Live Blogging: the first 2016 U.S. Presidential debate

I’ll be live-blogging observations and thoughts on the back-and-forth between the two leading U.S. Presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, during tonight’s first debate. This page should update as I post new entries. If not, refresh it.

I will be looking at the debate from the perspective of assessing arguments and thinking critically, and even scientifically:

  • What is the question?
  • What claims do the candidates make?
  • Are those claims backed by reliable evidence or based on fallacious thinking or weak-sense critical thinking and evidence?
  • What logical fallacies are in place?
    • Keep in mind, an “ad hominem” attack is not just an attack on the other candidate – an attack based on credible evidence is thus a valid, if aggressive, criticism; rather, an “ad hominem” attack is one that is based on something unrelated to the claim or assessment of the claim (e.g. personal appearance) or on evidence unrelated to the claim (“Congresswoman Soandso can’t balance a budget because her husband plays too much golf” – it might be true he plays too much golf, but that has nothing to do with balancing a budget).


The fact-checkers are going to be fighting a war on two fronts: streams of nonsense from the VP candidates, and the usual flood of nonsense from Donald Trump in parallel.



Well, the commentary has begun. I am signing off. That was NOT boring at all.


Trump leaves stage with family, frowning, throwing occasional thumbs up and flashing a weak smile. Hillary still mingling with crowd.


Clinton mingling with crowd. Trump hiding behind his family on stage, waving from a distance. Says a lot.


Trump’s comments on women – well, one woman… but it was still disgusting:



  • As soon as Trump travels for over 100 countries, negotiates deals, or testifies in front of Congressional committees, he can talk about what it takes to be President


  • She has bad experience.
  • “You almost can’t name a good deal.”


  • He tried to switch from “looks to stamina”
  • He has called women “pigs, slobs, and dogs”.
  • Called pregnancy an “inconvenience to employers”
  • Called a beauty pageant contestant a “piggy” and then a “housekeeper.”
    • Lots of ad hominem flying right now!
  • Clinton notes she is now a US citizen


  • Points out the advertising dollars Clinton has spent on “not nice” ads against him
  • Trump talking over Holt.

Holt: one of you will not win this election. Will you accept the outcome?


  • It’s a democracy. I will accept the outcome.


  • I want to make America great again.
  • Claim: 800 people we were about to deport became citizens.
  • Holt: will you accept the outcome of the election?
  • If she wins, I will absolutely support her.



  • We are losing billions and billions, we cannot protect countries all over the world. We cannot police the world.

Holt: Sec. Clinton became the first woman nominated for President. Trump claimed she doesn’t have the “Presidential look”. Talk to her now. What was meant by that.

  • Denied the quote. Holt repeats it. Donald deflects it again.



Last segment: President has talked about changing US policy on first use of nuclear weapons. Thoughts on policy?


  • Russia is keeping up its nuclear arsenal. We are not keeping up.
  • We should not do first strike.
  • But we have to be prepared.
  • “China should solve that [North Korea] problem for us.”
  • Should have forced Iran, a trading partner with North Korea, to do something with North Korea.
  • Trump wandering and meandering on cash for hostages and how bad the Iran deal was.


  • Starts by assuring allies in Japan, Israel, and elsewhere that we will honor the mutual defense treaties between our countries.
  • Our word is good.
  • Iran relationship not perfect, but better to deal with them having put the lid on the nuclear weapons issue. Trump criticizes but offers no alternative.




  • Nuclear weapons is the single greatest threat, not “global warming like you and your Obama think.”
  • Argues that Japan is not paying a fair share for us defending them. “Sells us cheap cars” and is not paying its fair share for our protection.


Holt: tell us how you would prevent home-grown attacks by US citizens




  • We’ve been working with Muslims and things are a mess
  • Diverts to Iran and the nuclear deal
  • Skips to NATO. “I haven’t given lots of thought to NATO,” but most countries not “paying their fair share” and “NATO could be obsolete… they do not focus on terror.” So he claims. Implies he’s to credit for NATO opening major terror division months later.
  • “Knock the hell out of ISIS” and do it fast.
  • Again wrongly claims that the vacuum was made by Clinton and Obama.

Holt: a lot of these are judgement questions. You supported the war in Iraq.

Trump: I did not. That is a mainstream media thing. The record does not show that I was supportive.

He dismisses the first interview he gave about the war. Claims he used to have arguments with Sean Hannity about the war before he gave the interviews everyone on record.

Trump: I have a better temperament than Clinton. Here is why. I have a “winning temperament, I know how to win.”

Clinton: “Whew. OK.”

