Trump, Clinton shake hands at end of tense debate
ST. LOUIS - The second presidential debate was expected to be tense. And it started to be tense early after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump refused to shake hands as they entered the debate hall in St. Louis. That's a break from traditional debate decorum.
Shortly before the debate began, Trump held a press conference with three women who had accused President Bill Clinton of sexual wrongdoing and Hillary of acting vindictivley toward them. The women were seated with the Trump family in the front row of the audience.
Trump denied that he was discussing sexual assault in 2005 recording that revealed him saying he could "do anything" with women because he is famous.
Trump said he never kissed or groped women without consent. He continued to characterize the recording as "locker room talk."
Debate moderator Anderson Cooper put it more bluntly, saying, "That is sexual assault."
Trump responded: "No, I didn't say that at all. I don't think you understand what I said."
Trump tried to pivot to foreign policy, seemingly suggesting his comments pale in comparison to the actions of the Islamic State.
Clinton responded by saying, "It's clear to anyone who heard it, it represents exactly who he is."
Trump went on to repeat debunked claims that Clinton started rumors that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Trump has fomented the conspiracy for years - until last month, when he declared Obama, who was born in Hawaii, an American citizen.
The two would later clash over the future of Obama's signature health care law. Clinton vowed to fix the Affordable Caqre Act and Trump promised to repeal and replace "Obamacare."
It's hard to name the most memorable line in this combative debate. But the most memorable visual so far? That's easy.
It's the image of Hillary Clinton answering a question, while Donald Trump looms behind her.
Unrestricted by a podium, Clinton is using the whole stage at the town hall-style forum, crossing in front of Trump to answer audience questions.
That's left Trump stuck in the camera shot behind her, standing awkwardly, at times swaying and pacing, while he listens to her answers.
Clinton defended her position that it was OK to have a public and private position on an issue because Abraham Lincoln did. Asked whether that position is "two-faced," Clinton said Lincoln did whatever he could to get the 13th Amendment passed, allowing emancipation of the slaves.
Trump began his response to Clinton's statement by rolling his eyes, and says, "Now she's blaming the late, great Abraham Lincoln."
At one point Trump said he disagreed with his running mate Mike Pence on the proper strategy to deal with the civil war and humanitarian crisis in Syria.Debate moderator Martha Raddatz pointed out that Pence had said provocations by Russia in Syria need to be met with "American strength" and the U.S. should be prepared to use air strikes in Syria against the regime of President Bashar Assad. But Trump says he disagrees with Pence, a former member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and notes they had not spoken about the issue.
Trump said Clinton has "tremendous hate in her heart." Trump made the comment in reference to Clinton saying earlier in the campaign that half of Trump's supporters are "deplorables." Clinton apologized for saying that half of his supporters were deplorables, but didn't back down from using that word.
After Trump said Sunday that Clinton had "tremendous hate in her heart," she laughed and shook her head. But she did not address the comment the next time she spoke.
Both candidates also laid out their criteria for Supreme Court selections.
Clinton said she wants justices who understand how the world "really works." She wants ones who will support the legality of abortion and same-sex marriage. She notes that several of the justices Trump has said he'd consider oppose those rights.
Trump says he wants a judge in the tradition of Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia's death this winter opened a vacancy on the court that still has not been filled. The Republican-controlled Senate has refused to consider President Obama's nominee to fill Scalia's seat.
The debate was especially icy at the outset, replete with talk of sexual impropriety and Trump threatening to jail Clinton over her erased emails.
But the St. Louis rumble concluded with a voter asking them to say something nice about each other.
Clinton's and Trump's families quickly joined them on stage as the debate wrapped up.
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