Trump’s Missed Debate Opportunities

Donald Trump missed chances in the first debate, including failure to exploit a U.S. intelligence report that cited U.S. support for an Islamic State forerunner, part of Hillary Clinton’s scheme for Syrian “regime change,” notes Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria

Hillary Clinton stood calmly at her podium smirking during most of the first U.S. presidential debate as she provoked emotional reactions from Donald Trump in what appeared to be a strategy to rattle him and keep him on the defensive most of the night.

Clinton needled Trump on his plan to fight the Islamic State, on him not paying his taxes, on his treatment of women, on his denial of climate change, on his denigration of Muslims and his position on nuclear weapons — all legitimate criticisms but delivered with an intent to do personal harm. As Trump grew angrier and angrier, Clinton appeared to be laughing at him. At one point, she told him he was saying “crazy things” and living “in his own reality.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Clinton got under Trump’s skin by telling him he started life with a big inheritance, while she was the daughter of a humble small businessman; that he had four (or more) times filed for bankruptcy, did not pay his workers, called women “pigs,” and had been sued by the government 40 years ago for racial discrimination in a housing development he owned (and which he settled out of court).

Trump seemed uncharacteristically nervous and restrained as the first debate of three got underway, displaying a grudging respect for Clinton by calling her “Secretary,” while labeling her “Crooked Hillary” on Twitter. But a series of humiliating jabs by Clinton worked to get Trump’s back up leading to several gaffes, including an apparent admission that he has paid no federal taxes.

After noting that a couple of tax returns which had been released in connection with a casino application showed no federal taxes and suggesting that Trump would not release his tax returns because he may be hiding this reality for other years, Trump lost his cool and interjected that it “makes me smart” not to pay.


It was a calculating strategy on her part, cooked up by her team of ruthless campaign operatives and her own experience of 38 debates in her political career. This was Trump’s first one-on-one debate. And it showed.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and astronaut Mark Kelly speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona. March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and astronaut Mark Kelly speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona. March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

She took a week off to prepare, while Trump did not hold one mock session. She depended on a team of highly experienced opposition researchers who have dug up every scrap of dirt they could find on Trump.

At one point when Clinton accused him of calling a contestant at one of his beauty pageant “Miss Piggy,” Trump feverishly responded “Where did you find this? Where did you find this?”

“He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them,” Clinton said, slowly inserting the needle and twisting it slightly. “Then he called her ‘Miss Housekeeping,’ because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.”

“Where did you find this? Where did you find this?” Trump asked.

“Her name is Alicia Machado,” Clinton calmly said.

“Where did you find this?” he repeated.

“And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet…”

“Oh, really?” Trump interrupted.

“ … she’s going to vote this November,” said Clinton.

That he wouldn’t know Clinton’s “oppo” researchers would come up with something like this, and then would blurt out his astonishment that they did from the podium is itself astonishing.

It showed how little he understood this dirty game of modern politics and how poorly prepared he was. His opposition research seemed to be based solely on the considerable Clinton negatives already in the public domain. He hit her hard on the emails, but she swatted it away, and Trump backed off.

Trump seemed to think he could wing it. But he ran into a political juggernaut, with master dirty tricksters like former rightwing operative David Brock conjuring up ways to rattle Trump, exposing his temper and his weak command of the facts. Meanwhile, a studied and scripted Clinton merely laughed at him, giving him the rope to hang himself.

Russia Did It!

Trump did score some points, though they have been largely ignored in a corporate media analysis that scored a decisive knockout for Clinton. In one exchange, she clearly said that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee and Trump called her on it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Russian government photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Russian government photo)

CLINTON: “There’s no doubt now that Russia has used cyber attacks against all kinds of organizations in our country, and I am deeply concerned about this. I know Donald’s very praiseworthy of Vladimir Putin, but Putin is playing a really … tough, long game here. And one of the things he’s done is to let loose cyber attackers to hack into government files, to hack into personal files, hack into the Democratic National Committee.”

TRUMP: “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”

TRUMP: “You don’t know who broke in to DNC. But what did we learn with the DNC? We learned that Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of by your people, by Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Look what happened to her. But Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of. That’s what we learned.”

