Clinton-Trump first debate updates: Our scorers give it to Clinton


Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump came out swinging in a contentious first showdown. Both entered the debate trying to win support from an unusually high number of voters who remain undecided.

Israelis set their alarm clocks to watch Clinton vs. Trump

Even though the U.S. presidential debate began at 4 a.m. local time, Israel television’s public television channel broadcast it live with simultaneous Hebrew translation.

Israelis tend to follow U.S. politics, but this presidential election has generated extra interest. Tal Schneider, a political blogger who hosted a WhatsApp group for debate watchers, said that more Israelis tuned in than in years past.

“At 4:30 my Twitter feed was filled with Hebrew comments,’’ said Schneider. “A lot of people set their alarm clocks.”

The debate came just one day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held court in New York City with both candidates. News reports highlighted Hillary Clinton’s promise to block any anti-Israeli resolutions at the United Nations and Donald Trump’s vow to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.

It’s no surprise that Israelis have been trying to discern where the candidates would take U.S. policy on two issues: the U.S.-led nuclear agreement with Iran and the stymied peace process with the Palestinians.

While Trump is seen as hewing to recent Republican approach of unqualified support for Israel on both issues, his talk about resetting foreign ties with allies in Europe and Asia has stirred concern about what consequences that could have for Israel. Though Clinton is better known than Trump in Israel, there’s concern that she would continue the Obama administration’s critical posture toward expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Israeli commentators duly noted that Netanyahu was the only foreign leader aside from Vladimir Putin to get mentioned in the debate.

Israel television anchor Ya’akov Ahimeir honed in on his statement that the U.S. should not be the policeman of the world, taking it as an indication that Trump would adopt an isolationist foreign policy if elected.

The banner headline on the home page of Hebrew language Walla! News site summarized the candidates’ attacks on each other like this: “Clinton: He has no plan on ISIS; Trump: You’ve left a mess in the Middle East.”


China tunes in to U.S. presidential debate to witness ‘a drama of hurting each other’

China’s state broadcasters did not air the U.S. presidential debate, but hundreds of thousands of Chinese watched it online.

Among them was Yin Hao, an engineering student at South China University of Technology in the southeastern city of Guangzhou. He live-streamed translations and commentary from his dorm room.

An devotee of American politics, Yin started posting on the presidential race soon after Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination.

Chinese viewers mostly tuned in to the debate to see the spectacle of Donald Trump, Yin said.

“But I think they are a little bit disappointed,” he said after it was over.

He remained hopeful: “The first debate and atmosphere is not so combative. Later maybe they’ll turn on the heat.”

More than 118,000 people watched a live stream of the debate on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, making it the 18th most popular topic on the site.

Many of their more than 2,500 comments focused on Clinton’s appearance and Trump’s penchant for falsehoods.

“Hillary’s lipstick fits her suit well,” one person wrote.

“Trump’s mouth is full of bull,” wrote another.

Some took the opportunity to offer suggestions for their own one-party political system or speculate on what each candidate would mean for China.

“China should elect its president this way,” somebody posted in a not-so-subtle dig at Communism.

“If Trump is elected, he will be like the president of the Philippines, who has a big mouth,” another wrote. “The world will become as thrilling as a roller coaster.”

“If Hillary is elected, she will continue her tough foreign policy towards China, but her husband will help to improve the economy. So our economy will be better too!”

Before the debates, the official Xinhua News agency wrote offered this brief preview: “The American voters are going to watch a drama of hurting each other.”

Nicole Liu and Yingzhi Yang in the Times’ Beijing bureau contributed to this report.


In Mexico, they were hoping Clinton would do better

Trump has attracted widespread hostility in Mexico for his threats to deport immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, and to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In the wake of Monday night’s presidential debate, some analysts here were disappointed that Clinton did not do better.

“Clinton wins the debate; the key question is if this first debate stops the momentum of Trump,” Arturo Sarukan, a former Mexican ambassador in Washington, said on Twitter. “Not yet I think.”

Another former Mexican diplomat, Gabriel Guerra Castellanos, also noted that Clinton failed to achieve an overwhelming victory.

“Hillary wins by points when she needed a knockout,” Castellanos wrote.

Likewise, Mauricio Meschoulam, a professor of international relations, didn’t view the first debate as a game changer.

“I don’t see where this manages to change the tendencies,” wrote Meschoulam.

During the debate, Trump repeated his charges that U.S. jobs were flowing to Mexico and that the North American Free Trade Agreement was a bust for the United States.

But Mexico did not figure as a major theme in the debate.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported from Tokyo that the debate seemed to contribute to a moderate rebound for the Mexican peso, which plummeted to a record low of almost 20 to the U.S. dollar last week. Some analysts have seen Trump’s recent rise in the polls as part of the reason behind the peso’s recent decline.

