You probably think you've heard, seen or read it all about the first Trump-Clinton debate. Well, I have a few additional observations that I'd like to share.
I'll start by agreeing with obvious and oft-repeated points. All but the most ardent Trumpites agree that Hillary whooped Donald. The CNN Poll immediately after the debate, Gallup, and Fox News all show over 60 percent of viewers think Hillary won.
These are the first major scientific polls, not Internet polls.
Hillary won before the debate even started. The two combatants walked out, shook hands, and Hillary said, "Hi, how are you, Donald?"
Nothing disarms a narcissist better than simply being pleasant. I believe this warm greeting knocked Trump off his game before he got to the podium. In her opening comments, Hillary also said, "Donald, it's good to be with you." Trump returned no such pleasantries. Although in a bizarre moment, calling her "Secretary Clinton" he asked if that was good? "Because I want you to be very happy. That's very important to me."
Conventional wisdom says that Trump didn't prepare for the debates. I think Trump did prepare for the first debate against Hillary. He just prepared for the wrong goal.
In debate one, we heard Trump rattle off statistics, numbers and policy. I believe Trump was intent on showing that he "knew his stuff." That wasn't what Trump needed to do.
Avoiding any disastrous gaffes and showing he is temperamentally fit to be president were the only goals Trump needed to accomplish. Trump got an "F" on looking presidential. Hillary gave as strong a performance as she is capable of delivering.
Donald was on defense most of the evening. This is puzzling because throughout 11 primary debates Trump vanquished 16 rivals by rarely being defensive and famously counter-punching back harder than he was hit.
Many pundits have pointed out that Trump missed many opportunities because he was refuting red-herring issues better left ignored. One example not cited was when Trump stated that Hillary had just gotten around to thinking about jobs after 30 years of public life. She replied: "I think my husband did a pretty good job in the 1990s. I think a lot about what worked and how we can make it work again."
The two went back and forth re-litigating the 1990s economy. The better question, is Hillary running more for Obama's third term (reciting the laundry list of government giveaways she's campaigning on) or Bill's third term including welfare reform, mandatory minimums, cutting capital gains taxes.
If she wants to recreate the 1990s she must govern very differently than Barack Obama has the past eight years.
Trump's defense on taxes and the birther issue, where he claims to have done Obama a favor by getting him to release his birth certificate. Obama could "help" Trump with his audit problem by issuing him a full and unconditional pardon for anything the IRS might find. Thus, doing Trump the "favor" of taking away the reason he can't release the tax returns that he desperately wants to make public.
Clinton and Trump spoke over one another. Donald interrupted Hillary far more often. He was clearly frustrated, and it showed. In the House of Representatives, members address the chair (or speaker) but don't directly engage with another member.
Likewise, Trump should address his questions/comments toward the moderator and never directly to Clinton.
Hillary used virtually the same words as Megyn Kelly during the first primary debate regarding Trump's characterization of women. Inexplicably, instead of speaking to his record of hiring and promoting women, Trump was taken by surprise when Clinton talked about former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado's weight issues.
Since the debate, Trump has attacked Machado, keeping the story alive and continuing to look every bit the misogynist the Clinton campaign intended.
Using real people is a powerful technique. Trump should have had a couple of "regular people" in the audience who are supporters, briefly tell their story and ask Hillary to pick out the ones that were "deplorables."
In the first debate, Trump lived up to voters worst fears. He demonstrated he doesn't have the temperament to be president. Reinforced his misogyny, and he made his tax issues worse. Remember, Romney beat Obama convincingly in the first debate in 2012, but still lost.
Trump needs to focus on looking and acting presidential. Stay on offense. Speak in generalities and thematically. Don't talk directly to Hillary, address the moderator or in the town-hall the audience. It's not over until the fat lady sings (but don't let Trump say that!).
Andy Bloom is a former communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio, and as operations manager oversaw content for Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, Philadelphia for eight years. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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