terça-feira, 27 de setembro de 2016
Key moments of the presidential debate
Key moments of the presidential debate
Highlights of debate clash include Trump blaming rival for many US woes
AN HOUR AGO by: Barney Jopson and Sam Fleming in Washington
Donald Trump attempted to paint his opponent as the author of many of America’s misfortunes as he faced off against Hillary Clinton in the first presidential debate on Monday night.
Mrs Clinton, on the other hand, sought to portray Mr Trump as ill-suited for the presidency as she battled him over whether he supported the Iraq War or not and over his false claims that Barack Obama was not born in the US. Here are some of the highlights of the clash between the Republican and Democratic candidates.
Trumped-up trickle down
Mrs Clinton argued that Mr Trump’s economic plans would benefit wealthy individuals like himself, rather than the broader population, calling his proposals “trumped-up trickle-down” because they entailed large tax cuts for the best-off in society. She brandished policies that she said were focused on fairness and helping the middle class through “broad-based, inclusive growth”. She portrayed Mr Trump as a son of privilege, saying his start in business came with the help of a $14m loan from his father. Mr Trump described the loan as “very small”, adding: “I built it into a company that’s worth many, many billions of dollars, with some of the greatest assets in the world, and I say that only because that’s the kind of thinking that our country needs.”
Politics v business
Mr Trump tried to turn his opponent’s policy experience against her as he portrayed Mrs Clinton as a representative of a failed political system that had left the US languishing in crisis. Mrs Clinton, on the other hand, cast Mr Trump as a cynical businessman. She accused him of rooting for the housing crisis, saying he had expressed hope in 2006 that property values would collapse so he would make money out of it. Mr Trump defended himself by touting his entrepreneurial credentials, saying: “That’s called business, by the way.” The Democrat also played up her father’s ownership of a small drapery business and highlighted stories of Mr Trump not paying his contractors. “I can only say that I’m certainly relieved that my late father never did business with you,” she said.
Mr Trump hit his mark when he went for Mrs Clinton on her shifting position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. He reminded the former secretary of state that she had been in favour of the deal but then had altered course. Mrs Clinton refuted that, saying she had hoped it would be a good deal but that she could not support the final terms, which she was not responsible for. “So is it President Obama’s fault?” Mr Trump asked, exposing the awkward ground Mrs Clinton has stood on when it comes to her trade policies.
The Federal Reserve
The US central bank has repeatedly been on the receiving end of barbs from Mr Trump, who has claimed without supporting evidence that it is doing the bidding of Barack Obama by keeping interest rates low. He doubled down during the debate, bringing the Fed up during a segment that was supposed to be focused on taxes. The US, he said, was “in a big, fat, ugly bubble”, in part because the Fed was “doing political things” by keeping rates very low. “The day Obama goes off, and he leaves, and goes out to the golf course for the rest of his life to play golf, when they raise interest rates, you’re going to see some very bad things happen,” he said, arguing the Fed was more political than Mrs Clinton.
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Mr Trump found himself on sticky turf when it came to the inevitable questions over why he was not releasing his tax returns. Mrs Clinton had put forward a series of theories for why Mr Trump had not released them, one of which was that he paid nothing in federal income taxes. “The only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino licence, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax,” said Mrs Clinton. Mr Trump responded, “That makes me smart”. He later suggested that any federal income tax he paid would be “squandered”.
Some Democrats have cringed when Mrs Clinton seeks to play down her use of a private email server with lengthy legalistic explanations. She avoided that on Monday night and instead gave a terse response when asked about her emails while secretary of state. “If I had to do it over again, I would, obviously, do it differently. But I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake, and I take responsibility for that.” Mr Trump chimed in, describing as “disgraceful” the decisions of some computer technicians linked to the server to invoke their fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination. But on an issue that is closely associated with nagging questions about Mrs Clinton’s trustworthiness, he did not attempt to go for the jugular.
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Having spent years questioning Barack Obama’s birthplace, Mr Trump sought to claim credit for ending the controversy by declaring shortly before the debate that he accepted the president was born in the US. “I think I did a great job and a great service not only for the country, but even for the president, in getting him to produce his birth certificate,” he said. But Mrs Clinton seized on the chance to portray Mr Trump as racist, saying he “started his career back in 1973 being sued by the justice department for racial discrimination” because he would not rent apartments in one building to African-Americans. “So he has a long record of engaging in racist behaviour. And the birther lie was a very hurtful one. You know, Barack Obama is a man of great dignity. And I could tell how much it bothered him and annoyed him.”
The praise Mr Trump has lavished on Russian President Vladimir Putin has created what Democrats see as a vulnerability. Mrs Clinton sought to exploit it when the debate turned to cyber security. “I was so shocked when Donald publicly invited Putin to hack into Americans,” she said. “That is just unacceptable.” Mr Trump, however, managed to shift attention away from Russia by conjuring a memorable alternative image. “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC,” he said. “It could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400lbs, OK?”
Mr Trump repeated the tough rhetoric on Isis that has become familiar on the campaign trail, landing some blows on Mrs Clinton, but also swinging and missing. While the Republican has claimed to have a secret plan for destroying Isis, he ridiculed his opponent for making her plans public on her website. “I don’t think General Douglas MacArthur would like that too much,” he said. “You’re telling the enemy everything you want to do.” But he added a demonstrably false assertion by saying: “No wonder you’ve been fighting Isis your entire adult life.” He did better later when he said: “You were secretary of state when [Isis] was a little infant. Now it’s in over 30 countries, and you’re going to stop them? I don’t think so.”
Mrs Clinton waited until almost the end of the debate — and the moment for parting thoughts — to bring up controversial comments Mr Trump has made towards women. “This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men,” she said as Mr Trump talked over her, denying he had said such things. She went on to say Mr Trump had called a woman in a beauty contest “Miss Piggy” and then “Miss Housekeeping” because she was Latina. Mr Trump responded by saying he was resisting the temptation to say something “extremely rough to Hillary, to her family”. But he told CNN afterwards that Bill Clinton’s “indiscretions” might come up in the second debate.