Hillary Clinton wasn't as dominant against Donald Trump in comparison to the first debate, but her opponent -- with his unhinged responses that went all over the place -- convinced me that on the whole Mrs. Clinton won.
The first half hour, Donald Trump couldn't give a straight or sincere answer regarding the topic of the moment: the release of an Access Hollywood backstage interview with Billy Bush in which he spewed sexual braggadocio regarding his temptations and treatment of women. He boasted that as a TV personality he could pretty much do what he pleased. When caught, he denied that his worst statements, groping a woman's pussy, ever actually happened.
Moderator Anderson Cooper reiterated his question whether Trump actually did what he stated on the audio in the video, but the GOP nominee disavowed it and deflected the conversation to either what he considered more important, our battle with ISIS, or essentially said that, whatever he did, Bill Clinton was worse.
He mentioned four women in the audience, one of whom was a young rape victim in a case Hillary Clinton defended as a court-appointed attorney and he blasted her because she got the accused off. Other women in the audience, such as Paula Jones, who received $850,000 in a settlement with Bill Clinton, had been dealt with 18 years ago and, though the former president was impeached because of a legal technicality regarding his sexual activities, he was not convicted by the Senate. In any event, it's not Bill Clinton running for president.
Hillary was accused of defaming and attacking the women and decided not to respond. Probably a good strategy as the nation's disgust of Trump has been so widespread as to cause many GOP senate heavyweights to withdraw their support, from Arizona's John McCain to Alaska's Lisa Murkowski to New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte -- plus, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and even conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt, who had been an apologist for Trump on MSNBC. Who among the Democrats have abandoned Hillary Clinton and/or thrown their support to Donald Trump?
My only complaint was Hillary's response to a leaked email of one of her Wall Street speeches, where she was alleged to have a "public" and "private" position on certain issues. It made sense not to reveal the inner workings of a compromise behind the scenes while espousing a policy that might not totally come about, but her analogy to Abraham Lincoln's backroom dealings to get support for the 13th Amendment, however accurate it may have been, and linking it to her having seen the film Lincoln, was not her finest moment and invited a derisive retort, the only effective comeback against her by Trump.
I think she also should have refuted some of his charges about the economy and foreign policy, but I was glad she specifically mentioned there's been no proof her server was hacked, nor that anything bad in the world has been attributed to any of her emails. This was verified by CNN.
However, fact checkers probably had a field day dealing with Trump's negatives about Hillary and Barack Obama, his statistics in most instances not accurate at all -- whether about crime being up (It's down), the economy is tanking (It's doing better), unemployment is down. Might there be improvement in Obamacare, of course, and part of the problem is that many Republican governors have not permitted Medicaid funding by the federal government, which would bring down costs in those states.
But premiums are going up all around, not only with those covered by insurance exchanges, and so, once again, Trump's attacks on her record, and that of Obama, like most of his charges, don't paint an accurate picture. Also amazing was his difference of opinion with his running mate, Governor Mike Pence about military action in Syria. Didn't he realize how that would sound?
But let's go further. Apart from his inability to have an effective response to his sexual misdeeds, Trump seemed to feel that constantly shouting negatives about Hillary, repeatedly calling her a liar and barking that what she and Obama had done was terrible, would be effective. Perhaps to his base, but I'm sure it hasn't moved anyone in the middle to his side.
In fact, Trump's outrageous suggestion that he would direct his attorney general to have a special prosecutor go after Hillary, and when pressed, said she would go to jail is so over the top and confirms Hillary's pronouncements that Mr. Trump clearly doesn't have the temperament to be president.
So, while Hillary was not as commanding as she was to a generally dithering Trump two weeks ago, her game plan may simply have been not to rock the boat. Say what is needed to defend and declare the truth about her record and keep on trucking for the next month. She has more than enough support from her husband, her former opponent Bernie Sanders, liberal icon Elizabeth Warren, Vice President Joe Biden, the first lady and the current very popular president of the United States.
Michael Russnow's website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com.