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The first presidential debate—take two

The setting was different but the answers were the same during the second presidential debate which was held Sunday, Oct. 9 with Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz as moderators.

Under the guise of “debate prep,” Trump held a press meeting an hour before the debate with Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick, all of whom have accused former president Bill Clinton of rape or sexual assault, as well as Kathy Shelton who was allegedly raped by a man Hillary Clinton defended. After the women talked and Trump promised to make America great again, he kicked the press out after failing to answer questions about a recently released video.

Trump’s move was seen as a preventative measure against the recent Washington Post exposé, where the post released audio from 2005 where he bragged about how easy it is to get away with sexual assault if one is a celebrity. In the video, Trump is in a bus talking to Billy Bush, then of Access Hollywood.

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Anderson asked Trump if he understood whether or not he was advocating for sexual assault. Trump, predictably, denied the accusation and said, “Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk and it’s one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS, we’re going to defeat ISIS.”

Clinton responded that she “thinks it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is.” Trump’s response was to claim it was “words, just words,” then later started to talk about Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual assaults as well as Hillary’s when she was court-appointed to defend a 41-year-old man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl.

Later, a back and forth happened for a while that was similar, if not exactly, what happened in the first debate. Trump bashed Clinton for deleting 30,000 emails that were supposedly about her private life and then Trump blamed Clinton once again for starting the birther conspiracy. Clinton denied everything, even though her campaign did spread a photo of Obama in a turban, and Trump interrupted constantly.

This topic ended with Trump accusing Anderson of not bringing up the emails and that both moderators were against him.

The next question was about revamping the health care system. Clinton said they should not get rid of the Affordable Care Act but fix it by somehow keeping costs down and providing additional help to small businesses. Trump claims that Obamacare will never work and advocates for getting rid of state lines as well as increasing competition.

An audience member—who was Muslim—asked how the candidates are going to deal with Islamaphobia.

Trumps response was to call it “a shame,” and then spent the rest of his two minutes explaining how Muslims should report any problems they see and that saying “radical Islamic terror” is a vital step needed to solve the issue of terrorism.

Trump never mentions Islamaphobia after his first sentence and it is clear that, instead of answering the question, Trump was continuing to promote the same rhetoric that many have claimed contributed towards anti-Muslim and Islamaphobic reactions.

Clinton responded by calling the rhetoric used by Trump dangerous and shortsighted.

The next question was whether or not Trump still called for a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and whether or not it a mistake if he changed his position.

Trump explained that he is now for “extreme vetting” and claimed, falsely, that the U.S. does not know who the refugees are. He did not answer whether or not he thought his change in position was a mistake.

Clinton was asked “why take the risk of having those refugees coming into the country?”

She replied that “we need to do our part” and that “we are by no means carrying anywhere near the load that Europe and others are.” The rest of her response was against Trump, who once again denied supporting the Iraq War.

Clinton was next asked about a recent Wikileaks release of an email describing paid speeches at Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley among others where she was paid upwards of $225,000 per speech.

When first asked directly if she would release the transcripts in January, Clinton laughed at the question. But tonight she was forced to remark on one comment from the speeches where she explained “if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least,” said Clinton. “So, you need both a public and a private position.”

Her response was that she was talking about the movie “Lincoln” before calling Wikileaks a patsy to the Russian government for allowing these leaks to continue. This was the first time that the Clinton campaign verified the accuracy of some of the released material. Trump mocked Clinton in his rebuff for blaming “Honest Abe.”

On tax plans Trump said, after blaming Clinton for not changing the tax code fast enough for people like him to take advantage of it, was to get rid of carried interest provisions and lowering taxes for the wealthy and middle class. Clinton plans on raising taxes just for the wealthy, or those who are making more than $1 million and a surcharge on incomes above $5 million.

When asked about his tax evasion, Trump said that most of Clinton’s donors did the same thing. When Anderson asked if he can say how long he’s avoided paying taxes Trump replied, “no.”

Concerning Syria, Clinton advocated for a no-fly zone which would put the U.S. potentially in conflict with Russian and Syrian aircraft’s which could, experts warn, escalate in a major war with both countries. She claimed that she would be able to do so without firing a single shot but did not specify how she would be able to avoid a conflict in a Trump-esque way.

Trump disagreed with his running mate, Mike Pence, who said that provocation with Russia should be met with American strength.  Trump said they have not spoken about the topic but he disagrees. This is one of the few positions that has garnered support from both sides.

Clinton continued to advocate for “no boots on the ground” but did say she was for special forces and continued drone use.

The next question concerning policy was who they would appoint for the empty Supreme Court seat. Clinton said she would appoint someone that would reverse Citizens United, stick with an abortion case, Roe v. Wade and marriage equality. Trump said he plans to appoint someone that would replace Justice Scalia.

Another question by an audience member was as close to talking about the environment we have heard so far since the nomination of both candidates. The question was which energy policies they will enact to meet our energy needs, remain environmentally friendly, and minimize job loss for fossil power plant workers.

Trump advocated for a lessening on environmental regulation and claimed that by bringing energy companies wealth, it will somehow enable them to “pay off our national debt, they’ll pay off our tremendous budget deficits.” Trump failed to mention how this will happen. Clinton claimed falsely that the U.S. is energy dependent, that she is for clean and renewable energy, despite advocating for fracking, and will help revitalize coal country somehow by doing “something for them.” She, too, did not give specifics.

The last question was whether or not they had anything nice to say about each other. Clinton responded that his children were nice and devoted to Trump—“that says a lot about Donald.” Trump said Hillary “doesn’t give up. I respect that.”

This debate rehashed topics that were discussed in the first debate but with less dancing and fewer remarks suggesting women deserved to be made fun of.

Trump appeared to be better prepared this time around, however he interrupted just as much. Clinton preformed just as expected.

But, if you watched the first debate it was not too different from this one. We won’t find out what effect this debate had on the polls until next weekend.

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Christian Vasquez, Web Editor
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The first presidential debate—take two