Mark it down in history, the presidential debates are now finished for 2016 with the final battle having taken place earlier this evening between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The debate took place at the University of Nevada, in Las Vegas, and was moderated by Chris Wallace, of the Fox News Channel.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Third Presidential Debate from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas
Candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Moderator: Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday
Transcript: Washington Post
Here’s a recap on the evening from Politico:
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump did not hide their personal animus in their final debate.
Like their last meeting, they skipped the handshake and immediately launched into a heated battle on everything from abortion rights and the Second Amendment to Russian espionage aimed at helping the Republican win the White House.
Also like the second debate, this forum unfolds in the shadow of controversies. Numerous women have come forward to accuse Trump of the kind of sexual assault he was caught bragging about in a video. Trump has denied the accusations and alleged they are part of a media conspiracy to rig the election. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign has been forced to grapple with the release of thousands of stolen campaign emails that reveal discrepancies in her public and private positions.
Kudos to Chris Wallace, I think he delivered a fine performance as moderator because this was the most substantive debate of the three. Wallace was careful to keep the audience toned down, scolding them on several occasions to stop cheering for answers they liked. He also evenhandedly lobbed difficult questions to each candidate, and then let them answer without arguing with them.
As for the candidates, it’s clear that Donald Trump had arguably his best debate performance so far, but, by most accounts, Hillary Clinton was not far behind him. Trump did get in many shots at topics which hadn’t previously been raised such as the Wikileaks emails and the Clinton Foundation. Hillary, for her part, repeated many of most damaging attacks against Trump including allegations from various women claiming Trump had sexually harassed or assaulted them in some way over the years.
Will this debate move the needle? That’s hard to say, but I think Trump did more to help himself in a debate setting than he did in the first two debates. We’ll have to wait for some new poll numbers and keep watching this campaign unfold into the final stretch.