  • Two issues mentioned by Donald:
  • NATO: article 5, “an attack on one was an attack on all”
    • ONly time invoked was after 9/11 when 28 nations of NATO would join US in Afgantistan to fight terrorism.
  • Iran: when I became Sec. of State, they were weeks away from having material for a bomb. Sanctions had not been enough. Spent 1.5 years to put together coalition, including Russia and China. Brought Iran to negotiating table. Kerry and Obama got the deal done, and the program was stopped without a single shot fired.
  • Trump interrupts to claim that if he had Iranian sailors shot for taunting American sailors, this action “would not start a war.”
  • Trump has a “cavalier attitude” about nuclear weapons




  • NEed to intensify war on ISIS, both online and in the real battlefield.
  • Empower Arab partners to take on ISIS in their captured territories.
  • WIthin 1 year, push ISIS out of Iraq and squeeze them in Syria
  • Foreign fighters and money flow into their organization – have to deal with this
  • Take out ISIS leadership
  • Noted her role in taking out Al Quaeda leadership
  • Disrupt propaganda



Next session: cybersecurity


  • Discusses different kinds of attacks: individuals vs. states.
  • Recent attacks from states. Russia is implicated.
  • The US has capacity to muster strong counter-offensive and protect our information
  • Have to make it clear that we don’t want to have to use these capabilities, but we will defend as needed
  • Shocking that Trump invited Russia to hack into American systems.


  • I was just endorsed by over 200 admirals and generals to lead this country – that just happened. I am very proud of it.
  • Endorsed by ICE on immigration. “THey’ve never done that.”
    • WHAT? ICE is a federal agency … can’t endorse anyone!
  • “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia… could be China.”
  • “Could have been somebody laying on their bed who weighs 400 lbs.”
    • WOW. Fat-shaming and stereotyping computer users all in one breath.
  • We came up wit hthe internet, but ISIS is beating us at our own game on the internet.
  • We have to get better at cyber and cyberwarfare.
    • Not clear he knows how to use this word, or even what it means.
  • “Cyber is one of them”





  • Notes lawsuits against Trump about not renting to African Americans
  • “Long record of engaging in racist behavior”
    • “Humph” says Trump into the mic.


  • “You treated [Obama] with terrible disrespect [in debates with him]”
  • Claims Clinton sent out picture of Obama “in a certain garb”
  • Regarding lawsuit:
    • “We along with many other companies were sued – we settled with no admission of guilt. It was easy to do.”
    • “I settled that lawsuit with no admission of guilt.” Claims that lawsuit was brought against many real estate firms.
    • He’s dismissing the suit, obviously
  • Notes he’s opened other venues with no claims of discrimination



I can’t believe what Trump just said. He said, in response to “healing the racial divide,” that he “did a great thing by making the President produce his birth certificate.”

God help us.


Holt: Trump, you perpetuated a claim that first African American President was not born in the US but recently reversed. Talk about this.


  • Talks about reporters failing to give up Obama’s birth certificate.
  • Trump proud he forced the President to present his birth certificate.


  • BIrth certificate produced in 2011 – but you continued challenging it in 2012, 2013, 2014.


  • I figured you ask the question – no one really cares about it.
  • I did a good job making him produce the birth certificate

Holt: we’re talking about racial healing in this segment. WHat do you say.

  • “I made him produce the birth certificate. I say nothing.”
  • About healing: I think I did a great job and a great service for the country in making him produce his birth certificate.


Trump: claims that democrats have “controlled inner cities for over 100 years”.



  • Unfortunate that Trump paints such a dire, negative picture of black communitiues
    • Trump grunt-sighs in response
  • THere is a lot to be proud of in these communities
  • Need to do better. THere are effective and ineffective means of doing this.
  • Stop and frisk was found unconstituional ,and it didn’t accomplish what it stated to accomplish.
  • NOtes property crime is down 40% over the last decade.
    • My comment: this is cherry-picking. WHat about other crimes?
  • Address systemic race issues in criminal justice system, can’t just say “law and order” – deal with mandatory minimum sentences, more second-chance programs, reduce use of private prisons below federal level. Should not have a profit motive to incarcerate people.
  • Better gun regulation – focused on military-style assault weapons.
  • Pass prohibition on terrorist watch-list suspects from buying a gun.

Holt: you said we have to do everything possible to improve policing to go after implicit bias. Is that a problem for police?

Clinton: we all have that problem. All of us have implicit bias. ALl of us have to ask why we think the things we do. For police, those thoughts have fatal consequences. Deal with it in training. ALso, provide training and assistance to deal with mental health issues.

Trump: agrees with Clinton that watch-list or no-fly list people should not be able to buy a gun. Notes CLinton’s use of “super-predator” to describe black youth. Notes she already apologized for saying it, but notes it’s a terrible thing to say. CLaims stop and frisk brought murder level from 2500 to 500.

