Just as it was pretty much accepted that Hillary Clinton won the first presidential debate, it has now been established that Donald Trump won the second.

After the debate, a commentator on Bloomberg Politics said Trump did “well enough” to stave off the recent weeks of bad news and dropping polls for the candidate. As my colleague Jason Russell pointed out, gamblers also picked Trump as the debate winner. My other colleague, Byron York, has a great rundown of Trump’s performance. I agree that Trump won the debate, or at the very least, didn’t lose.

Trump certainly had the best line of the night. When Clinton said it was “just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country,” Trump retorted with: “Because you’d be in jail.”

That line forced the moderators to ask the audience to stop applauding.

By the end of the debate, Frank Luntz’s focus group was even saying that Clinton’s email scandal was worse for her than the tape of Trump bragging about grabbing women was for him. That’s a pretty big deal, and also speaks to Trump’s argument about his decade-old comments: They’re just words, but what Clinton and her husband Bill have done is much worse.

Will any of this matter? Are the media going to spend the week gushing over Trump’s performance like they did for Clinton two weeks ago? Doubtful. Trump may see his poll numbers improve a little.

But that’s also heavily dependent on what happens in the coming days and weeks. A producer for “The Apprentice” claims there is footage of Trump saying the n-word. If that’s released, all that Trump won in Sunday’s debate could be lost.

That same producer said it was unlikely the tape would surface, as a contract signed by anyone with access to them includes a $5 million leak fee. So unless some millionaire or billionaire wants to back someone, those tapes are merely speculation.

Other things that could happen that would derail Trump’s debate victory include accusations of sexual assault. Trump said the video showed just words, but if someone comes forward with a credible accusation of actual sexual assault, Trump could be sunk.

Poll: More think Trump disrespects women after video release

Also from the Washington Examiner

Fifty-five percent of likely voters said they don’t believe Trump respects women.

10/10/16 11:56 AM

And to that, Trump has been accused of sexual assault in the past, including by a girl who says Trump and billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein raped her when she was 13.

The mainstream media hasn’t started rehashing these accusations, but they might, since Trump said during the debate last night that he has not kissed or groped women without their consent.

Other than the lawsuit filed earlier this year, claims of sexual assault against Trump were either withdrawn or recanted. For the record, claims against Bill Clinton have not been recanted (nor have they gone to trial). Just a little perspective.

But if a credible claim were to emerge in the coming days or weeks, it could be devastating for Trump’s campaign — especially in a day and age where the media are looking to destroy him while claiming we must “listen and believe” every accuser.

Right now it’s a waiting game. Trump’s decade-old comments sucked the life out of damaging stories about Clinton, including transcripts from her Wall Street speeches in which she appeared to say one thing to banks and another to the American people.

Conway: Congress has its own sex scandal problem

Also from the Washington Examiner

“They ought to look inside and think about what their conduct and words have been over the years.”

10/10/16 11:53 AM

If more footage of Trump saying lewd things comes out, his campaign could be in trouble. Likewise, if WikiLeaks really does have more damaging information on Clinton — and the media actually report it — she could also struggle through Election Day.

As always, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

Paul Ryan tells Republicans: Make your own call on Trump

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He also told lawmakers to “do what’s best for you in your district” when it comes to supporting Trump.

10/10/16 11:31 AM

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