If he wasn’t guilty, this wouldn’t make him uncomfortable. As it was, Bill was extremely uncomfortable. Hillary probably screamed at him when they got home.
The debate night that will be discussed for generations in Political Science classes – and Women’s Studies seminars – ended with Republican Donald Trump landing more punches than Democrat Hillary Clinton, and successfully deflecting attention successfully away from a two-day-old crisis about graphic sexual language that threatened to derail his White House bid.
In the first debate at Hofstra University 13 days earlier, Clinton sat back and let Trump hang himself. But on Sunday her quiet patience gave him room to roam and dominate.
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who has been among Trump’s most forceful defenders, summed up the real estate tycoon’s performance with two words in the post-debate spin room: ‘home run.’
‘I think the momentum is going to switch, like that,’ Giuliani told DailyMail.com, snapping his fingers. ‘It was one of the biggest victories in a presidential debate, ever.’
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta called Trump ‘desperate’ and called him ‘incoherent’ in policy discussions.
Neither candidate appeared in the hall where reporters waited to grill them. For Clinton, that was par for the course. For Trump, it marked his first such absence in any debate in which he’s participated in 2016 and 2015.
Clinton established herself as a superior bureaucrat Sunday night with more mature knowledge of foreign policy minutiae and a more intelligible way of communicating details about how laws are made.
But Trump won on points in what has become the Year of the Outsider, playing to a national television audience that polls show are weary of Washington’s same-old same-old and eager for new blood.
He had Clinton playing defense for most of the 90-minute clash, saying she would be ‘in jail’ if he ran the Justice Department – a reference to her classified email scandal – and declaring that she had ‘tremendous hate in her heart’ when she branded ‘half’ his supporters as ‘deplorables.’
He even bested her on her recollection of her own tenure at the helm of the U.S. State Department.
Trump recalled that Clinton was secretary of state when President Barack Obama drew his now-infamous rhetorical ‘red line’ in Syria, ineffectively warning Bashar al-Assad not to use chemical weapons against insurgents and civilians.
Clinton insisted she had retired from the government by the time that happened. Not so: Obama dared Assad to cross his line in August 2012, six months before Clinton’s term ended.
Sunday night’s showdown, the second of three before the Nov. 8 presidential election, launched with a bang in St. Louis, Missouri.
There was no handshake at the top. Only polite nods at each other. The white-hot stares, straight ahead, came 90 minutes after Trump held a photo-op press event featuring four women with sex-assault accusations from the Clintons’ past.
The first question of the debate was expected to focus on lewd remarks revealed Friday in an 11-year-old audiotape of Trump. But it was milder, asking Clinton about the overall tone of the 2016 campaigns.
The temperature at Washington University in St. Louis dropped. No fireworks. No first blood.
For two minutes.
DONALD TRUMP’S FIERY OPENING ON BILL CLINTON’S PAST
Then Trump found himself behind the 8-ball, with co-moderator Anderson Cooper telling him bluntly that he had admitted to ‘sexual assault’ in the audio – referring to a remark saying that powerful men could touch women whenever they wanted. ‘Grab them by the p***y,’ he said as one example.
‘You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women,’ Cooper charged.
Trump insisted, as he did Friday night, that ‘this was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it.’
But then he turned the discussion on the Clintons.
‘If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse,’ trump jabbed. ‘Mine were words, his were actions.’
‘Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those women, attacked them viciously.’
Earlier in the night Trump had hosted a press event with Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Kathy Shelton.
Broaddrick accused former President Clinton of raping her when he was the Arkansas attorney general. She later pointed a finger at Hillary Clinton for intimidating her into silence as her husband launched his 1992 bid for the presidency.
Willey and Jones made similar accusations against this year’s Democratic nominee for the White House.
He also noted that Shelton was sitting in the front row. The Arkansas native was 12 when she was raped by a 41-year-old drifter. Hillary Clinton was her attacker’s lawyer.
‘Her client – she represented – she got him off,’ Trump said, recalling that she was recorded ‘laughing [about the case] on two separate tapes.’
Giuliani later remarked that ‘if you listened to them when they had their own press conference, it wasn’t just that Bill Clinton raped them, assaulted them or took sexual advantage of them.
‘It was that Hillary Clinton attacked them. One of them was a 12-year-old girl. And Hillary Clinton got the rapist acquitted and then laughed about it.’
Trump was on a tear Sunday night, recalling that the former president ‘was impeached, lost his license to practice law’ because he lied to Congress about his affair with a young White House intern named Monica Lewinsky.
‘When Hillary brings up a point like that and she talks about words that I said 11 years ago, I think it’s disgraceful and I think she should be ashamed of herself,’ Trump said.
Trump’s partisans in the audience cheered and applauded.
‘So much of what he said is not right,’ Clinton protested.
‘I’m reminded of what my friend Michelle Obama advised us all: When they go low, you go high.’
Her claque in the auditorium screamed and hollered.
Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, praised the Democrat after the debate and declared Trump the loser.
‘He was on the attack the whole evening. I think he wanted to throw her off her game with the stunt that he pulled at the beginning,’ he told DailyMail.com, referring to how Trump brought up the past sex abuse claims against Bill Clinton. ‘He clearly didn’t do that, and I think that to the extent that that was his goal I think he failed.’
‘Trump is desperate. He’s trying to take this race to a place in the gutter, and we’re not going there,’ Podesta said.