Trump’s rhetoric on Russia (and with no political record, rhetoric is all we have) is clearly saner than Clinton’s, who has an alarming record. It is simple to understand why Russia would favor Trump. He is not threatening Russia while she is. And she’s left a trail of destruction behind her in Libya, Syria and Honduras making it more than mere words.

No one has come up with any evidence to back up the Clinton campaign’s charge of a Trump conflict of interest because he either owes money or has business in Russia. Frankly, I hope he does have businesses there. It would make him even less likely to stir up a crisis with Moscow if he should win.

Nor has anyone come up with any evidence to prove Russia was behind the DNC hack. After the debate CNN either deviously or incompetently did a “fact-check” and said Trump was wrong about “the question that was posed, ‘Who is the leading suspect in the DNC hack?”

But Clinton didn’t talk about the “leading suspect.” She flat out said Russia did it.

Her continued hammering on these supposed business interests and that Russia did the hacking is suspicious. Linking Trump to Russia has done little to hurt him in the polls. In fact, he rose to a virtual tie in the weeks since the hack. So why does she keep at it? There could be something else at play, an admittedly sinister scenario, but entirely possible in the Clinton camp. (Perhaps, her “oppo” team is planning to drop another shoe regarding Trump’s relationship with Russia.)

If she should lose a close election to Trump I would not be surprised if she contested the outcome charging that Russia had hacked the electoral databases and changed the result. If she could challenge enough electors to bring him below 270 Electoral College votes needed to win, the result could be thrown to the House of Representatives (as it has three times in history) where a Republican majority, many who hate Trump, just may side with her.

With the way the American public has been relentlessly conditioned to fear and despise Russia, evidence of Moscow’s alleged tampering may not be needed. With the corporate media playing along, evidence wasn’t necessary for the tall tale of Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, the dubious claim that Russia was responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airline Flight 17 in 2014, or Russia’s supposed attack on a humanitarian convoy in Syria last week.

No Mention of Syria

Curiously, there was absolutely no discussion of Syria in the debate, beyond an incidental mention by Clinton. The focus was on the Islamic State’s threat inside the U.S. and what to do about it.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

Trump accused Clinton, as secretary of state, of creating a vacuum by pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, allowing ISIS to be established. Here Trump insisted again that he never backed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which he correctly said caused immense instability creating the conditions for ISIS.

But Trump missed a tremendous opportunity to hit Clinton for being secretary of state when a precursor of the Islamic State was directly aided by the administration she served in when the U.S. and its Mideast allies were seeking “regime change” in Damascus and tolerating jihadists who were spearheading the effort.

And this is the tragedy of Trump. He’s wrong on so many things: torture, climate change, tax breaks for the rich, increased military spending, law and order, stop and frisk, and guns. So, when he’s right, such as wanting good relations with Russia to avoid catastrophe, he doesn’t adequately explain his position, while being subject to a massive smear campaign.

Only on trade and rebuilding the country’s infrastructure has he been right for the good of American workers, and has also amply laid out this position (spending more time on that in the debate than anything else.)

Last month, Trump caused a firestorm when he said that Obama and Clinton had“created” ISIS. He later said Obama “founded” ISIS. While that is an exaggeration, there exists a document proving the Obama administration’s complicity in the rise of this group, a document Trump must be aware of, but has never made use of. The debate would have been the perfect time.

The declassified Defense Intelligence Agency document of August 2012 said the U.S., some European countries, Turkey and the Gulf Arab states were facilitating the establishment of a Salafist principality in the east of Syria to put pressure on Damascus. The document warns that likeminded jihadists on the Iraq side of the border could join with them to create an “Islamic State.” The document actually uses that name a full two years before the Islamic State was declared.

Trump must know about it because Ret. General Mike Flynn, the DIA director at the time, told Al Jazeera that the document shows the administration was not turning a blind eye to this but that it was a “willful decision” by Washington. Mike Flynn is a Trump foreign policy adviser, so it’s inconceivable that Flynn did not tell Trump about the document. 

And yet Trump inexplicably has never mentioned it, even when he was under heavy fire from establishment Washington and the corporate media for his remark.