The Mexican currency rose 1.7 percent to 19.5415 to the dollar as of late morning Tuesday Tokyo time, Bloomberg reported, “a sign investors may perceive Hillary Clinton outperformed Donald Trump in the first U.S. presidential debate.”


What we learned in the first presidential debate: Clinton is making the election a referendum on Trump

L.A. Times political analysts judged all five rounds of the first presidential debate. The winner? Hillary Clinton. Read more >>

Polls show the presidential race tightening, helping to justify some of the unusual hype surrounding Monday’s initial debate between the two candidates. Here are a few things we learned:

Read More


Hillary Clinton took a victory lap after the debate, thanking supporters at a watch party

(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton took a victory lap.

After her face-off with Donald Trump at Hofstra University, the Democratic nominee dropped in at a debate watch party organized for her supporters in nearby Westbury.

“Do you feel good tonight? Well, I sure do,” she said after arriving with former President Bill Clinton, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others.

But she quickly tried to channel their excitement into action, urging supporters to get to work.

“We’ve got two more debates and we’ve got more time before the election. And we can’t take anybody, anywhere for granted,” she said.

“We need to turn out a big vote here in New York. And those of you who can, we need your help in some of the nearby states like Pennsylvania, like Ohio, like New Hampshire.”


Trump complains that his debate mic was ‘defective’


Trump says he’s happy he was able to ‘hold back’ on Bill Clinton


Trump in the spin room: Lester Holt did a ‘great job’


Clinton fans recruit volunteers outside California debate watch party


Watch: Hillary Clinton shook Lester Holt’s hand at the end of the debate. Trump did not.

No hard feelings, right?

After the first presidential debate ended, Hillary Clinton came forward to shake moderator Lester Holt’s hand. Donald Trump, standing behind her, opted to keep walking.

UPDATE: As readers have pointed out to us, Trump later returned to shake Holt’s hand.


But Trump did come back a minute later to shake his hand, as a longer cut shows:


Trump tried to turn Hillary Clinton’s most consistent attack against him into an attack on her

Temperament and judgment have become important qualities this election — buzzwords that imply a certain psychological fitness for the White House.

Donald Trump tried to put to rest any concerns that his blustery personality may be a tad too much to be commander in chief.

How did he make his case? By attacking those qualities in Hillary Clinton.

“I have much better judgment than she does,” Trump said. “I also have a much better temperament that she has.”

“I have a winning temperament,” he went on. “I know how to win.”

Trump described a recent scene with Clinton: “You were totally out of control.”

Clinton took a deep breath. Or, actually, she exhaled.

“Whew,” Clinton said. “OK.”

The topic had been nuclear security, and Clinton sought to turn the conversation back on track.

She criticized Trump’s “deeply troubling” attitude toward nuclear weapons at a time when she explained that the U.S. and leading nations are working to reduce the nuclear stockpile.

Without laying into the temperament question directly, Clinton instead poked at Trump’s penchant for flying off during his late-night tweetstorms.

“A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers near the nuclear codes,” Clinton said.


The closing line


Did Lester Holt leave out questions for Clinton and Trump? Tell us what you think

(Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Was there a missed opportunity during tonight’s debate? A question that you think moderator Lester Holt should have asked candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but didn’t?

Let us know. Tweet us at @latimespolitics, or drop us a note on Facebook.


Scorecard: Clinton ends the debate victorious as Trump fails to win a single round

After several heated back-and-forths about the presidency, our judges unanimously gave this round to Clinton -- again. For more commentary and analysis from our panel of judges, head to our full debate scorecard.


Stop-and-frisk’s effect on crime is hotly debated. Its disproportionate impact on minorities is not

Donald Trump touted stop-and-frisk as a way to combat urban crime on Monday, but the controversial policing tactic was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge and has divided experts on its effectiveness.

“We have to take the guns away from these people that have them and are bad people that shouldn’t have them,” Trump said, saying he did not agree with moderator Lester Holt’s assertion that some people view the practice as a form of racial profiling.

Under stop-and-frisk, officers stop, question and search people for contraband. The approach has been used in major cities such as New York City and Baltimore, but in many cases the practice has ended or been scaled back over concerns about racial profiling.

Read More


Scorecard: A round focusing on foreign policy yields another Clinton win

According to our judges, Trump has yet to win a single round. For more commentary and analysis from our panel of judges, head to our full debate scorecard.


It’s not supposed to be entertainment, but for some it clearly is

(Allen Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Monday night’s presidential debate should not be viewed as “an entertainment show,” but that’s what many Americans got anyway when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump began exchanging political jabs.

A group of debate watchers at a viewing event at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles co-hosted by the Los Angeles Times, Spaceland and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, seemed greatly amused.

The crowd cheered and applauded loudly as the debate opened with Clinton and Trump clashing over economy and trade. The crowd laughed, cheered and applauded when Clinton said Trump’s economic plan would be “trickle-down economics all over again.”

Throughout the debate people got up to order popcorn and drinks.

