Trump vs. Clinton: Her jabs put him on the defensive in first debate

From The Washington Post:

After circling each other for months, Clinton and Trump finally took the stage together for the first time, and each tried in a series of combative, acrimonious exchanges to discredit the other.

Trump, the Republican nominee, spent much of the evening explaining himself — about his temperament, treatment of women and minorities, business practices and readiness to be commander in chief, as well as over his long perpetuation of a falsehood about Barack Obama’s birthplace to delegitimize his presidency.

“He has a long record of engaging in racist behavior, and the birther lie was a very hurtful one,” said Clinton, the Democratic nominee. “Barack Obama is a man of great dignity, and I could tell how much it bothered him and annoyed him that this was being touted and used against him.”

Trump, who earlier this month at last acknowledged Obama’s birth in Hawaii, replied by invoking Clinton’s 2008 rivalry with Obama: “When you try to act holier than thou, it really doesn’t work.”

In an earlier exchange, when Clinton said it was unfortunate that Trump paints a dire picture of the livelihoods and economic circumstances of many African Americans, Trump groaned in apparent disgust.

The 95-minute debate at Hofstra University on New York’s Long Island pitted two historically unpopular and polarizing nominees against each other. The television networks were preparing for as many as 100 million people to watch, which would put Monday night’s debate in the pantheon of the Super Bowl.

The clash came at a critical juncture in the campaign. With six weeks until Election Day, and with voters in some states already starting to cast ballots, polls show Clinton’s summer lead has all but evaporated. Trump is effectively tied in many of the battleground states where Clinton …

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