Instead of bringing it up at the debate, he merely attacked Clinton for revealing her plan to fight ISIS on her website. “I don’t think General Douglas MacArthur would like that too much,” Trump said, referring to the commanding U.S. general in the Pacific during World War II, a head-scratching reference for the vast majority of Americans born in the post-war era.

“Well, at least I have a plan to fight ISIS,” Clinton retorted.

“No, no, you’re telling the enemy everything you want to do,” Trump shot back.

Instead of mentioning the DIA document he repeated his numbskull idea that ISIS would not exist if his idea of “taking” Iraq’s oil had been followed. ‘Had we taken the oil — and we should have taken the oil — ISIS would not have been able to form either, because the oil was their primary source of income,” he said. “And now they have the oil all over the place, including the oil — a lot of the oil in Libya, which was another one of her disasters.”

Clinton cut his knees out from under him again, saying Trump “actually advocated for the actions we took in Libya and urged that Gaddafi be taken out, after actually doing some business with him one time.”

It looks like it may be a very long six weeks until Election Day for Donald Trump. And if  avoiding a confrontation with Russia is the single most important issue of the day, more urgent even than climate change, the alternative, a Clinton back in the White House, could be a very chilling four years for the rest of us.

Joe Lauria is a veteran foreign-affairs journalist based at the U.N. since 1990. He has written for the Boston Globe, the London Daily Telegraph, the Johannesburg Star, the Montreal Gazette, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. He can be reached [email protected]  and followed on Twitter at @unjoe.

29 comments for “Trump’s Missed Debate Opportunities

  1. Robert Cannon
    October 1, 2016 at 11:51

    Just wish you would stop with the Climate Change stuff. This is clearly political propaganda. The science does not support man causing significant climate change from what I’ve read (quite a bit). Man only is responsible for about 4% of the CO2, and CO2 is a weak greenhouse gas. The ozone hole was a major contributor and we have reduced that in the 90s. Now avg temps are about flat and are actually declining (using SATELLITE data, the only valid data). See work of Du Lu at Univ of Waterloo.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      October 1, 2016 at 19:03

      Your opinion contradicts the scientific consensus, as does that ONE piece of work, as opposed to TENS OF THOUSANDS of studies.

      Also, you don’t recognize that the amount does not really matter, but the potency.

  2. Joe Levantine
    October 1, 2016 at 05:17

    Larry Nickols, the man who masterminded all the Clinton strategies of dirty winning during the time of Bill Clinton’s governorship has requested that Mr. Trump put him on his campaign team to preempt the Clonton’s dirty techniques but Nichols got no response so far from the Trump people.
    Trump needs all the help he can get to make up for his lack of experience at political debating. Nichols could make the difference between winning or losing the next two debates. Would anyone advise the Trump campaign to give Larry Nichols a chance?

  3. Paul Surovell
    September 29, 2016 at 23:44

    Another mystery is why Trump has failed to cite David Plouffe’s condemnation of the HRC campaign in 2008 for circulating a photo of Obama dressed in Kenyan garb:

    “Obama campaign manager David Plouffe accused the Clinton campaign Monday of ‘shameful offensive fear-mongering’ by circulating a photo as an attempted smear.”

  4. Realist
    September 29, 2016 at 09:29

    Both Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton should get the opportunity to speak at length about the role of Russia in Syria today ASAP, as State Department spokesman John Kirby basically told the Russians that America will be in a state of war with them unless they stand down in Aleppo. He unmistakably threatened their troops, their aircraft and Russian cities with death and destruction, causing Russian Foreign Minister spokesperson Zakharova to respond to his provocations.

    If the following words are not a direct threat of military action against Russia, I don’t know what is, since we know that these proxy terrorists are recruited, armed and trained (and protected on the battlefield) by the Pentagon and the CIA: “Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft,” US State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at Wednesday’s press briefing, adding that if the war in Syria continues “more Russian lives will be lost, more Russian aircraft will be shot down.”

    Moreover, I recently read that most of these goons supported by America are not even Syrians, so it’s not a civil war, it’s yet another war of aggression by the United States, though fought mainly by proxy mercenaries. The numbers I encountered indicated that the 600,000 strong Syrian army must contend against about 500,000 foreign Jihadists recruited from around the world who are promised big money, women and the right to live in Western Europe by their American recruiters once their task of overthrowing the Assad government is accomplished. Cock roaches like that should all be exterminated whether Uncle Sam likes it or not.