Clinton: murders are down even under current mayor, where stop and frisk was ended.

Trump: wrong. Murder rate in NY is up.

Clinton: gives credit to many administrations in NY for bringing down crime, but choose techniques that work and respect rights of people in neighborhoods.



  • Need law and order
  • Can name communities “all day long” where we need law and order
  • Got endorsement of fraternal order of police
  • Inner cities – African AMericans and HIspanics – are living in hell. Walk down the street and get shot. In CHicago, there have been thousands of shootings. “Is this a war-torn country?”
  • Stop violence, bring back law and order
  • Do stop and frisk in Chicago, done in NY. Take the gun away from criminals.
  • Gangs filled with illegal immigrants with guns
  • African AMerican communities are decimated by crimes

Holt: stop and frisk unconstitutional in NY.

Trump: no. It should have been appealed but wasn’t, so ruling stands.

Trump: it’s about taking guns away from people who should not have them. YOu have to have stop and frisk. You need better community relations. I have property there, it’s terrible in Chicago. AGree with Clinton: need better relationships between community and police. Look at Dallas instead: relationships were a beautiful thing and then 5 police officers killed.

HOlt tries to pass to CLinton. Trump cuts him off and keeps talking.



  • Notes race and socieconomic status are still strongly correlated, and not in a good way.
  • Make sure police have best training, techniques, and preparation in use of force. EVeryone should be respected by the law and everyone should respect the law. Not the case in many neighborhoods
  • Criminal justice reform – notes her platform document for this.
  • There are “good, brave” police offers who want the same things – reform
  • THe “gun epidemic” is the leading cause of death among young African AMericans, more than the other leading 9 causes of death combined – her claim.



Segment three: race issues. Holt begins by talking about recent events that point to the divide. How do we bridge it?



  • On occasion, 4 times, we used “certain laws that were there”
  • “I take advantage of the laws of the nation.” Trump wants to do well for himself, family, employees, and companies
  • Talks about employees that love working with him.
  • The budget is so bad in the U.S. because of incompetance – Trump projects are under budget and ahead of schedule.



  • If Trump’s main claim us business acumen, let’s talk about that
  • Claims Trump built businesses on “backs of little guys”
  • Talks about anecdotes of people who were not paid by Trump for projects. Reported on by Washington Post.
  • Discussing business deals and expectations of each side of an agreement
  • “Tried to claim you would negotiate down the national debt of the U.S.”
    • “Wrong” claims Trump.


Clinton: what is he hiding, since he is free to release them.

  • She then baits him: maybe he’s not as rich as claimed, or charitable as claimed.
  • Baits him again: owes money to foreign banks.
  • Baits again: maybe he hasn’t paid federal income taxes.
  • “That makes me smart” quips Trump.
  • Clinton keeps baiting him. Wow. Implies he has something terrible to hide. Tax returns provide more details than the forms he mentioned earlier, she claims.
  • “There is something he is hiding,” CLinton says. So much bait.

Holt: want to respond email issues.

  • Made a mistake using a private email server
  • I take responsibility for that. Would do it differently the next time.


  • More than a mistake. Intentional.
  • Criticizes all the people who took the fifth on her behalf

Trump on tax returns:

  • Counters that the tax docs are no that detailed.
  • Trump claims he is “under-leveraged”.
  • Claims he can provide a list of banks… not clear what for. He’s rambling again.
  • Trump claims it’s time that someone runs this country who “understands money”
  • “Our airports are from a 3rd world country”
  • “We’ve become a 3rd world country”
  • We spent trillion in middle east – could have rebuilt our country. We are a “debtor nation”.


Trump talking about his audit. Holt notes the IRS says he can release tax documents even while under audit. Trump notes he’s been under audit for 15 years, more than other people. “I will release my tax returns when Clinton releases the 33,000 deleted emails.”

When audit is complete, he will release tax returns. But he just said he was under audit continuously for 15 years.


Trump refers to federal financial documents he files and brags about 5M of claimed income for himself.


Lester Holt asks Trump about his tax returns.


So much crap is flying left and right in this, it’s nigh impossible to keep track of it. Trump calls current economy a “bubble” and claims recovery after great recession was worst for U.S. in history.



  • Need broad-based inclusive growth, not money at the top.



  • Starts by criticizing Trump’s tax proposals – no signs of policies to reduce taxes or bring money back from overseas
    • “Read it” Trump says.

Trump keeps interrupting Clinton, challenging every things she says. Granted, she’s using hyperbole but it’s to bait him. He’s falling for it. She’s baiting him and he’s falling for it.