Among those attending was Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin who took notice of the number of millennials at the theater ahead of the debate.

“The one good thing that’s coming out of this tonight is that you have so many people paying attention to the candidates and issues,” Galperin said. “As a supporter of Hillary and the Democrats, I think she’s going to shine...”

“When’s the last time you had a electorate that is glued to their televisions to watch a debate? And to listen to a real discussion hopefully of public policy.”

Standing in line to order wine and popcorn was Mary Ellen Braden, 73, a resident of Glendale and supporter of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Asked how she felt about Trump supporters, she said they were entitled to their opinion and supporting their candidate.

“I think that person will be very sad when they leave the theater tonight,” she said chuckling.


Trump claims ‘ICE’ endorsement. Here’s what he probably meant

(John Moore / Getty Images )

Donald Trump, offering his credentials on immigration and border security in Monday’s debate, said he had won the endorsement of “ICE” -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

That’s not true. A government agency would not endorse a presidential candidate.

Trump is probably referring to the endorsement of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, a union representing 5,000 immigration officers. His campaign announced the backing Monday morning, noting it was the first time the group had endorsed a presidential candidate.

Chris Crane, president of the union, said in a statement released by Trump’s campaign that Hillary Clinton won only 5% of the vote of union members.

Another union representing border agents, the National Border Patrol Council, also endorsed Trump in March -- a decision not without controversy, as Richard Marosi reported.


Donald Trump is apparently suffering from the sniffles

Donald Trump evidently came to work sick today.

The GOP candidate for president has been sniffling throughout the debate. It’s particularly noteworthy considering how many of Trump’s supporters have criticized Hillary Clinton for having pneumonia and questioning whether she’s healthy enough to be president.

Obviously, some people noticed.


Scorecard: After a contentious round about race, Clinton widens her lead

Despite a slightly improved performance by Trump in Round 2, our judges unanimously handed a heated third round to Clinton. For more commentary and analysis from our panel of judges, head to our full debate scorecard.


Actually, homicides in Chicago have decreased since 2000

Although there have been year-to-year variations, the homicide rate in Chicago has decreased since 2000, according to Chicago Police figures reported in the Chicago Tribune. As of September 2, 2016, there were 474 homicides in Chicago this year.

During the debate, Trump said that there were almost 4,000 people killed in Chicago since President Obama became president. As of the beginning of September, that number was 3,624.


Clinton on being prepared: ‘And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president.’

And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.

— Hillary Clinton


Leslie Jones live-tweets the presidential debate and compares Trump to a car salesman

Leslie Jones
(Jordan Strauss / Invision/Associated Press)

Actress Leslie Jones is back on the live tweeting beat, sharing her insta-commentary of the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And she is not happy with Trump, calling him a narcissist, comparing his tactics to those of a car salesman, lamenting his interruptions and warning that “he is not informed at all.”

You can continue reading Jones’ tweets @Lesdoggg, but be warned: She uses a lot of profanity.


Clinton and Trump, who disagree sharply on gun rights, seem to agree on ‘no fly, no buy’ restriction

One of the starkest differences on policy that exists between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is on guns, specifically what limitations there should be on gun ownership and the role of Congress and the courts in establishing clear guidelines.

And so it was rather striking to find that the two candidates seemed to agree on at least one gun policy Monday.

Clinton, in a tense exchange over criminal justice issues, reiterated her support for what Democrats and gun control advocates have called a “no fly, no buy” policy to restrict individuals on the terrorist watch list from being able to purchase guns.

Read More


Sound problems at UCLA watch party, but applause lines still coming through

Crisis at the UCLA watch party: A massive lag between audio and video at the Crest Westwood Theater just off campus has made the first titanic clash between Clinton and Trump hard to follow.

The crowd, largely made up of students, showed its leanings early. Student watchers initially gave loud approval to Clinton when she walked on stage, while the few Trump supporters met their candidate with barely audible applause.

But then the debate got harder to follow. When Trump appeared to be talking on screen, Clinton’s voice came out, and vice versa. There was stillness in the student crowd as people tried to figure out what the candidates were saying.

Still, a few applause lines came through loud and clear for the largely Clinton faithful: When Clinton referred to Trump’s economic policy as “Trumped-up trickle-down,” the crowd responded joyfully, as if they’d just watched a Bruin throw down a dunk. When Clinton told Trump that he lived in his own reality, the students whooped. When Clinton defended her economic plan by shooting back at Trump, “I think my husband did a pretty good job in the 1990s,” the students clapped.

Trump’s frequent interjections got a more hostile reception. When Trump said in passing to Clinton, “I want you to be happy,” the crowd groaned. When he told Clinton she’d been fighting Islamic State “your entire adult life,” a young man in the audience shouted, “What?!” And when Trump said he wouldn’t release his tax returns because he was under audit, that brought yet another groan from the audience.

Still, the biggest boos of the night thus far were reserved for theater management -- when the sound shut off entirely.


