The Journal

Clinton and Trump face off on first presidential debate stage

Megan Swett, Assistant Editor for News

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For well over a year, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have been campaigning across the country, each hoping to earn the votes of the American people in the upcoming presidential election.

Both candidates have drawn strong criticism from the public, political pundits, and public figures. Concerns over Clinton’s private email server haunt her campaign and condemnations over Trump’s lack of social propriety continue to come forth. The criticisms have been so severe that roughly 9.8 percent of people are considering voting for a third party candidate, according to RealClearPolitics’ average of the most recent polls.

While Trump and Clinton have taken aim at each other regularly throughout this cycle, Monday night was the first time both presidential candidates shared a debate stage.

As the debate began, Trump and Clinton were polling in a “dead-heat” lock. NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt moderated the debate, splitting it into three segments: achieving prosperity, America’s direction, and securing America. These segments focused on issues such as job growth, racial divides, and cyber security.

In the closing address, Holt called the debate “spirited” and said “we covered a lot of ground.”

When the debate – which was supposed to be 90 minutes but clocked in at 98 – ended, coverage shifted to the spin room, where the candidates and their campaigns talk to the press about the debate.

The Clinton campaign considered the debate a victory, saying that Trump came across as “unhinged” and that he “melted down in front of 100 million people.” The Trump campaign made no immediate comment, but later called Clinton bringing up the loan Trump’s father provided him and Trump’s comments about women “cheap shots.”

Sources like NPR, Politico, and PolitiFact ran live fact-check efforts during the debate. Across all three platforms, Trump’s comments were found false to questionable considerably more often than Clinton’s comments. Within an hour of the debate, NPR disproved approximately 32 of Trump’s statements and six of Clinton’s, Politico disproved 11-2, and PolitiFact disproved 19-3.

Local residents gathered at Balen’s Bar & Grill for a debate viewing party hosted by the local NPR affiliate station, WUIS, to watch the debate together.

The next debate will be Oct. 9 and hosted out of Washington University in St. Louis.

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Clinton and Trump face off on first presidential debate stage