  • Tax cuts for wealthy is money into the coffers of companies, which benefits the middle class by allowing companies to expand.
  • High taxes force companies to leave, taking money out of the U.S.
  • Can’t bring money back to U.S. because of “bureaucratic red tape”
  • He claims republicans and democrats agree we should fix this problem with bringing money back to U.S.
  • Put money to use on inner cities.



Segment 2: a fundamental difference between two candidates is tax hikes for the wealthy (Clinton) vs. tax breaks for the wealthy (Trump). Defend these.


Trump’s tactic is to talk over CLinton to disrupt her arguments. It’s a winning strategy for pummeling your opponent, but it allows him to do nothing constructive in response. Depends on how the audience wants to rate “winning” in a debate. Trump is winning on bullying, but not on evidence. Clinton is stymied in her attempt to respond.

Now he’s doing it to Holt.


Trump claimed Pres. Clinton signed NAFTA – actually, George H.W. Bush signed it:

Pres. Clinton signed legislation to implement it.


Now they are just talking over each other. This devolved in a flash.



  • Goes to “great recession” and criticizes tax policies of administration before Obama
  • “Donald rooted for the housing crisis”
    • Trump defends this a “that is called business, by the way”
    • Clinton presses on talking about people losing homes and savings
  • Independent experts, she claims, compared her plan to his:
    • Trump’s plan blows up the debt by trillion, Lose 3.5 million jobs, Take money from the middle class
    • CLinton aims to create new job sector through clean energy
      • “Trump believes climate change is hoax perpetrated by Chinese”
      • “I did not say that,” says TRump
      • He did:


  • We invested in 1 solar company as a nation and lost lots of money on that one
    • Red herring – one failing company doesn’t imply all companies must fail
  • Obama has doubled national debt in about 8 years

Trump disallows CLinton interrupting him but cuts her off left and right.


Holt: how are you (Trump) going to bring back jobs. WHat is the plan?


  • Defended his father’s loan – Trump turned a “small” loan into a billion-dollar company
  • Renegotiate our trade deals
  • Example: Mexico
    • VAT tax
    • Approximately 16% – confused here…

Holt tries to interrupt him. Trump overruns him.

  • “We are trillion… we cannot do it any longer, LEster” – not sure to what he’s referring

Holt tries to get him to talk specifics. Trump persists in just talking about jobs leaving. Trump all over the map about special interests and companies leaving.




  • Need smart fair trade deals – we are 5% of world that has to trade with other 95%
  • Trump’s plan is “trickle down economics”
  • Grow economy by making targeted investments
  • Painted Trump as “fortunate”, borrowing money from his father to start business
  • Talked about how her father was a small businessman that made fabrics – do more for middle class, allows better investment in most people’s lives.

NOt a lot of evidence here.



  • JObs fleeing country to placed like Mexico
  • Currency valued unfairly by China.
  • Losing “so many of our good jobs”
  • Ford is leaving – small car division leaving
  • Jobs leaving Michgan and Ohio – all leaving
  • CHildcare – Hillary and I agree, disagree on numbers and amounts
  • Have to stop jobs from “being stolen from us”
  • Stop our companies from leaving the US and firing all their people when they leave – look at Carrier Air Conditioning, going to Mexico.
  • Said he had a plan:
    • Reducing taxes for companies, small and big businesses
  • Renegotiate trade deals.




  • Need new jobs and good jobs
  • Infrastructure jobs, clean energy, and new small businesses
  • Make economy “fairer” – raise minimum wage and guarantee equal pay for men and women
  • Profit sharing for employees
  • Support people struggling to support work and family – have paid family leave and earned sick days, affordable child care and debt free college
  • Close corporate loopholes and make the wealthy pay their fair share

Clinton closed with asking audience who could do better.


First segment: “Achieving Prosperity”.

  • THere has been 6 straight years of job growth and incomes are increasing
  • Income inequality is significant and half of AMericans live paycheck to paycheck
  • How are the candidates the best to help AMericans put more money in their pockets.


The questions are Lester Holt’s.


There will be 6 segments tonight.


Let’s get started!


Here is NPR’s live blogging and fact-checking:


Sizing up the truthfulness of the two candidates just before the debate, here is PolitiFact’s scorecard:

Clinton may have an uncomfortable relationship with the truth, but Trump is quite the liar. Let’s see how they hold up tonight!


We are going to watch the debate using our MythTV box, which means we might pause, rewind, and review some moments in the debate in order to understand what just happened. This means Jodi and I might fall behind the live debate as we go… but I assure you, it’s for science! 🙂


Jodi and I have pizza and are setup to watch the debate!

Would you like to comment? Please answer some quiz questions from the story.

We care about our comments. That's why we want to make sure that everyone who comments have actually read the story. Answer a couple of questions from the story to unlock the comment form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment Spam Blocking by WP-SpamShield