    Let’s hear Killary defend this naked aggression and call to war (the war certain to end all wars) by Obomber’s government. And let’s hear Donald put up or shut on this issue. It ain’t going away, though we all may.

  5. Bill Bodden
    September 28, 2016 at 22:57

    We cannot keep having these misguided leaders

    The United States has had dysfunctional and criminal leaders for most of its history, but the people can’t complain. A nation gets the kind of government and the kind of candidates for government it deserves

  6. September 28, 2016 at 22:02

    Smiling and laughing while engaged in a Presidential debate is inappropriate to say the least. Are any of these issues to be laughed or smiled at? I don’t think so. Trying to humiliate the other party to the debate is neither an appropriate strategy. This is about national and international issues, not personalities, so it’s rather disturbing.

    For these reasons I caution the American people to look at history before they vote. Do we have a serious candidate here, or one that is bringing to our national scene her personal problems and idiosyncrises? Remember George Bush Jr. who wanted to be a bigger man than his father and was a drunk and failed businessman until he had an epiphany at age 40?

    And Barack Obama who had never run anything and wanted to be the black messiah and bring everyone together to fill in the gap left by his missing father, and hasn’t done anything in the past year. Recently, in Beijing he was refused the red-carpet treatment that the other leaders had received. So he dropped his own stairs and went on about “his” business. In other words, he shrugged off the insult as a “black” man has to do because usually he can’t do anything about it, instead of sitting tight until they DID give him the red-carpet treatment, or leave. He was there as the President of the United States, not a “black” man”, but he didn’t seem to know the difference. He was dissed because he was a “black” man, not as President of the United States. This incident goes to prove why America cannot have as their President a member of a minority group, least of all a disadvantaged one. A leader must be able to identify with the people and clearly Obama hasn’t been able to do this. As an American of early colonial heritage, I feel insulted when my President is insulted. His presidency has been just one big ego trip.

    And now, Hillary, who, having been humiliated by Bill, wants to prove that she is a bigger man than he? Again, she has never run anything (the State Department runs itself). What did she actually do all those years? She bragged about going to 112 countries. Do you ever remember mentally questioning those tourists who told you that they had “done” 10 European countries in 10 days? Experience is important, but it can’t just be the same experience over and over again. Trump was right. It can’t be “bad” experience either, like enjoying the fact that Khadaffi died, or that she might have “obliterated” Iran.

    Unlike Margaret Thatcher, Hillary does not know how to deal with a man. Do you think she would have allowed Dennis (her husband) to go around “d##king bimbos” the way Bill did (does)? Should she compare the impetuousness of his tweeting with putting his fingers on the atomic buttons? Not very smart when he could be President. We cannot keep having these misguided leaders. This is not amateur psychology. It’s just common sense.

    Should she be whining when someone hacks into her emails, and then blame them for doing it? Doesn’t this sound rather juvenile at this level? Rather, shouldn’t she blame herself for having failed to protect herself from the hacking? And to pick on the bad guy du jour, Vladimir Putin, as the mastermind behind it all. Well, if he is, it should be embarrassing, and so why isn’t it? Because this person is not as serious as she should be.

    As the commentator points out, being right with Russia is the most important issue of the day, and can’t we give Trump any credit for recognizing this fact. I do, as a former U. S. Naval Aviator, who, on frequent occasions, buzzed their ships and flew with Mig-17s on my wingtips, while patrolling the Kamchatka coastline in the late fifties, and appreciates the fact that they did not shoot me down. But we didn’t hear about this with the same hypocrisy that we heard about our buzzing their ships in the suburbs of St. Petersburg recently.

    I don’t think Hillary has any idea what Putin is doing for all of us, so blinded as she is by the largesse of the Zionist Neo-Conservatives, least of all Obama, who turned on him after he saved his chestnuts. Shall we remember other instances of U.S. betrayal: Eisenhower and the Hungarians in 1956 and the elder Bush and the Shiites in 1992.

