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First US presidential debate: Key highlights

 

Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton took part in the first US presidential debate at Hofstra University on New York state’s Long Island. It is the first of three planned presidential debates.

On creating and bringing back jobs
Hillary Clinton took the first debate question from moderator Lester Holt, who asked about her plan to create better jobs for American workers.

Clinton responded with her standard campaign promise to fight for fair pay for female workers and to increase taxes on the wealthy.

Donald Trump kicked off the debate touting his plan to create jobs and claiming that Mexico and other countries are “stealing them.”

“We have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us” and is claiming that Mexico’s factory building is like “the 8th wonder of the world,” Trump said. He called for renegotiating US trade deals and said job creation will flourish under a Trump administration because of his plans to lower taxes and scale back regulations.
Trump blamed Hillary Clinton for what he says have been “defective” trade agreements that have cost American jobs. He said Mexico taxes American products imported there, but the US does not tax Mexican imports. He said Clinton’s been “doing this for 30 years,” a reference to her long career on the American political scene.

On Hillary’s leaked e-mails
Hillary Clinton said she’s taking responsibility for using a private server to get State Department emails.

When Donald Trump said he would release his tax returns if his opponent released what he called her “33,000 deleted” emails, Clinton said, “I made a mistake using a private email” server.

Clinton said Trump has a simple reason he won’t release his tax returns: He’s got something to hide. She noted that some of the Republican nominee’s income tax returns in the 1970s showed Trump paid no federal income taxes in certain years.

On racial discord and law and order
Clinton said fixing race relations comes down to two things: restoring trust between police and communities of color and reforming gun laws. She said gun violence is the leading cause of death among young African-American men.

Donald Trump talked about the importance of “law and order” in response to the moderator’s question on how to heal racial divides. He said that if you walk down the streets in places like Chicago, “you get shot.” He went on to cite the controversial “stop-and-frisk” policing tactic as a way to bring down crime. “Right now our police are afraid of doing anything,” he said.

On Barack Obama’s origins
Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump started his political career by claiming President Barack Obama was born outside the United States. Clinton accused Trump of spreading a “racist lie” that our “first black president” was not an American citizen. She added, “He has a long record of engaging in racist behavior.”

Trump responded by recalling bitter debates between Clinton and Obama during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. He said Clinton treated Obama then with “terrible disrespect.” He said Clinton “failed to get the (Obama’s) birth certificate.” He then said, “When I got involved, I didn’t fail.”

On gun laws in US
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seemed to come to a rare agreement about a contentious gun issue. Trump told Clinton, “I agree with you” when it comes to not allowing people “on a watch list or a no-fly list” from buying guns. He said, “We have to look very strongly at no-fly lists and watch lists.”
Clinton had said earlier that she believes, “If you’re too dangerous to fly, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun.”

On cyber attacks from outside
Hillary Clinton warned against the spread of cyber-attacks in the United States, particularly from Russia. The Democratic nominee said the United States “is not going to sit idly by” and let hostile nations attempt to hack public or private information. She called out Russia and dinged Donald Trump’s frequent praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton also criticized Trump for inviting Russia to find her emails.

Trump interrupted Clinton, saying “Wrong” when his opponent mentioned his praise of Putin.

On fighting IS
Hillary Clinton said defeating the Islamic State group and taking out its leaders would be a top priority as president. Clinton expressed hope the Islamic State group would be pushed out of Iraq by the end of the year. She says the US could then help its allies “squeeze” the terrorist group in Syria.

On relation with Middle East countries and Muslims
Hillary Clinton says one key to fighting terrorism in the United States is working closely with Muslims living here. Clinton said Donald Trump has “consistently insulted Muslims abroad, Muslims at home.” Both candidates were asked to explain how they would combat terrorism in the US Clinton said her plan includes an intelligence surge to obtain “every scrap of information” and to “do everything we can to vacuum up intelligence from Europe, from the Middle East.”

Donald Trump interrupted the moderator to insist he has the best temperament for the office. Trump repeatedly made the assertion after clashing with moderator Lester Holt over his early support for the Iraq War. “I think my strongest asset by far is my temperament,” Trump said. “I know how to win.”

On the Iraq war
Donald Trump insisted he opposed the Iraq War before the US invasion despite evidence to the contrary. Trump said during the debate that he “did not support the war in Iraq,” calling that charge “mainstream media nonsense.” But there is no evidence Trump expressed public opposition to the war before the US invaded.

Trump was asked in September 2002 whether he supported a potential Iraq invasion in an interview with Howard Stern. Trump briefly hesitated, then responded: “Yeah, I guess so.” Presented with the comment during the debate, Trump responds: “I said very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows.”
Clinton voted in favor of the invasion in 2002 while she was a New York senator. She has since said it was a mistake.

On NATO and its Middle East policies
Trump said NATO needs to “go into the Middle East with us” to combat the Islamic State group. And he took credit for NATO focusing resources on combating terrorism.

Earlier this year, Trump criticised NATO for not focusing on terrorism. He said that afterward, he saw an article reporting that NATO was opening a new, major anti-terrorism division. He said Tuesday that NATO’s action was “largely because of what I was saying, and my criticism of NATO.”

On the candidates’ healths
Hillary Clinton punched back at Donald Trump’s assertions that she doesn’t have the “stamina” to be president. Trump had questioned whether Clinton has the physical fitness to be president and he repeated the criticism to her directly during the debate.

Clinton’s response? Trump shouldn’t talk about stamina until he’s tried out the busy schedule she kept up as secretary of state. “Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents… or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina,” she said.

Trump didn’t answer moderator Lester Holt’s original question about his past comments that Clinton doesn’t have the “presidential look.”

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