Trump’s campaign appeared to be on the ropes after the October Surprise release of tapes revealing trashy talk about women some 11 years ago. If campaigns are to be judged by debate performances, The Donald has once again proven to be an effective counter-puncher. Rich Lowry said it well:
When Trump said that Hillary would be in jail if he were in charge, it seemed like a debate meltdown would be the capstone to a disastrous weekend. But it ended up being a pivot point. From that point on, Trump had the advantage. He started overly sedate and then rambled and lashed out when the topic was the Access Hollywood tape. At the inception, Hillary was at her rehearsed best. But the topic terrain got tougher for her–emails, etc.–and she could never summon any spontaneous wit or righteous indignation to hit back at Trump effectively. Over and over, she said what Trump was saying was wrong, without saying how or why. Trump managed to establish something like the stage dominance he had in the primaries. He didn’t wander down as many rabbit holes and went out of his way to bring up topics and points awkward for Hillary. His performance was still rocky and strange at times–the wandering around the stage idly as Hillary spoke, for instance–but much improved.
To which Tucker Carlson added:
Republican Donald Trump may or may not win the presidency but he far exceeded expectations in Sunday’s debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton and shows he is still in the race, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said.
“He is an escape artist,” Carlson said in Fox News Channel’s post-debate coverage. “I don’t think there’s a single person in the world I live in who thought his campaign could continue after this. It will be tough for Donald Trump to be elected president.”
But, he added, “the campaign is not over,” and Trump defined the terms of most of the debate.
“He rattled Secretary Clinton on stage and off stage,” Carlson said. “One spokesman tweeted out ‘F you,’ spelled it out. That is the kind of response to a campaign that is bewildered.”
Trump’s main advantage from the start was that he was not taken seriously, so the expectations were lower, Carlson said. “It’s not over, which is amazing relative to expectations.”
I agree with William Whalen’s observations:
I give this debate to Trump. He was in better form than the first encounter in Hofstra. This time around, he wasn’t as clunky when defending his record. Unlike the first debate, when he started strong but fell apart, Trump improved as the night went on.
Add to that his decision to bring along the Bill Clinton accusers – the equivalent of Hillary dropping Alicia Machado on Trump at the end of the previous debate – and Trump had good night in terms of strategy and surpassing expectations.
I can’t close the post without commenting on another Hillary whopper. Trump said, “First of all, she was there as secretary of state with the so-called line in the sand, which…” And Clinton shot back, “No, I wasn’t. I was gone. I hate to interrupt you, but at some point…At some point, we need to do some fact-checking here.” Yes, let’s do some fact-checking: Clinton was SOS from 2009 to 2013 and Obama drew his line in August of 2012.