How Hillary Should Respond to Trump's Personal Attacks in Tonight's Debate

10/09/2016 04:18 pm ET Updated Oct 10, 2017

It is pretty much a certainty that in tonight's debate, Donald Trump will raise the issue of Bill Clinton's promiscuity and accuse of Hillary of "enabling" Bill's extra-marital activities. This is no doubt what Roger Ailes and his other advisors are encouraging him to do. Indeed, Trump has already signaled that he's going to take this line of attack.

How should Hillary respond?

He's my unsolicited suggestion:

"Donald, you've had quite a week!

Let's just say that there's a good reason why so far 9 Republican Senators, 11 Republican House members, and 3 Republican governors have withdrawn their support for you. And that many other Republican leaders never supported you in the first place.

I've been married to Bill Clinton for 41 years this Tuesday. During all this time, we've both devoted our lives to public service -- inside and outside government -- to helping others, to making people's lives better, to paying our taxes.

Like most marriages, ours is not perfect. Nor am I. Nor is Bill.

I am proud of what I accomplished as a Senator and Secretary of State as well as my work with the Children's Defense Fund.

I proud of what Bill, Chelsea and I have accomplished as a family.

But let's be clear: Bill Clinton is not running for President any more than Melania Trump is.

I will not go down in the gutter with you, exchanging insults about my marriage and your marriages.

Can we please get off this topic and talk about what the American people really care about?

  • Increasing the number of good jobs that provide Americans with a middle class standard of living,

  • Investing in job-creating projects like rebuilding our bridges, roads, mass transit, and schools,
  • Investing in people to provide job training, child care, paid family leave, and debt-free college education,
  • Getting the super-rich to pay their fair share of taxes,
  • Strengthening our oversight of Wall Street to protect consumers so we don't see more rip-offs like what Wells Fargo did to its two million customers,
  • Raising the minimum wage so working families can make ends meet,
  • Restoring trust and accountability between our local police and our people, especially those in minority communities,
  • Reforming our broken criminal justice system, so that we don't have more scandals like the false convictions of five innocent young men -- the so called Central Park Five -- whom you irresponsibly called for putting to death and still think that they should have been executed,
  • Making sure that women in our country have equal pay, equal rights, and equal access to health care,
    • Standing behind our treaty obligations and working together with our partners around the world to address global warming, which is causing so much damage to our health and our environment, and
  • Making sure that we end the spread of nuclear weapons and making sure that the person in the Oval Office won't impulsively trigger a global nuclear war."
  • I've got specific and detailed solutions to these problems. You don't. That's the big difference between us."

    Peter Dreier teaches politics and chairs the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His most recent book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books)