Trump’s aggressive posture toward Clinton defies conventional wisdom on debate behavior. Will it matter?

In the opening segments of Monday’s presidential debate, Donald Trump has disregarded the conventional wisdom that male candidates should be careful not to seem too domineering in debating a female opponent.

The Republican presidential nominee started off with a gentle tone as he pondered aloud how he should address his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“In all fairness to Secretary Clinton – is that OK?” he asked the former secretary of State, who was already calling him “Donald.” “I want you to be very happy. It’s very important to me.”

Within minutes, he was snapping at her as aggressively as he had with the male rivals whom he belittled in GOP primary debates.

“You haven’t done it,” Trump interjected when Clinton was vowing to enforce trade agreements and work to create American jobs.

After Clinton resumed speaking, Trump broke in again, saying, “You have no plan.” Clinton urged him to read her recently published book on her policy proposals.

Trump continued to engage Clinton directly: “Your regulations are a disaster.”

His demeanor, at times angry, called to mind Rick Lazio, Clinton’s GOP opponent in her 2000 campaign for U.S. Senate in New York. Lazio, then a congressman, walked over to Clinton’s podium and demanded that she sign a pledge to forgo campaign soft money.

Lazio’s intrusion into Clinton’s personal space was widely seen as a major gaffe – and a model for how male candidates should not behave in debating women.

But Trump, who is highly unpopular among women, has defied conventional wisdom from the first day of his iconoclastic campaign, so the question is: Will it matter?


No, being audited does not prevent Donald Trump from releasing his tax returns

Donald Trump returned to a familiar excuse for not releasing his tax returns Monday night: He is under a “routine audit.”

But the IRS has said that nothing precludes someone under audit from releasing his or her tax returns.

In the debate, Trump said much information could be gleaned by the financial disclosures he submitted earlier this year. But as Hillary Clinton pointed out, only the tax returns would reveal Trump’s charitable giving and the marginal tax rate he has paid.

Read More


Scorecard: Clinton remains in the lead after a feisty second round

Despite a slightly stronger showing for Trump, our panel of judges puts Clinton still in the lead. For more commentary and analysis from our panel of judges, head to our full debate scorecard.


Hillary Clinton once called TPP the ‘gold standard.’ Here’s why, and what she says about the trade deal now

Donald Trump has made opposition to multilateral trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership a staple of his case against Hillary Clinton. And he quickly took the conversation there Monday.

He said she supported the former, which the U.S. entered into during her husband’s administration, and the latter, which she helped negotiate as secretary of State.

In fact, Trump argued, Clinton decided to oppose TPP only after she saw the popular response Trump was getting for his position.

But Clinton has maintained she opposes TPP, a position she has been forced to reiterate with greater clarity.

Read More


Donald Trump denied during the debate that he has dismissed climate change. His Twitter account proves otherwise.

Hillary Clinton came to the first presidential debate seemingly prepared to remind the public of some of Donald Trump’s questionable statements. Among those she cited early: his view that climate change is a “hoax.”

Trump quickly rejected the claim. But let’s go to the original source, a tweet by Trump himself:

It appeared at one point to have been deleted, some Twitter users suggested.

But after that assertion began making the rounds, the tweet was still standing.


Donald Trump just said Hillary Clinton only now is focusing on trade. That’s not true.

Keeping with the populist theme of his campaign, Donald J. Trump blamed bad trade deals for America’s uneven economic recovery and accused Hillary Clinton for only recently focusing attention on jobs lost overseas.

“Companies are leaving. They’re leaving in bigger numbers than ever,” Trump said in Monday night’s debate, pointing to recent examples of Carrier and Nabisco moving their production overseas.

Trump accused Clinton of only focusing on trade once the GOP nominee made it a centerpiece of his campaign.

“You’ve been doing this for 30 years,” Trump asked Clinton. “Why are you just starting to think about this now?”

But Clinton has weighed in on trade agreements repeatedly — with varying levels of support — during her long public service, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, which went into effect in 1994. The agreement was negotiated and signed by President George H.W. Bush (not, as Trump often claims, President Bill Clinton, who was an avid supporter and pushed the pact’s final approval through Congress).

Read More


Trump says Clinton spent her ‘whole life’ fighting ISIS. She asks fact-checkers to ‘get to work’

Donald Trump has been known for stretching the truthfulness of certain statements.

But Monday’s debate brought a new tall tell as he and Hillary Clinton sparred over defeating Islamic State terrorists.

“She tells you how to fight ISIS on her website,” Trump said. “I don’t think Gen. Douglas MacArthur would like that too much.”

Clinton shot back: “At least I have a plan to fight ISIS.”

“No, no. You’re telling the enemy everything you want to do,” Trump interrupted.

“No wonder you’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.”

Clinton was stumped.

ISIS, of course, is a newer terrorist phenomenon, formed in the recent decade.

