s veto.

“You have to be able to get along with people to get things done in Washington and I have proved I can,” Clinton said, noting that she has sponsored or co-sponsored 400 laws.


“The situation in Syria is catastrophic,” Clinton said, blaming the Russians and the Syrian Assad regime, and implying Trump was sympathetic to Russia. Russia “has decided who they want to be president of the United States and it’s not me.”

Trump blamed Clinton for Obama’s “line in the sand” that Russia ignored, saying the international community “laughed” at the U.S. Clinton interjected that she had already left the secretary of state job by then.

Trump said the “rebels” that Clinton supports often end up worse.

“Almost everything she has done in foreign policy has been a mistake and a disaster,” Trump said.

He said he disagreed with his running mate Gov. Michael Pence’s stance on the American role in Syria. “I haven’t talked to him and I disagree.”

“I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS, Russia is killing ISIS, Iran is killing ISIS,” Trump said.

“We have to worry about ISIS,” Trump said. He said it’s wrong to try to fight ISIS, Assad and the Russians at once.

Trump criticized the Obama administration for announcing military action beforehand, even if it is used to let refugees flee.

“Make it a sneak attack, and after the attack, inform the American people,” Trump said. “How stupid is our country?

“Gen. George Patton, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, are spinning in their graves,” Trump said.

Clinton said, “I would not use American ground troops in Syria,” Clinton said. She said she would continue to use special forces and build support among local residents.

“Donald says he knows more than the generals. No, he doesn’t,” Clinton said as Trump sometimes turned his back to her as she spoke and circled the stage.


“She calls our people ‘deplorable’ and not ‘redeemable.’ . . . I will be the president of all the people,” Trump said, saying he would focus on inner cities and law enforcement.

“If she’s president of the United States, nothing is going to happen” for the African-American community, he said. “She’s all talk. Nothing every gets done. . . . Look at upstate New York, it’s a disaster.”

“Well, 67 percent of the people voted for me for my second term,” Clinton said.

Clinton said she had a “deep devotion” to make sure “every American feels he or she has a place in our country.”

Clinton defended her 30 years of public service, saying it was often for African-Americans, Latinos and immigrants and most of them children,

“A lot of people think maybe they wouldn’t have a place in Donald Trump’s America,” Clinton said.

She cited the “Trump effect” that some teachers blame on increased bullying in schools.

Trump said “We have a divided nation because people like her . . . and believe me she has tremendous hate in her heart . . . she has tremendous hatred,” referring to her comment about Trump supporters being ”deplorables.”


Cooper pressed Trump on his temperament to be president based on his inflammatory tweets.

“Twitter is a very effective way of communication,” he said. “I am not un-proud of it.”

Asked if Trump had the discipline to be president, Clinton said flatly: “No.”


Clinton said she want justices who have “real-life experience” and “understand what people are up against.” She said the current court had “gone in the wrong direction,” citing its stance on the Citizen United case.

“I want a Supreme Court that will stick with Roe v. Wade” and marriage equality.

He said Trump’s nominees would reverse Roe v. Wade.

“I have very clear views,” she said.

She said she wants a court that doesn’t always side with corporate America.

Trump praised the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative, and would appoint judges who are similar to Scalia.

He said the Second Amendment is “completely under siege” by those like Clinton who want more gun control.


Trump said Clinton “wants to put all the miners out of business.” He said, “We have to bring back our workers” and end the government restrictions which are putting them “out of business.”

Clinton said China is illegally dumping steel in the United States and Trump is using it in his buildings.

She said the U.S. is energy-independent, but the Middle East still controls the price of oil. “We’ve got to remain energy-independent. It gives us much more freedom and independence,” including fighting climate change. “We can be the 21st energy super-power.”

She said she wants to revitalize coal country. “I don’t want to walk away from them,” but the price of coal is down.

“We are killing, absolutely killing our energy business in this country,” Trump said. “We need much more than wind and solar. . . . Hillary Clinton wants to put all the miners out of business.”

He said “clean coal” will provide power to the country for decades. Environmentalists warn clean coal burning will contribute to global warning. Trump said the environmental restrictions are putting energy companies out of business.

“It is an absolute disgrace,” Trump said.

Clinton supports use of natural gas “as a bridge” to renewable fuels, while keeping the United States “energy independent.”


The candidates were asked by audience member Karl Becker of the St. Louis area if they had “one positive thing you respect in one another.”

“I respect his children,” Clinton said. “They are devoted and I think that says a lot about Donald,” Clinton said, saying she feels that way as a mother and a grandmother.

Trump responded: “Well, I consider her statement about my children as a great compliment, I don’t know if it was intended to be a compliment. . . . She’s a fighter, she doesn’t give up.”

“She does fight hard, she doesn’t give up and I consider that to be a very good trait,” Trump said.


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