Gloves Come Off

Don­ald Trump and Hil­lary Clinton square off dur­ing se­cond pres­i­den­tial de­bate

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Julie Pace and Lisa Lerer

ST. LOUIS >> In a de­bate flooded with ten­sion, Don­ald Trump ac­cused Hil­lary Clinton of at­tack­ing women in­volved in her hus­band’s mar­i­tal af­fairs and de­clared she would “be in jail” if he were pres­i­dent. Star­ing icily at her Repub­li­can ri­val, Clinton said Trump’s own ag­gres­sively vul­gar com- ments about women had re­vealed “ex­actly who he is.”

Trump ac­knowl­edged that he had paid no fed­eral in­come taxes for many years but tried to turn that against Clinton, too. If she didn’t like tax pro­vi­sions he took ad­van­tage of, he said, why didn’t she change them when she was in the Se­nate.

Sun­day night’s de­bate was the cul­mi­na­tion of a stun­ning stretch in the race for the White House, which be­gan with the re­lease of a new video in which Trump is heard brag­ging about how his fame al­lowed him to “do any­thing” to women. Many Republi-

cans rushed to re­voke their sup­port, with some call­ing for him to drop out of the race.

An­swer­ing for his words for the first time, Trump de­nied that he had ever kissed and grabbed women with­out their con­sent. He said re­peat­edly that his words in 2005 were merely “locker room talk” and paled in com­par­i­son to what he called Bill Clinton’s abuse of women.

“She should be ashamed of her­self,” Trump de­clared. Ahead of the de­bate, the busi­ness­man met with three women who ac­cused the for­mer pres­i­dent of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and even rape, then in­vited them to sit in the de­bate hall.

Bill Clinton never faced any crim­i­nal charges in re­la­tion to the al­le­ga­tions, and a law­suit over an al­leged rape was dis­missed.

He did set­tle a law­suit with one of the women who claimed ha­rass­ment.

On the de­bate stage, Clinton did not re­spond di­rectly to Trump’s ac­cu­sa­tions about her hus­band or her own role, but was blis­ter­ing in her con­dem­na­tion of his preda­tory com­ments about women in the tape re­leased Fri­day.

“I think it’s clear to any­one who heard him that it rep­re­sents ex­actly who he is,” she said, adding that she did not be­lieve Trump had the “fit­ness to serve” as com­man­der in chief.

The se­cond de­bate was a town hall for­mat, with sev­eral un­de­cided vot­ers sit­ting on stage with the can­di­dates. The vot­ers, all from the St. Louis area, were se­lected by Gallup.

The ten­sion be­tween Trump and Clinton was pal­pa­ble from the start of their 90-minute de­bate, the se­cond time they have faced off in the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. They did not shake hands as they met at cen­ter stage.

Trump, who is sev­eral inches taller than Clinton, stood close be­hind her as she an­swered ques­tions from the vot­ers. At other times, he paced the stage and re­peat­edly in­ter­rupted

her.

The busi­ness­man opened the de­bate with a flood of in­sults aimed at Clinton, in­clud­ing in­sin­u­at­ing she was the “devil.” He strug­gled to ar­tic­u­late de­tailed pol­icy pro­pos­als, re­peat­edly danc­ing around ques­tions about how he would re­place Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health care law, a mea­sure he has vowed to re­place.

Asked by a Mus­lim woman about be­ing sin­gled out, Trump said Is­lam­o­pho­bia was a “shame.” But he stressed that Mus­lims must re­port sus­pi­cious be­hav­ior and ar­gued that the coun­try was deal­ing with “rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ists.”

Pushed on whether he still sup­ported a com­plete ban on Mus­lims com­ing into the coun­try, Trump said his plan in­stead was called “ex­treme vet­ting.”

Trump’s cam­paign was al­ready strug­gling be­fore the new video was re­leased, due in part to his un­even per­for­mance in the first pres­i­den­tial de­bate. Many Repub­li­cans saw Sun­day’s show­down as his last best chance to sal­vage his cam­paign.

It was un­clear whether Trump’s per­for­mance did any­thing to ex­pand his sup­port beyond his core back­ers. He did re­peat­edly cast Clinton as a ca­reer politi­cian who had ac­com­plished lit­tle dur­ing her years in Wash­ing­ton and would be in­ca­pable of bring­ing change to Wash­ing­ton.

“With her, it’s all talk and no ac­tion,” Trump said.

The po­lit­i­cal firestorm that pre­ceded the de­bate was sparked by a video ob­tained and re­leased Fri­day by The Wash­ing­ton Post and NBC News. In the video, Trump, who was mar­ried to his cur­rent wife at the time, is heard de­scrib­ing at­tempts to have sex with a mar­ried woman. He also brags to Billy Bush of “Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood” about women let­ting him kiss them and grab their gen­i­tals be­cause he is fa­mous.

NBC said Sun­day that it had in­def­i­nitely sus­pended Bush, now a “Today” show

per­son­al­ity, for his role in the crude con­ver­sa­tion with Trump.

Trump’s own run­ning mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has de­clared he could nei­ther con­done nor de­fend the re­marks in the video re­vealed on Fri­day.

Other Repub­li­cans have taken the ex­tra­or­di­nary step of re­vok­ing sup­port for their party’s nom­i­nee. Among them: Ohio Sen. Rob Port­man, New Hamp­shire Sen. Kelly Ay­otte — both are run­ning for re­elec­tion — and the party’s 2008 nom­i­nee, Ari­zona Sen. John McCain.

Trump used the rev­e­la­tions as an open­ing to make good on his re­peated prom­ises to throw Bill Clinton’s sex­ual his­tory into the cen­ter of his cam­paign against his wife. Less than two hours be­fore the de­bate, he brazenly met pub­licly with sev­eral women who have ac­cused Bill Clinton of un­wanted sex­ual ad­vances and even rape.

Trump re­fused to an­swer ques­tions from re­porters about his own ag­gres­sive sex­ual re­marks about women dur­ing the meet­ing in a ho­tel con­fer­ence room with Paula Jones, Juanita Broad­drick and Kath­leen Wil­ley. Kathy Shel­ton, a fourth woman who ap­peared with Trump, was a 12-year-old Arkansas sex­ual as­sault vic­tim whose al­leged as­sailant was de­fended by Hil­lary Clinton.

Some of the women seated along­side him, how­ever, were graphic in their ac­cu­sa­tions against the Clin­tons.

“Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me and Hil­lary Clinton threat­ened me,” Broad­drick said. “I don’t think there’s any com­par­i­son.”

Broad­drick, a for­mer Arkansas nurs­ing home ad­min­is­tra­tor, first claimed 17 years ago that Bill Clinton raped her dur­ing a meet­ing in Lit­tle Rock in 1978. Her law­suit against him was dis­missed in 2001 and crim­i­nal charges were never filed. Clinton has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump and Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clinton ex­change ideas dur­ing the se­cond pres­i­den­tial de­bate at Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity in St. Louis on Sun­day.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, left, and Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clinton are dis­played on a big screen as view­ers watch the se­cond pres­i­den­tial de­bate dur­ing a watch party at the Univer­sity of Cincin­nati on Sun­day.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump lis­tens to Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clinton dur­ing the se­cond pres­i­den­tial de­bate at Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity in St. Louis on Sun­day.

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