“That’s, that’s ... please,” Clinton said, “the fact-checkers, get to work.”


Scorecard: Times political writers unanimously declare Clinton the winner of round 1

To help us through the first presidential debate, we’ve enlisted the help of three of our political writers and columnists to act as judges. Each judge will score every round with a win, lose or draw. At the end, we’ll tally up their scores and declare a winner. We’ll be posting the winner of each round on the live blog, but for more commentary and analysis from our panel of judges, head to our full debate scorecard.


Trump vs. Clinton debate brings cast of ‘Will & Grace’ back together

The cast of “Will & Grace” reunited for a 10-minute episode pegged to tonight’s presidential debate.

Nine years after the groundbreaking NBC series went off air, the new bit finds a Trumpified Karen making cringe-worthy “brown people” jokes. It also features an impassioned Grace trying to convince Jack, still undecided, to vote for Hillary Clinton.

When I was a little girl, I didn’t think I could ever be president.… Because no woman had ever been president of these United States and I can think of no greater message to sends to millions of little girls, and little boys who are going to be little girls, and little girls that are going to be little boys, that if you work hard and dedicate yourself to serving others that one day you too could hold the highest office in this great nation.

— Grace Adler (played by Debra Messing)


At a UCLA watch party, a student plays an unusual role: referee

(Matt Pearce/Los Angeles Times)

At Westwood’s Crest Theater a few blocks from UCLA, where dozens of students and other visitors had gathered to watch a CNN feed of the debate, Alexander Nabavi-Noori, 21, studied a laptop and greeted visitors at the back of the packed auditorium.

Unlike the other students who had shown up in their casual wear, the economics and political science double-major was wearing a bow tie and a long-sleeved shirt, looking professional. Like NBC News’ Lester Holt, he plans to moderate a debate this evening -- this one featuring students who will hold their own debate after the presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump onscreen.

And perhaps unusually for a college student, and for this election, Nabavi-Noori -- a vice president of finance and outreach for a campus civic literacy group known as Vote For Our Future -- sees his role as strictly nonpartisan.

“There’s definitely enough polarization, so that’s not a niche that needs to be filled,” Nabavi-Noori said with a smile. Instead, he sees his job as spreading civic literacy and “making sure the two sides have a conversation.” (When he graduates, Nabavi-Noori wants to go into law school and, eventually, “work in government.”)

Nabavi-Noori plans to carefully watch the debate and keep an eye on the fact-checking service PolitiFact so he can think about what questions he wants to ask the debaters later. “We’re going to look for -- as corny as it sounds -- game-changers,” Nabavi-Noori said. “I’m hoping I can know what they are when we see them. ... I’m pretty sure they’ll be obvious.”


Before the debate began, Newt Gingrich said Trump would be ‘adequately competent’

It’s come down to this: “adequately competent.”

Top Republican Newt Gingrich says Donald Trump will be “adequately competent” at Monday’s debate, and that will be enough to give him a “big boost.”

The first presidential debate has long been an exercise in expectations.

Democrat Hillary Clinton, as the first woman presidential nominee of a major party, has to balance between being strong and “likable enough.”

Trump needs to check his boisterous personality with the need to appear presidential.

Gingrich, as the former speaker of the House and one-time presidential candidate, just lowered those expectations a notch.


We’re not fact-checking this, but we have some coming up


The debate’s first question answered: Clinton and Trump shake hands

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump shake hands to begin the first Presidential Debate

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have shown unusual contempt for each other, even by the standards of presidential campaigns. The shared stage offers a rare moment when the two will stand face to face in the same room (not counting Trump’s wedding).

That put unusual pressure on the simple act of hand shaking. Will they do it? Will it be heartfelt? One-sided? Hearty? Any secondary arm action?

In the end, they shook hands and politely greeted each other and the moderator, NBC News’ Lester Holt.


Sold out

(Christina Bellantoni / Los Angeles Times)

If it’s any indication of the historic interest in tonight’s debate, our debate watch event is now sold out.


How voters are watching the debate in the swing state of Iowa


GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson gets the royal treatment


Watch it again: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debate for the first time


Chief Trump provoker Mark Cuban arrives at the debate

As promised, Mark Cuban, the billionaire entrepreneur and frequent Donald Trump antagonist, is in the debate hall tonight.

In a scrum with reporters in advance of the debate, Cuban said his plan to sit in the front row was meant to “get under his skin and drive him crazy. Mission accomplished.”

Business Insider reports that Cuban didn’t even know his seat assignment when he tweeted that he’d be up front for the showdown. But according to a blurry photo posted by Cuban, it appears he scored a prime perch.


Trump turns over Twitter feed to ‘team of deplorables’


This is who played Donald Trump for Hillary Clinton during debate prep

There was no shortage of speculation about who would be playing Donald Trump during Hillary Clinton’s debate preparation. The New York Times finally revealed Friday that it was Philippe Reines, a veteran of Clinton’s inner circle.

