The presidential candidates tangled for 90 minutes over their vastly different visions for the United States future. Democrat Hillary Clinton called for lowering taxes for the middle class, while Republican Donald Trump focused more on renegotiating trade deals that he said have caused companies to move jobs out of the U.S. The Republican backed the controversial “stop-and-frisk policing” tactic as a way to bring down crime, while the Democrat said the policy was unconstitutional and ineffective.
The debate was heated from the start, with Mr. Trump frequently trying to interrupt Ms. Clinton and speaking over her answers. Ms. Clinton was more measured and restrained, but also needled the sometimes-thin-skinned Mr. Trump over his business record and wealth.
“There’s something he’s hiding,” she declared, scoffing at his repeated contention that he won’t release his tax returns because he is being audited.
Mr. Trump aggressively tried to turn the transparency questions around on Ms. Clinton, who has struggled to overcome voters’ concerns about her honesty and trustworthiness. He said he would release his tax information when she produces more than 30,000 emails that were deleted from the personal internet server she used as Secretary of State.
Tax experts have said there is no reason the businessman cannot make his records public during an audit.
Ms. Clinton was contrite in addressing her controversial email use, saying simply that it was a “mistake”. She notably did not fall back on many of the excuses she has often used for failing to use a government email during her four years as secretary of state.
“If I had to do it over again, I would obviously do it differently,” she said.
The televised face-off was the most anticipated moment in an election campaign that has been both historic and unpredictable. Both sides expected a record-setting audience for the showdown at Hofstra University in suburban New York, reflecting the intense national interest in the race to become US’s 45th President.
The candidates sparred over trade, taxes and how to bring good-paying jobs back to the country.
Ms. Clinton said her Republican rival was promoting a “Trumped-up” version of trickle-down economics a philosophy focused on tax cuts for the wealthy. She called for increasing the federal minimum wage, spending more on infrastructure projects and guaranteeing equal pay for women.
Mr. Trump panned policies that he said have led to American jobs being moved overseas, in part because of international trade agreements that Ms. Clinton has supported. He pushed Ms. Clinton aggressively on her past support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact while she was serving in the Obama administration. She’s since said she opposes the sweeping deal in its final form.