  7. SDCulp
    September 28, 2016 at 17:26

    After reading “The Killing of Osama bin Laden” by Sy Hersh, and a couple years reading this website, I no longer see the world the way it’s portrayed in the media. Main stream media should have a caption “based on a true story”.

    • SDCulp
      September 28, 2016 at 17:49

      Actually, it began many, many years ago, with books and authors too numerous to mention.
      But Plato started it with ‘the allegory of the cave’.

    • backwardsevolution
      September 28, 2016 at 19:02

      “Based on a true story” – now that’s funny!

    • Gregory Herr
      September 29, 2016 at 19:29

      I respect Hersh, but he didn’t go deep or far enough. Bin Laden was in Pakistan before 9/11 and likely died there before the “killing”.

  8. Bill Bodden
    September 28, 2016 at 15:51

    Whether the Clintons move back into the Evil Office or Trump puts his logo on the White House next January is of limited consequence. The future of the United States, the Middle East, Eurasia and, perhaps, the planet will depend, as it has for decades, one who calls the shots in the plutocracy and the oligarchs in Congress who will do their bidding as understood when campaign donations were passed from one group to another.

    Relations are more likely to be harmonious if the ruling troika consists of the plutocrats and the Israel Lobby, the oligarchs in the Democratic and Republican parties whose palms were well-greased by said plutocrats and lobby, and the Clintons who are well-versed in how the system works and have demonstrated how pliant they can be.

    The Donald is another story. He could throw tantrums and rock the boat, but more than likely the alleged author of “The Art of the Deal” will assume the right posture.

  9. Deena Stryker
    September 28, 2016 at 14:36

    Thanks for this analysis, Joe It’s important to emphsize the ver real danger of nuclear war, if Hillary is elected, using the supporting evidence that is widely available regarding the US chief goal of remaining topdog and the need to carve up Russia for that to happen.

  10. evelync
    September 28, 2016 at 14:13

    Just when I think that my opinion of our foreign policy or lack thereof couldn’t be worse, I learn, above, that:
    we knowingly welcomed the Islamic State in Syria as a counter force to the Syrian government, if I understand this document correctly.
    And General Mike Flynn confirms that he was aware of this as “willful policy” of the administration in the interview linked to above.

    There apparently is no strategic thinking in Washington that is free of self serving childish political maneuvering.

    If we had a real democratic government, foreign policy would be transparent and debated publicly in real time. Our “leaders” apparently have no clue what they are doing or why.

    I knew at the time it was happening that the capture of Osama Bin Laden was shameless showboating that was not intended to make America safer.
    And I was disappointed in our president and his Secretary of State’s efforts to try to make themselves look good.
    They didn’t. They risked people’s lives and didn’t do one lick to help solve the turmoil in the ME.
    OBL was apparently no longer whatever force he once was. Just a political propaganda prop.

    At least Gary Johnson says he doesn’t think we should be trying to run the planet. And it’s wrong to think we can live other peoples’ lives. We apparently can’t handle our own problems very well.

    Obama I think did a couple of few good things:

    The Iran deal.
    Ending the Cold War against Cuba.
    Stopping the torture – from what’s been reported

    But the promise of change was lost, abandoned, or never real.
    He abandoned Main Street for Wall Street’s benefit.
    He continued on Bush’s course meddling in the ME and used drone strikes as a hellish tactical weapon.
    He kept foreign policy secret instead of making it a matter for the whole country to debate.

    We’re not children.
    But I think Washington operates in an atmosphere of mindless political games.
    Serious deliberation is mocked as weakness.
    And is ignored.

  11. Tania Messina
    September 28, 2016 at 12:19

    Debbie Menon: Ditto, ditto, ditto and ditto!!! No one could have said it better! I felt the same way after Obama’s first debate and keep referring to that. It is exactly because Trump is NOT a politician that he has been popular——We the People are sick of voting for charlatans who, once We put them in office, do us the favor of turning against OUR interests for their pocketbooks. It is the special interest groups that carry the power over the PEOPLE, and the PEOPLE have had it! Thank God that there are enough who see through it all; however, there are still too many Americans who refuse to educate themselves on what is truly going on. Discussing Benghazi with an acquaintance who should know better, finally said, referring to the movie, “13 Hours,” “It was probably made by the Republicans in order to discredit Hillary!” What can I say? I always enjoy your comments, whether here or at VT. Thanks

