Clinton puts Trump on defensive

Hillary Clinton celebrates winning her party’s nomination race. Picture: REUTERS
Hillary Clinton celebrates winning her party’s nomination race. Picture: REUTERS

Televised presidential debate rife with barbs, short on policy

Democrat Hillary Clinton accused Republican Donald Trump of racism, sexism and tax avoidance on Monday, putting him on the defensive during a US presidential debate rife with blistering insults and short on policy.

Trump, a real estate tycoon making his first run for public office, said Clinton’s long years of service represented “bad experience” with few results and she lacked the stamina to serve as commander-in-chief.

Clinton was under pressure to perform well after a bout with pneumonia and a drop in opinion polls, but her long days of preparation appeared to pay off in her highly anticipated first90-minute standoff with Trump.

Trump, 70, was strong early on, but appeared to become repetitive and more undisciplined as the night wore on in front of a televised audience that could have reached upwards of are cord 100 million people.

A CNN/ORC snap poll said 62% of respondents felt Clinton had won and27% believed Trump was the winner.

In signs that investors also awarded the debate to Clinton, Asian shares recovered from an early bout of nerves while the Mexican peso surged yesterday.

Her chances in the November 8election improved also on online betting markets.

The 68-year-old Clinton relentlessly sought to raise questions about her opponent’s temperament, business acumen and knowledge.

Trump used much of his time to argue the former first lady, US senator and secretary of state had achieved little in public life and wanted to pursue policies begun by President Barack Obama that had failed to repair a shattered middle class, with jobs lost to outsourcing and over-regulation.

Trump suggested her disavowal of a trade deal with Asian countries was insincere. Her handling of a nuclear deal with Iran and Islamic State militancy were disasters, he argued.’

Clinton accused Trump of promulgating a long drawn-out “racist lie” by suggesting Obama, the first US African-American president, was not born in the US.

Only this month did Trump say publicly that he believed Obama was U S – born .

Trying to get under his skin, Clinton suggested Trump was refusing to release his tax returns to avoid showing Americans he paid next to nothing infederal taxes or that he was not as wealthy as he said he was.

“It must be something really important, even terrible, that he’s trying to hide,” she said.

Trump fought back, saying that as a businessman, paying low taxes was important.

He also said it was about time someone running the country knew something about money.

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