Here are a few brief thoughts on the second presidential debate:

Trump’s Apology

Donald Trump had one primary objective going into this debate: apologize for his offensive, lewd comments about groping women and shift the focus to another issue.

It looked like Trump was dedicated to that plan for about 10 seconds. He gave a 31-word apology before moving on to the terrible things the Islamic State is doing. But Trump missed a crucial part of the transition.

He never said anything like “Instead of talking about comments I made 11 years ago and apologized for, let’s focus on the big threats actually facing the country.”

Bringing Up Bill

About a week ago, Politico polling showed that 56 percent thought it would be inappropriate for Trump to bring up President Bill Clinton’s marital affairs. Only 33 percent thought it would be appropriate.

Trump apparently hasn’t seen or didn’t believe that polling. He went full steam ahead with the attacks on Bill Clinton, saying “If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine are words, his was actions.” (Trump, by the way, said in 1998 Bill Clinton was the real “victim” of the sexual accusation lodged against him in the 1990s.)

Here’s the main reason Trump bringing up Clinton’s indiscretions of the 1990s is a bad idea: it implies that what Trump did is okay, just because something someone else did was worse (someone who isn’t running for president in 2016).

Clinton scored another big win, CNN poll says

Also from the Washington Examiner

Hillary Clinton easily won the second presidential debate, according to a CNN instant poll, beating Donald Trump for a second time.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that the Democratic candidate won the town-hall debate, versus 34 percent who said that Trump won.

For the instant poll, CNN interviewed 537 registered voters.

The same poll found that Clinton won the first presidential debate on Sept. 26 by an even larger margin. Then, 62 percent of viewers said that she won.

Nevertheless, the poll also showed her claiming a big victory Sunday night in the town hall-format debate hosted at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

10/10/16 12:00 AM


Throughout his campaign, Trump’s failure to look presidential has dogged him. A September NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that two-thirds of the country had concerns about Trump not having a presidential temperament.

The lewd comments from 2005 obviously aren’t presidential. Trump could have moved beyond that by looking presidential Sunday, but he didn’t. He called Hillary Clinton “the devil” and said he’d throw Clinton in jail if elected. He openly complained about the moderating. Not exactly the most presidential thing.

Jason Russell is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

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