  12. FobosDeimos
    September 28, 2016 at 11:59

    Trump did not have an opportunity to show anything simply because there is nothing inside his grotesque head. Hillary will be a terrible president, and Trump would have been a terrible president too, with the additional creepy features of a mentally deranged buffoon. As for his supposedly “anti war” stance, I never believed for a moment that the world would be safer with Trump in the White House. His jingoistic mantras about America First do not stand for an “isolationist” policy. On the contrary, his views are those of a macho trigger happy clown, ready to push the button any time. His total surrender to the Israeli position on Jersulamen as its “indivisible” capital shows how wrong were those who dreamed of a more equitable Trump presidency. If I were an American citizen I would vote for the Green Party.

  13. Michael
    September 28, 2016 at 11:28

    Hillary on Trump’s tax returns. “Maybe he’s not as rich as he claims to be.”

    A timeline showing each candidate’s path to wealth would be entertaining. Weren’t the Clintons flat broke when they left the White House? And now…Who were the big contributors along the way? Goldman for one…Would love to see it done on page one.

  14. Cindi
    September 28, 2016 at 11:26

    Trump missed his big opportunity to have a sound byte that would follow him for the rest of his days, and it would have taken only a few words.
    Hillary was expounding on how “countries around the world need to know they can count on us…” and he SHOULD HAVE broken in with “like those 4 young men in BENGHAZI counted on YOU???”
    I understand being unprepared, as he’s never debated before, and it’s hard to have someone relentlessly confronting you for 90 minutes, but this is a shrewd man (he HAS to be, right?). He should be able to think on his feet better. If I thought it, HE should have thought it, and said it, and won with that comment alone.

  15. lynne gillooly
    September 28, 2016 at 11:26

    I agree that our leaders and media are playing a very dangerous game by vilifying Putin. It is also very disconcerting that Hillary seems to be a Hawk. That said, Mr. Trump scares the hell out of me. I honestly think he has a serious mental problem and an inability to focus for more than a few minutes on anything but himself. At this point I would vote for Hillary and work hard to hold her feet to the fire to support the Platform presented at the DNC.
    Climate change is HUGE. Trickle down economics is a disaster. Healthcare is also too big to ignore. She does have flaws, but the alternative is too risky.

    • Gregory Herr
      September 29, 2016 at 19:12

      Clinton gives lip service to environmental concerns yet supports fracking and the status quo. The health insurance system and the rigged economy are a disaster…more status quo here from Clinton. The DNC platform is more meaningless lip service. Good luck with the holding her feet to the fire thing.
      Clinton scares the hell out of me. Her imperious attitude, her support for surveillance and not-so-subtle references to Internet “radicalization”, her record of deceit and mendacity in foreign policy (and the company she keeps), her support for TPP (listen to Bill on this), all make her ascension to the Presidency something to be avoided even at the cost of living with Trump instead.

  16. September 28, 2016 at 06:57

    Hillary on Trump’s tax returns. “Maybe he’s not as rich as he claims to be.”

    He did not get rich on bribes from “Special Interests” with strings attached Madame Secretary.

    She is the most compromised politician and the first presidential candidate in history of America to be under FBI Investigation.

    Instead of disqualifying her, Shame on Dems for continuing to dignify her.

    If Trump Wins, Hillary and Bill Clinton could Go To Jail!

  17. September 28, 2016 at 06:25

    Hillary sounded like a robot reading her cards, memorized lines and who knows if the questions were coordinated prior to the debate anything is possible with the Clintons. How can Bernie Sanders supporters forget how they were scammed by the DNC.

    Promising free college and rainbows to the young voters. They need jobs for Christ sake.

    They will be fools to buy what Hillary is selling them. After 26 years of Killary business, the American people are put on food stamps. It’s not a joke!

  18. September 28, 2016 at 05:54

    Joe, It’s been like this for decades. This is not how democracies are run. Let’s start by admitting first as Eric Zuess has written in counterpunch:

    “American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it’s pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation’s “news” media),” he writes. “The US, in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious ‘electoral’ ‘democratic’ countries. We weren’t formerly, but we clearly are now.”

