Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said that the contentious second presidential debate was not tougher than she expected, but told reporters rival Trump, “is not fit to be president and commander-in-chief. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
DONALD Trump will try to claw back control of his crisis-riddled campaign after declaring he would put Hillary Clinton in jail if he was president in a fiercely personal debate.
Mr Trump — fresh from calls to step aside and down in the polls — used the debate to play to his rusted on support base, executing a blow-by-blow attack on Ms Clinton and her husband’s treatment of women.
The desperate bid to regain ground after 48 hours in free-fall over his taped remarks about women saw Mr Trump blur the lines between power and law, declaring he’d appoint a “special prosecutor” to investigate Ms Clinton over her deleted emails, before later asserting that she’d be in jail if he was president.
The Clinton campaign is expected to seize on the jail remarks as evidence of Mr Trump’s almost dictatorial temperament with a fresh ad campaign less than a month out from voting day.
Ms Clinton systematically skewered Mr Trump over his vile taped remarks about women that had almost destroyed his campaign, saying they “represents exactly who he is”.
She accused him of using his vitriol on a litany of other victims including Latinos, black Americans, POWs, Muslims and people with disabilities.
Mr Trump showed up to round two drastically more prepared than the first debate, but still ruffled Republican feathers by disagreeing on policy with his Vice Presidential pick.
Mr Trump was a more effective debater than he was in round one, and was able to successfully attack Ms Clinton on her email scandal, calling into question her fitness to serve after deleting 33,000 emails from her private server.
He also accused his opponent of having “tremendous hate in her heart”.
Tensions were high when the pair first took the stage and didn’t shake hands — a stark contrast to their friendly greeting in the first debate.
The questions of Mr Trump’s vile tape remarks about women — in which he said he could do anything he wanted to them because he was a star — were mostly dealt with in the first 10 minutes of the debate.
At first, Mr Trump’s apology was weak — he repeatedly minimised the comments as “locker room banter”, but clarifying that he was embarrassed and not proud, before oddly trying to pivot to a discussion on ISIS.
When pushed, he clarified that they were “just words” and he had never done the things he spoke of.
Mr Trump then turned his attention to Mr Clinton, after threatening to since the last debate.
“Far worse,” he said of Mr Clinton’s actions to women, including alleged three victims the Trump campaign had brought to the audience.
The Washington Post reportedthat the Trump campaign had wanted to put Mr Clinton’s accusers in his family box alongside Melania, but debate organisers refused. The instead sat with regular audience members.
“Mine were words. His were actions … Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women — attacked them viciously.”
Ms Clinton made no overt move to defend her husband on stage, although the allegations have never been proven.
She simply said that “so much of what he just said isn’t right”, and accused Mr Trump of using diversion tactics.
Mr Trump became so worked up at one point, he accused the moderators — Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC — of siding with Clinton: “It’s nice. One on three,” he said.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump nodded cooly to each other at the outset of the debate, but closed it with a handshake. Photo: AP
As the pair sparred on Obamacare, Syria and jobs, Mr Trump repeatedly accused Ms Clinton of doing nothing for 30 years in office.
It’s an attack that plays into the strong American dissatisfaction with the Clintons and the perception of Ms Clinton as Washington establishment insider fuelled by self interest.
Mr Trump also admitted he’d used a $916m loss, reported on a tax return in 1995, to avoid paying personal federal taxes.
“Of course I do and so do her donors,” he said, adding that he understood the tax code and Ms Clinton had been complicit in the government administrations that allows it to work how it does.
He flip flopped on differences with his running mate Mike Pence over muslim immigration and Syria, at one point saying they simply “hadn’t spoken”. Mr Pence was one of the voices who criticised Mr Trump’s taped remarks this week.
The debate ended with the pair asked to describe something positive about their opponent.
Ms Clinton said Mr Trump’s children were a credit to him, and he said he admired her fighting spirit.
They signed off with a handshake.