Sixty-five million viewers tuned in to see the second presidential debate between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on Sunday, October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis. The ratings were far less than the 84 million who tuned into the first presidential debate, but at near parity with the 65.6 million viewers for the October, 2012 second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
While second debates typically draw fewer viewers than first debates, ratings expectations were high for the second Clinton-Trump face off in the wake of the two Friday surprises, the release of a 2005 audiotape where Donald Trump made lewd comments about women, and a WikiLeaks release of Hillary Clinton telling a Wall Street audience that she dreams about a “borderless society.”
While the numbers for the second presidential debate were unremarkable, the evening’s spectacle met expectations. Here are my top take-aways:
1. Donald Trump Successfully Stabilized his Campaign
Donald Trump did an incredible job of turning the conversation away from the 2005 audiotape where he was overheard with then-Access Hollywood Reporter Billy Bush (George Herbert Walker Bush’s nephew) making lewd comments about women while en route to a cameo appearance on the daytime drama “Days of Our Lives.” Trump repeatedly said that he was sorry about his comments and then proceeded to hit Hillary Clinton hard on her respective scandals including the 33,000 emails she deleted.
Trump also succeeded in delivering substantive comments about other topics including ISIS, the Supreme Court, etc. Trump also accused former president Bill Clinton of being a rapist and criticized Hillary Clinton’s public defender career where she once represented a rapist who attacked a twelve-year-old. Footage exists of Mrs. Clinton laughing while describing how she got the rapist off on a technicality. Trump also commented that if he were to become president, he would order a federal investigation into Clinton’s activities, which would result in her being imprisoned.
2. Media Bias Is Still Alive and Well
While the October 9 debate’s moderators CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz were not as blatantly biased towards Clinton as NBC’s Lester Holt was during the first presidential debate, there were still several moments where the moderators were much harder on Trump than on Clinton. For instance, approximately the first half hour of the debate was devoted to questions about the audiotape.
During this time frame, Anderson Cooper accused Donald Trump of “bragging that he sexually assaulted women.” Making inappropriate comments about women may be inexcusable from a decorum standpoint, but graphic language does not equal “sexual assault.”
Martha Raddatz also forgot for a few moments that she was a moderator at the debate and not a participant when she started disagreeing with Donald Trump about Middle East policy. In addition, once again, the moderators failed to question Hillary Clinton about the Clinton Foundation.
3. Abraham Lincoln Is Still Relevant
The evening’s most memorable moment came when Hillary Clinton was questioned about the recently released transcript from a speech which she delivered to the National Multi-Housing Council in April, 2013 where she spoke about politicians having a public and private stance on issues. Somehow when responding to the ethics of this position, she pivoted the conversation to Abraham Lincoln. Apparently, Mrs. Clinton had recently seen the Spielberg film “Lincoln” shortly before she delivered the speech and it got her thinking about Lincoln using different arguments to convince different people to vote for the 13th amendment. Donald Trump accused Clinton of lying and said that she is now “blaming the lie on the late, great Abraham Lincoln. That’s one I haven’t heard. OK, Honest Abe never lied. That’s a good thing. That’s the difference between Abraham and you.”
4. The Candidates Can Say Something Nice About Each Other
The last question of the evening was “regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?” Both candidates delivered genuine compliments to their respective opponents. Clinton complimented Trump by saying, “His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that.” Trump returned the kindness by saying “I will say this about Hillary. She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter. I disagree with much of what she’s fighting for. I do disagree with her judgment in many cases. But she does fight hard, and she doesn’t quit, and she doesn’t give up. And I consider that to be a very good trait.”
The next presidential debate is scheduled for Wednesday October 19 in Las Vegas. Fox News’ Chris Wallace will moderate.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com