And shortly before the debate was scheduled to begin on Monday night, a Clinton spokesman shared this photo of Reines playing Trump.


You had one job, ticket maker

Hillary Clinton’s first name is misspelled on the official tickets to the debate: “Hilary,” with one “l,” instead of “Hillary.”


Here’s what President Obama is doing on debate day

President Obama didn’t weigh in publicly Monday on the much-anticipated presidential debate. But he did send something of a political message as he declared Tuesday to be National Voter Registration Day.

“It is easy to feel frustrated when the pace of change is slow — and to lose hope in the political process as a result,” he said in a lengthy proclamation statement. “But we cannot give in to that cynicism. Heroic things happen when people get involved. Our government is only as strong as what we put into it, and it is only reflective of the will of our citizenry when we exercise our right to vote.”

The White House hinted that Obama would probably be casually monitoring the debate.

“I anticipate that this fall Monday evening will be similar to other fall Monday evenings in the White House residence, which is that the president will be working tonight with the television on in the background,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

The president may or may not have discussed the upcoming showdown when he and Hillary Clinton crossed paths recently, Earnest said, but he was confident in her performance.

“The president has got some experience of going head to head with Secretary Clinton in the context of a debate, and she performed quite well in those settings. And I think the president expects her to do the same tonight,” he said.


Green Party nominee Jill Stein is escorted off campus hosting presidential debate

Green Party presidential hopeful Jill Stein was escorted by police off the Hofstra University campus Monday, hours before the school was set to host the first televised presidential debate.

Stein was “nicely escorted” from campus after authorities found she did not have proper media credentials, a Nassau County, N.Y., police spokesman told ABC News.

Stein did not register enough support in national polls to earn a spot on the debate stage; she polls at about 2% of voters, according to RealClearPolitics’ average.


Trump bought a nationwide Snapchat filter in a bid to connect with younger voters

In an effort to win over millennial voters, Donald Trump’s campaign bought a national Snapchat filter for tonight’s debate.

Trump, whose Snapchat username is accompanied by a stack of money with wings, is rarely on the social media platform in comparison with Hillary Clinton, whose team has regularly used the app to attack Trump’s policies.

The filter labels Clinton as “Crooked Hillary” — one of Trump’s favorite attack phrases. A second version, launched closer to the debate, shows Trump parachuting onto the debate stage from a “Trump Force One” plane. This marks the first time that a candidate has purchased a nonregional filter, no doubt for a pretty penny.

Once upon a time, there was speculation that this election would be the “Snapchat election:” Would it do for the candidates of 2016 what social media did for President Obama in 2008?

So far, most candidates have had only limited success mastering the app. But with the bulk of Snapchat users in the millennial-and-younger category, it’s no wonder that the candidates are giving it another try in the final stretch.


What it would look like if a political reporter previewed ‘Monday Night Football’ like a presidential debate

An NFL game up is being played at the same time as Monday’s debate, a scheduling decision Donald Trump had said he was worried about. It’s not expected to draw as many viewers, but the Falcons-Saints matchup could be a make-or-break moment for their championship hopes. Here’s what both sides need to do to win.

  • Matt Ryan has a lot of experience, so the key for him will be to demonstrate his likability tonight. There’s a reason he’s sometimes called Matty Ice. He’s practiced a lot this week, but it’s possible to over-practice in situations like this. Also interesting was his choice of Chad Ochocinco to practice with, preparing to share the field with a controversial personality.
  • Drew Brees is used to these prime-time television audiences but will need to show that he can appear quarterbackish. That’s why it’s surprising he’s not spent as much time studying his playbook and instead delivering pep talks to fans. Will he be rattled if he gets called out for his new contract? The Washington Post has written extensively about Brees’ connections to Bounty-gate, but Falcons fans don’t think it has gotten enough attention.
  • There’s more attention than ever on the referees, whose fairness has been called into question this year. Some are suggesting that it’s unfair to ask them to call penalties, and that’s up to the teams to call each other out and penalty-check in real time.
  • The Saints are favorites heading into the game, but it won’t be enough to just win, analysts point out. They’re being graded against the curve of a three-point spread. What’s more, the teams’ hardcore fans aren’t likely to be swayed by what happens. What matters most in the end is what they think in OhioCanton especially.

(We hope this exercise was likable enough.)


Amid Super Bowl-level hype, Clinton and Trump face off in their first blockbuster presidential debate

The sprawling and brawling 2016 presidential contest narrows to a rare moment of focus and clarity Monday night as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump share a stage for the first time and say how, with their vastly different styles and approach, they would lead the country for the next four years.

The first debate of the fall general election campaign was preceded with a Super Bowl-level of hype, and the audience for the 90-minute session was expected to approach that of the nation’s biggest annual television gathering, with perhaps as many as 100 million viewers tuning in.

