Tensions run high at second Presidential debate

Presidential rivals, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do not shake hands at start of second presidential debate. (Oct. 9/AP Photo)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Hillary Clinton says she feels great after her debate with Donald Trump.

But she says she was “surprised by the absolute avalanche of falsehoods” he spoke during the 90-minute showdown.

She spoke briefly to reporters aboard her campaign plane for the flight from St. Louis to White Plains, New York. Former President Bill Clinton was aboard for the first time.

Clinton says she was aware that Trump stood very close to her as she answered some questions. She says it was a “very small space,” but that Trump was “very present.”

Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta says Donald Trump’s reference to Clinton as the “devil” is “beneath a presidential candidate.”

Podesta tells CNN it’s one more reason why Trump lacks the temperament to be in the Oval Office. In the debate, Trump said he was surprised to see Bernie Sanders “sign on with the devil,” referring to Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is elaborating on Trump’s claim that Clinton viciously attacked women who accused former President Bill Clinton of inappropriate sexual behavior.

Conway tells MSNBC that Clinton tried to silence some women and demeaned others. She says Clinton “blamed and shamed.” Conway says it’s the “worst thing you can do to a victim.”

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Mike Pence has broken his radio silence to give running mate Donald Trump a thumbs-up on his performance in Sunday’s presidential debate.

Pence said on Twitter following the debate that he was “proud to stand with” Trump and congratulated him for what Pence called a “big debate win.”

Clinton and Trump shook hands after the debate ended, something they refused to do 90 minutes earlier.

The debate was especially icy at the outset, replete with talk of sexual impropriety and Trump threatening to jail Clinton over her erased emails.

But the St. Louis rumble concluded with a voter asking them to say something nice about each other.

Clinton says she respects Trump’s children, a comment Trump calls “a very nice compliment.”

He says he sees Clinton as a “fighter” even though he disagrees with much of what she’s fighting for. He says “she does fight hard and doesn’t give up and I consider that a very good trait.”

Clinton’s and Trump’s families quickly joined them on stage as the debate wrapped up.

The candidates greeted their relatives and then circulated the room, which is filled with undecided Missouri voters as well as supporters of the two campaigns.

Trump says the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama has hurt domestic energy production with overreaching restrictions.

Trump says: “Energy is under siege, under absolute siege. The EPA is killing these energy companies.”

Trump blames Obama, and by association Clinton, for coal mines closing. He first noted West Virginia, a state that typically votes Republican, before adding two key coal states — Ohio and Pennsylvania — he probably needs to capture to win the White House.

Trump is also lamenting Chinese companies selling cheaper steel on the international market, hurting the U.S. steel industry.

Clinton agrees that China is dumping cheap steel on the market, but notes that “Donald Trump is buying it to build his buildings.”

On the Supreme Court, Clinton said she wants justices who understand how the world “really works.” She wants ones who will support the legality of abortion and same-sex marriage. She notes that several of the justices Trump has said he’d consider oppose those rights.

Trump says he wants a judge in the tradition of Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia’s death this winter opened a vacancy on the court that still has not been filled. The Republican-controlled Senate has refused to consider President Obama’s nominee to fill Scalia’s seat.

Trump is denying encouraging people to check out a sex tape of a former Miss Universe — something he recently did on Twitter.

Referencing the controversy over former beauty queen Alicia Machado, Trump said his past comments, “It wasn’t, `Check out a sex tape.”‘

Instead, Trump claims he just asked people to “take a look at the past of this of this wonderful Girl Scout who was no Girl Scout.”

But Trump did encourage his Twitter followers to “check out sex tape and past” of Machado. He also suggested, without evidence, that Clinton helped Machado become a U.S. citizen to vote against Trump.

Clinton had criticized Trump for slamming Machado for gaining weight after becoming Miss Universe.

Trump says Hillary Clinton has “tremendous hate in her heart.”

Trump made the comment in reference to Clinton saying earlier in the campaign that half of Trump’s supporters are “deplorables.” Clinton apologized for saying that half of his supporters were deplorables, but didn’t back down from using that word.

After Trump said Sunday that Clinton had “tremendous hate in her heart,” she laughed and shook her head. But she did not address the comment the next time she spoke.

Trump says he disagrees with his running mate Mike Pence on the proper strategy to deal with the civil war and humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Debate moderator Martha Raddatz pointed out that Pence had said provocations by Russia in Syria need to be met with “American strength” and the U.S. should be prepared to use air strikes in Syria against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

But Trump says he disagrees with Pence, a former member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and notes they had not spoken about the issue.

Trump says the U.S. focus should be on eliminating the Islamic State, and not getting entangled with fights with Assad and Russia.

“We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved,” Trump says.

