Third and final presidential debate

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Caitlin Pierson

On October 19 at 9 p.m., millions of Americans tuned in to the third and final debate of the Presidential election. The event was held at the University of Nevada: Las Vegas and was sponsored by the Commission of Presidential Debates. Chris Wallace of Fox News was the debate’s moderator, and started the event by asking the audience for complete silence. Donald Trump, sporting a red tie, and Senator Hillary Clinton, wearing a white pantsuit, entered on stage took their places in front of podiums and the debate began.
As with all other Presidential debates, neither campaign received information regarding the topics ahead of time, forcing each candidate to prepare for anything from foreign affairs to immigration. After Wallace introduced a new topic with a question, each candidate had two minutes to respond before the candidates were given a chance to debate openly.
In the previous debates, Donald Trump was notorious for interrupting Senator Clinton, and viewers were expecting a similar impatient temperament during the last debate. For the first hour, Trump surprised many by maintaining a professional demeanor, controlling both his impulses to speak and his facial expressions. Senator Clinton remained poised throughout.
Chris Wallace’s first question was in regards to the Supreme Court; he asked each candidate to describe what the Supreme Court would look like if he or she became president, and what sort of Justice each candidate would endorse. True to Democratic values, Clinton vowed to “stand on the side of the American people.” Opposing her on all accounts, Trump spoke of a conservative Court that would read and enforce the Constitution “the way it was meant to be.”
The debate continued in this fashion, with only minor interruptions as the candidates tackled topics such as the second Amendment, abortion, immigration and the economy.
Both Trump and Clinton support the second Amendment, but differ on its regulation, with Clinton proposing stricter background checks. In regards to abortion, Clinton supports Roe v. Wade while Trump promises to overturn the ruling. Trump has maintained his stance on immigration throughout his campaign, calling for a wall to separate our southern border and Mexico. Clinton focuses on immigration reform that would provide a path to citizenship. Both candidates have opposite plans for the economy, with Clinton raising taxes on the wealthy to support the lower and middle classes, and Trump lowering taxes.
After arguing back and forth about sexual harassment, respect for women, dealing with foreign affairs and the national debt, Wallace gave each candidate two minutes to make a closing statement, an opportunity for which neither candidate prepared.
In her last statement before the election, Clinton chose to address the main points of her campaign by attempting to appeal to all Americans with promises of rising incomes and good education.
Employing a different strategy, Trump used his time to outline the ways in which his campaign is better than Clinton’s by promising that he can do more for the inner cities and minorities than she can. Trump’s closing statement ended with a comparison of Clinton to the current President, stating that the country “cannot take four more years of Obama.”
As the audience was finally allowed to applaud the candidates, Donald Trump and Senator Hillary Clinton moved out from behind their podiums to interact with their families and supporters. The two candidates did not shake hands.

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