Less certain was how many minds would change based on what the Democratic and Republican rivals say and do during their time on stage at Long Island’s Hofstra University.

Read More


Clinton team brings pre-debate smack talk to ESPN’s website


‘Bridgegate’ witness implicates top Trump staffer in plan to snarl traffic

The former campaign manager for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- and currently a top staffer for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump -- knew in advance about the plan to close traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge as an act of political retaliation, a key witness in the trial of two former Christie aides said Monday.

David Wildstein, a former Christie ally who masterminded the plan to cause traffic jams to cause a political headache for a local mayor who declined to endorse the governor’s reelection bid, testified that Bill Stepien, a top Christie aide, knew of the plot months before it happened.

Stepien, with whom Christie cut ties in 2014, is now national field director for Trump’s campaign.

Far from a matter of provincial New Jersey politics, the ongoing federal trial of the two former Christie aides accused of arranging the closures may bleed into the presidential race.

In addition to allegations of Stepien’s involvement, federal prosecutors have said Christie himself knew of the plan as it was happening. Christie, a former GOP presidential contender, is now leading Trump’s transition team, helping lay the groundwork for the new administration should Trump win the presidency.


Waiting for the debate to start? Play the race to 270

See where the presidential race stands in each state and adjust the map yourself.

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What you’ll hear from Donald Trump in the debate: a catalog of Trumpisms

Trumpisms: A look at one of Trump’s most common speech patterns. Say it, repeat it, say it again. Read more >>

Of all the rules of politics that Donald Trump has broken in his run for the White House, his way with words may top the list.

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All things Clinton and Trump

Tuning in to the election campaign for the first time or devoured more coverage than you can remember? Either way, The Times has you covered. Here’s what you need to know about both nominees.

All things Clinton >>

All things Trump >>


Trump expected at rally after tonight’s debate

(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

After Monday night’s debate, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump looks to be headed to a Nassau County Republican Committee rally at a nearby Marriott hotel.

The debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., is scheduled to end by 10:30 p.m. EDT. It is the first time the two major party nominees will meet in a televised debate.

No official word yet on what Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton plans to do afterward.


The L.A. Times is co-hosting a debate watch party tonight and you can still come

It’s at the Ace Hotel theater and you can get tickets here. Rico Gagliano of “The Dinner Party Download” and Christina Bellantoni, assistant managing editor for politics, are co-hosting.


So what’s going to happen tonight at the debate?

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton face-off on the debate stage for the first time tonight. Here’s what to expect. Read more>>

Millions are expected to tune in tonight to the first 2016 presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

If you’re going to watch, here are the basics:

  • The 90-minute debate begins at 6 p.m. PST and will air commercial-free.
  • It will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and moderated by NBC “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt.
  • Every major network is expected to air the debate, so check NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, any cable news channel, Univision or C-SPAN.
  • The Times has a livestream. And of course, we’ll be live blogging here on Trail Guide.
  • A coin-toss determined that Clinton gets the first question. Trump will get the first question of the second segment and it will continue to switch.
  • The debate will be divided into six 15-minute segments on three broad topics picked by Holt: “America’s Direction,” “Achieving Prosperity” and “Securing America.” Each candidate will get two minutes to respond to each question. The candidates will get to respond to each other and Holt can ask follow-up questions, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.
  • There is a lot of attention focused on whether Holt will act as a fact-checker in the debate, or leave it to the candidates to hold each other accountable.
  • Tickets to the debate were divided between the campaigns and the students at Hofstra University. Cheering, booing and other displays like signs are not allowed.
  • Trump and Clinton were the only two candidates to meet the commission’s criteria to appear in the debate, which is appearing on enough state’s ballots that there is a chance they could win, and also receiving at least 15% support in five national polls. That’s why you won’t hear from Green Party nominee Jill Stein or Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson.

Clinton vs. Trump: Inside the first debate

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton face-off on the debate stage for the first time tonight. Here’s what to expect. Read more>>

Our tale of the tape:

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Clinton’s debate guests include four women affected by her policies

Hillary Clinton greets Anastasia Somoza after Somoza introduced the Democratic presidential nominee at a campaign stop in Orlando, Fla.
(Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has invited four women who have worked with the Democratic nominee to attend tonight’s presidential debate against Republican nominee Donald Trump at New York’s Hofstra University.

The guests are 9/11 survivor Lauren Manning; domestic violence survivor Maxine Outerbridge; Anastasia Somoza, a woman with cerebral palsy who appears in a Clinton ad; and longtime Clinton pen pal Aleatha Williams.

Manning and Outerbridge spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Each campaign gets a portion of seats in the debate hall. The rest go to the university, which distributed them to students through a lottery.

Who will attend the debate caused some hubbub over the weekend. Billionaire Trump critic Mark Cuban announced on Twitter he’d been invited by the Clinton campaign to sit in the front row, causing Trump to float the idea of inviting Bill Clinton’s former mistress, Gennifer Flowers, to sit in a prominent seat.

