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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

By John Whitesides and Steve Holland

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (Reuters) – Democrat Hillary Clinton accused Republican Donald Trump of racism, sexism and tax avoidance on Monday during a heated presidential debate that could reshape the 2016 campaign for the White House.

Trump, a real estate tycoon making his first run for public office, said Clinton’s long years of service represented “bad experience” with few results and suggested her disavowal of a trade deal with Asian countries was insincere.

For Trump, 70, the debate was a chance to appear disciplined. For Clinton, 68, it was an opportunity to reassure voters she could be trusted. It remained to be seen how voters would judge their performance.

In a sign investors saw Clinton as the winner, Asian shares recouped early losses on Tuesday and the dollar edged away from a one-month trough against the yen. Markets have tended to see Clinton as the candidate of the status quo.

In one of the more heated exchanges, the two candidates attacked each other for the controversy Trump stoked for years over whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

The president, who was born in Hawaii, released a long form birth certificate in 2011 to put the issue to rest. Only this month did Trump say publicly that he believed Obama was U.S.-born.

“He (Trump) has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen. There was absolutely no evidence for it. But he persisted. He persisted year after year,” Clinton said.

Trump repeated his false accusation that Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential campaign against Obama had initiated the so-called “birther” issue.

“Nobody was pressing it, nobody was caring much about it … I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate and I think I did a good job,” Trump said.

African-American voters overwhelmingly support Clinton, but Trump in recent weeks has said he believes his policy agenda would benefit them and said the policies of Obama and Clinton had failed to help black Americans.

He said Clinton’s arguments were disingenuous.

“When you try to act holier than thou, it really doesn’t work,” Trump said.

RED AND BLUE

Clinton wore a red pantsuit, and Trump wore a dark suit and a blue tie to the encounter that could shift the course of the tight race for the Nov. 8 election. She called him Donald. He called her Secretary Clinton for much of the debate before switching to her first name.

Toward the end of the debate, Trump said Clinton did not have the endurance to be president.

“She doesn’t have the look, she doesn’t have the stamina,” he said.

Citing her own public record, Clinton retorted: “As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents … or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

Each accused the other of distortions and falsehoods and urged viewers to check their campaign websites for the facts.

Clinton called the New York businessman’s tax policies “Trumped-up trickle-down” economics and Trump accused the former secretary of state of being “all talk, no action.”

“I have a feeling I’m going to be blamed for everything,” Clinton, the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party, said during one tough exchange.

“Why not?” retorted Trump, a former reality TV star.

Clinton knocked Trump for not releasing his income tax returns and said that decision raised questions about whether he was as rich and charitable as he has said. She noted that the few years of tax returns he had released showed that despite his wealth, he had paid no federal income tax.

“That makes me smart,” Trump said.

“I have a tremendous income,” he said at one point, adding that it was about time that someone running the country knew something about money.

Clinton criticized Trump for failing to pay some of the business people with whom his company had contracted. She said she had met a lot of people who had been cheated by her opponent.

Trump said such incidents of non-payment had taken place when the work was unsatisfactory.

TRADE AT ISSUE

Trump attacked Clinton for her trade policies and said she would approve a controversial trade deal with Asian countries despite opposing it as a candidate.

“You were totally in favor of it, then you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, ‘Well, I can’t win that debate,’ but you know that if you did win, you would approve that,” he said.

Clinton rejected the criticism.

“Well Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts,” she said.

Moderator Lester Holt struggled to rein in the candidates, with discussions about trade policy suddenly shifting to the fight against Islamic State as Trump accused Clinton of giving away information to the enemy by revealing on her website how she planned to defeat the group. Clinton said that unlike Trump, she at least had a plan for fighting Islamist militants.

Opinion polls have shown the two candidates in a very tight race, with the latest Reuters/Ipsos polling showing Clinton ahead by 4 percentage points, with 41 percent of likely voters.

A second Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday showed half of America’s likely voters would rely on the debates to help them make their choice.

Two other presidential candidates – Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein – were not invited to take part in the debate because neither had obtained at least 15 percent support in national polls, the threshold established to qualify.

(Additional reporting by Amanda Becker, Ginger Gibson, Luciana Lopez, Roberta Rampton, Emily Stephenson, Alana Wise; Writing by Jeff Mason; Editing by Howard Goller)

IMAGE: Donald Trump shakes hands with Hillary Clinton at the conclusion of their first presidential debate. REUTERS/Mike Segar

13 Responses to Clinton, Trump Clash Over Race, Experience In First Debate

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  2. After 8 years, we are still talking about where Obama was born. If that is all Clinton has, then she can never win. How many questions were being asked by the left about the birth of Ted Cruz when he was still a candidate?

    • None, but that’s because you aren’t allowed to question a fellow Republican’s credentials, no matter how false they are.

      • Either you didn’t follow the campaigns at all or you are just ignorant of the groups and individuals that were saying Cruz isn’t a natural citizen.

        • The only ignorant of facts is you. Trump is the one that brought it up, as he did with President Obama. You say after 8 years, I say after 30 years your party is still witch hunting.

          • I blocked AG, because he is gross, Itsun is a paid troll, he/she doesn’t admit it, but it’s as obvious as Trump’s lies. I reply, because I don’t want he/she’s lies to be the last word.

          • itsfun has these voices in his/her head that say things itsfun believes are true. Facts don’t enter this space so itsfun’s comments tend to be based on those voices.

  3. There are many statements Trump made last night and many others of the past that describe a man who is entirely detached from spiritual values. Three in particular, based on his words, describe his lack of conscience and disregard for cultivating spiritual values.

    1)“Nobody was pressing it, nobody was caring much about it … I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate and I think I did a good job,” Trump said.

    2) “That makes me smart,” Trump said.

    “I have a tremendous income,” he said at one point, adding that it was about time that someone running the country knew something about money.

    3) “When you try to act holier than thou, it really doesn’t work,” Trump said.

    In the first quote above, we see Trump once again accentuating himself, pointing out his accomplishment as though he’s interviewing for a position as a CEO or for any routine job.
    Item 2 shows him repeating this theme of “I’m great because I’m smart”. Hardly a phrase issues from his lips that doesn’t draw attention to himself—he can’t avoid it.
    As for item 3, this shows a man who dares to use the word “holier” when he makes no effort to even pretend to be holy except to show up at a church gathering in a black community in a perfunctory manner.

    In summary, we have a man who worships himself first and foremost, with nary a concern for wanting to be as God would have him to be—he doesn’t even make an attempt. There’s a saying “Fake it, until you make it”, which implies that even if you haven’t attained a desired level of having a conscience, at least make an effort to take a first step, followed by several others steps until you reach the goal. Trump is too busy being fascinated with the false impression of his greatness to have time to develop his spiritual aspect. And that’s why he felt obliged to retaliate with the trivial assertion about being holier not working.
    Of course there are those who insist on projecting a “holier than thou” image for selfish purposes, which is wrong also. Donald will never be accused of projecting that image anytime soon—BELIEVE ME!

    • What we have is a certifiable Narcissistic Personality Disorder patient. That is not the same as a garden variety narcissist, it is pathological and most often goes along with a sociopath.

    • I’m not even sure he knows when he’s lying. Lying is so ingrained in his lexicon, that he does it automatically. Truth-lie, it makes no difference. How else could someone deny what he said shortly after he said it and when it is on videotape?

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