    The people are a bunch of commoners.

  19. Joe Tedesky
    September 27, 2016 at 22:55

    This is a great analysis of the debate by Mr Lauria. I was so glad America could take the time to have that conversation we were all looking forward to having in regard to Miss Universe. It was certainly over due, as was the birtherism issue. Okay Donald we get it, your taxes are being audited…okay, we get it. Who knows maybe if Hillary says it enough of times over Vladimir will call her up, and ask her if she wants her emails back…who knows. At this point I’m starting to wonder if Hillary ever did give a speech to a bunch of bankers, I mean what difference does it make anyway? It’s like our political discourse has turned into a Reality TV Sitcom, and we are all trapped inside this bubble called America. There’s no way out, and we are all doomed to watch our government turn into an even more over fed military monster while our deficit extends towards the twenty trillion dollar mark, and there’s nothing being done about it. Our DOD can’t find 6.5 trillion dollars, and that’s not even in the news. Not to be a kill joy, but do any of you know about the flesh eating man made bacteria that’s floating around in our Atlantic Ocean named Cynthia, and how it came to be? Of course not that’s real news, and it isn’t about the important stuff like Miss Universe or Hillary’s Russian hackers. While the U.S. President and his Secretary of State hammer out a ceasefire our independent minded Pentagon decides to go on a bombing mission, nothing wrong with that. Cops are killing unarmed citizens, while angry protesters line many streets, and the only real leadership comes from an NFL quarterback who refuses to stand for the National Anthem. Lastly, I don’t know what Hillary was on last night during the debates, but it would be nice if my racist neighbor took some to settle his bigot ass down. Seriously, what was she on?

  20. Zachary Smith
    September 27, 2016 at 22:51

    For reasons of his own, Trump is playing to lose. He’s trying not to be blatant about it, but in my opinion he’ll eventually do whatever it takes to go back to his regular rich playboy routine. Lazy? Feelings of inadequacy? Bought off? Doesn’t really matter what his motives are – the man doesn’t want the job. So Hillary is going to become president. Q.E.D.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 27, 2016 at 23:01

      I sometimes picture that about three days after the inauguration Donald will meet with Hillary somewhere for the laugh, and the pay off. America is one big fiddle to these people, and it wouldn’t be the first time and most definitely won’t be the last that we have been played like one.

    • September 28, 2016 at 05:42

      Remember, Obama (a smart orator quick on his feet) sucked at his first debate. In fact he did worse than Trump.

      Give the man a break! He’s not your slick politician.

      Hillary has the backing of the Corporate Media hacks to spin things in her favor.

      She was not challenged on any of her scandals. Real political, and national security scandals. Nothing on the email server and 33,000 deleted emails. Nothing on Benghazi, Nothing on Yemen, Nothing on why has it taken years for the world’s military superpower to halt the spread of ISIS, Nothing on the Clinton Foundation ? Nothing on the foreign policy chaos on her watch ?

      US journalists and Media sucks!

      • backwardsevolution
        September 28, 2016 at 13:23

        Debbie – totally agree, Trump is not a slick politician. Sadly, it’s an art form. I think ordinary people understand this. Plus, while others have criticized Trump for not going after Hillary on details, some have said that he can’t get too detailed because most people will not know what he’s talking about (as they don’t follow things as we might).

        You are right to say that Hillary has the corporate media behind her. She has also been coached well. There’s no telling who is coaching Trump, or whether they’re actually trying to help him or hinder him. He needs simple talking points on each of the topics you outlined. Too bad he doesn’t have people like Robert Parry helping him.

        If he does have good people behind him, maybe he needs to stop and spend time practicing. He’s got to know by now that the moderator is going to lob easy questions at her, so he needs to bring up Benghazi, Syria and Libya himself. The media is not going to help him at all. He must make Clinton go on the defensive, and not let up. As soon as he feels he’s getting defensive, he must turn it around on her.

        Good points, Debbie. I agree, give the man a break.

      September 28, 2016 at 18:06

      And women should not talk to men that way and in particular to Donald Trump, the misogynist.

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