Trump’s campaign walked back the idea Sunday, saying Flowers had not been invited.


What it’s like to debate Trump: ‘You have to kind of mock him but you can’t diminish yourself’

Rick Tyler, a former advisor to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, served as a stand-in for Donald Trump in Cruz’s preparations for their primary debates. He had some advice for debating Trump:

“Donald has a weakness. He does not want to be seen as uninformed or unintelligent or diminished in any way,” Tyler said. “It’s very tricky. You have to kind of mock him but you can’t diminish yourself while doing it.”

Tyler worked to embody not only Trump’s rhetorical style but also his mannerisms and thinking. He recalled the room falling silent after his first performance, during which he was combative, dismissive and ultimately victorious. It sobered some in the Cruz camp to the kind of threat Trump posed.

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Trump campaign says he didn’t know debate moderator Lester Holt was a registered Republican

Donald Trump in Charlotte, N.C.
(Loren Elliott / Associated Press)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump didn’t know moderator Lester Holt’s political affiliation before labeling him a Democrat earlier this month, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Monday.

Bloomberg Politics’ co-managing editor Mark Halperin repeatedly pressed Conway on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday, questioning why Trump called the NBC anchor a Democrat if he didn’t know. Holt has registered as a Republican in New York since 2003.

“I don’t think he knew what Lester Holt’s registration was,” Conway said. “A lie would mean he knew the man’s party registration.”

Conway also told the panel that the campaign got to object to certain moderators.

The Commission on Presidential Debates does not consult the campaigns when selecting debate moderators, according to its website.

The debate is scheduled for 6 p.m. Pacific time at Hofstra University in New York.

Conway also questioned the objectivity of reporters who cover the presidential candidates, saying they are largely negative about Trump on social media.

“These are not profiles in courage, and this is not journalism,” she said of some of the reporters’ Twitter feeds. “Excuse the Trump campaign if we don’t feel like we can get a fair shake from certain people.”

Conway didn’t mention any reporters by name.


Donald Trump has some Latinos so unnerved, they’re turning to the supernatural for help

They come to Madam Maria with their worst troubles: abusive husbands, cheating wives, alcoholic sons.

She sits shrouded in sage smoke in the backroom of her Santa Fe Springs botanica and delivers her advice between swigs of Limon Pepino Gatorade.

In 30 years, Maria Murillo Beltran, the astrologer known as La Galla (the rooster) thought she’d heard it all.

But recently, people have begun to pop into her purple-and-gold lobby with a new problem they pronounce: El Tromp. As in El Donald J. Trump.

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A theater critic’s advice on how Clinton and Trump can connect with the audience

(Matt Rourke/AP / Evan Vucc/AP)

Anticipation for Monday’s presidential debate, the first of three marquee match-ups between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, is riding high. Many will be tuning in to find out how much more unhinged this election can get.

As a theater critic, I’ll be keeping tabs not only on the war of words and ideas, but on the stage battle between the two candidates — the contest for theatrical dominance that has historically been more consequential in moving public opinion.

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Debate expected to generate record audience and high scrutiny of moderator

If NBC News anchor Lester Holt is nervous about moderating the first presidential debate, he wasn’t showing it earlier this week as he rocked his electric bass on a rooftop lounge overlooking the Hudson River.

Playing with a rock band made up of cohorts from the network’s news magazine show “Dateline,” Holt ably soloed on the Alabama Shakes song “Always Alright” in front of a throng of cheering colleagues. It was a break from his intensive preparation for Monday’s showdown between Hillary Clinton and her Republican opponent, Donald Trump.

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What their past performances tell us about the first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump

Perhaps never have Americans been as familiar with both presidential nominees as they are with the two to appar on the debate stage Monday night.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump needs to spend much time introducing themselves to voters. Instead, they will seek to use this uninterrupted forum to sharpen attacks, provoke and knock the other off balance.

The result could be a battle of psychology as much as policy.

“Anything is possible,” said Elizabeth Ossoff, chairwoman of the psychology department at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. “In the past, we might have been able to predict where the candidates were going to go in terms of their policy strengths. … But I also think they know what people have been responding to, and the moderator is going to go to some of these character issues as well.”

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For Clinton and Trump, first debate could be a last chance to change voters’ minds

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump step onto the biggest shared stage of their presidential campaign Monday chasing the same goal: persuading voters to discard long-held and sharply negative views of them.

Trump faces the biggest task in this first presidential debate, to accomplish in one night what he has not been able to pull off in 15 months: demonstrating to voters beyond his core supporters that he would be a stable and credible occupant of the White House.

Clinton’s task is just slightly less imperative, and only because of the narrow edge in most polls that she has held on to leading into the debate.

She needs to break through voters’ perceptions of her as untrustworthy and convince them that her years of political experience are matched by a gut-level understanding of the fears and concerns of everyday Americans.

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