Clinton is pledging not to use American ground forces in Syria, saying it would be a “very serious mistake.”

Clinton says she doesn’t think American troops should be holding territory as an occupying force, saying it’s not a “smart strategy.”

Asked how she would fight the Islamic State in a different way than President Barack Obama, Clinton says she’s hopeful that IS will be pushed out of Iraq by the time she’s president.

But she says she would specifically target IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and consider arming Kurdish fighters in Iraq.

Trump is blaming Clinton for what was called the “red line” in Syria, a generalization about the U.S. response to Bashar Assad’s regime.

But Clinton didn’t make the claim. President Barack Obama did. And he did it after Clinton had left the administration as secretary of state.

Trump says, “She’s there with the line-in-the-sand.”

Clinton pipes in: “No, I wasn’t. I was gone.”

Trump responds: “But you were in contact, excuse me. Sadly, perhaps President Obama was still listening to you.”

The exchange was about the city of Aleppo in Syria, where the Assad regime, backed by Russia, is fighting to root out rebels and killing civilians in the process.

On taxes, Clinton is promising that no one making less than $250,000 will pay higher taxes under her plan, but those with higher incomes could pay considerably more.

Clinton says she wants to impose a special tax on people making over $1 million and a surcharge on those with incomes above $5 million.

“We have to make up for lost times,” Clinton says, telling the audience she wants to raise taxes on the rich “because I want to invest in you.”

She says Trump’s proposed tax plan would end up raising taxes on millions of middle-class Americans.

Trump says he will get rid of the carried interest loophole that allows Wall Street traders to pay a lower tax rate on their earnings.

Trump says he would eliminate the loophole that lets money managers count their earnings as capital gains, which carry a lower tax rate, instead of ordinary income.

But Trump’s carried interest provision doesn’t actually raise taxes on hedge fund managers and it creates a new loophole that could provide them with an even lower rate.

The Republican says he would cut taxes for the middle class and accuses Clinton of raising taxes on middle-class families.

Trump says the United States is allowing refugees from Syria and the Middle East to pour into America and “we have no idea who they are” or where exactly they are coming from.

Asked about bans and strict limits on Muslim immigrants into the United States that he’s supported in the past, Trump says it was a policy plan that would grow out of “extreme vetting” of people coming to the U.S. from global conflict areas.

Trump calls allowing immigrants into the country without more scrutiny the “Greatest Trojan Horse of all time” and says it has to stop because “we have enough problems in our country.”

Clinton says she’ll screen Syrian refugees but the country needs to take in more.

Clinton says a proposal like Donald Trump’s to ban all Muslims from entering the country plays into the hands of terrorists. She also says Trump has alienated the country’s Muslim allies.

Clinton says “we will have vetting and it will be as tough as it needs to be.” But she is evoking the image of a bloodied 4-year-old Syrian boy to argue the United States needs to do its share.

Trump did not answer a question about how to stop Islamophobia in America. Instead, he said American Muslims must report other Muslims who are engaging in dangerous behavior.

He’s repeating the false claim that neighbors of the San Bernardino shooters saw bombs all over the floor in the shooters’ home but did not report it.

Clinton, meanwhile, is condemning “dark and divisive” things said about Muslims. She says the United States is not at war with Islam and says Muslims should feel welcome and included in society.

Clinton and Trump also clashed over the future of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

Clinton is vowing to fix the Affordable Care Act and Trump is promising to repeal and replace “Obamacare.”

Clinton says 20 million more people have health coverage because of the law. She says she wants to “save what works,” but the next administration will need to get costs down and provide more help to small businesses. She says if the system is repealed it will be “turned back” to the insurance industry.

Trump says the system is a “disaster” and “will never work.” He says it needs to be replaced with a less expensive system that’s more flexible for patients regardless of what state they live in.

Clinton says the Donald Trump heard on an 11-year-old recording making crude and vulgar remarks about women “is who Donald Trump is.”

Clinton addressed Trump’s predatory comments in the opening minutes of the second presidential debate Sunday.

Clinton says the tape shows what Trump “thinks about women, what he does to women.”

She says that while Trump has claimed the tape doesn’t represent who he is, “It’s clear to anyone who heard it, it represents exactly who he is.”

Clinton says Trump has insulted not only women, but African-Americans, immigrants, people with disabilities, prisoners of war and others.

Trump denies he was discussing sexual assault in a 2005 recording that reveals him saying he can “do anything” with women because he is famous.

He says he has never kissed or groped women without consent. And he’s continuing to characterize the recording as “locker room talk.”

Debate moderator Anderson Cooper put it more bluntly, saying, “That is sexual assault.”

Trump responded: “No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understand what I said.”

Trump continually tried to pivot to foreign policy, seemingly suggesting his comments pale in comparison to the actions of the Islamic State.



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