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'Maybe he's not as rich as he says he is': The debate moments everyone will be talking about
Trump and Clinton clashed in a fierce debate overnight – here’s what you need to know.

HILLARY CLINTON AND Donald Trump clashed in a fierce debate overnight – the first of three such contests to take place ahead of November’s general election.

The general consensus among most commentators, in the aftermath, was that Clinton had the better night. While Trump managed to stick to his talking points and mount aggressive attacks on his opponent, it was the Democrat who had the most effective barbs and landed more killer punches.

“It’s all words, it’s all soundbites,” Trump responded to one of Clinton’s attacks, mid-debate. The businessman did well at times to counter his opponent’s broadsides, bringing up her woes with emails several times, but he found himself on the ropes towards the end of the event as the former Secretary of State hammered him on his stance on the Iraq war and his attitude towards women.

1. ‘Maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is’

“I will release my tax returns – against my lawyer’s wishes – when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted,” Trump responded when pressed by moderator Lester Holt about his tax returns.

Clinton shot back that such a challenge was “another example of bait and switch,” noting that presidential candidates for the last four decades had released their tax returns.

“I have no reason to believe that he’s ever going to release his tax returns, because there’s something he’s hiding,” she added.

Maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is.

2. ‘That was not a mistake. That was done purposely’

Trump brought up the Clinton email controversy a number of times.

The GOP candidate and other Republicans have repeatedly argued that Clinton may have deleted emails in order to prevent information damaging to her from becoming public.

“If I had to do it over again, I would, obviously, do it differently,” Clinton acknowledged about her use of private email.

But I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake and I take responsibility for that.

KTVU / YouTube

“That was not a mistake. That was done purposely,” Trump interjected, saying it was “disgraceful” that Clinton staff, including the man who set up the Clintons’ home server, were allowed to take the “the 5th” and decline to answer investigators’ questions.

3. Fighting Isis ‘her entire adult life’

In one of the more bizarre moments of the debate, Trump accused Clinton of fighting Isis her “entire adult life”.

So-called Islamic State began to emerge in 2009, although their roots go back to the al Qaeda in Iraq group, which started in 2004. Hillary Clinton is 68 years old.

4. ’You live in your own reality’

Trump, in keeping with his barnstorming style, had plenty of off-the-cuff soundbites of his own (“Typical politician” … “We are in a big, fat, ugly bubble”) but Clinton hit home with a few well-timed pre-rehearsed jabs.

“You live in your own reality,” she told the former Apprentice host at one stage.

After one prolonged attack from the Republican she responded: “By the end of the night I’m going to be blamed for everything”.

“Why not,” her opponent responded.

5.  ’My father gave me a very small loan’ 

Trump was forced to defend his record as a businessman at several points.

“You know, Donald was very fortunate in his life and that’s all to his benefit,” Clinton said, early in the debate. “He started his business with $14 million, borrowed from his father, and he really believes that the more you help wealthy people, the better off we’ll be.”

The businessman responded:

Well, for one thing, and before we start on that, my father gave me a very small loan in 1975 and I built it into a company that’s worth many, many billions of dollars with some of the greatest assets in the world and I say that because that’s the kind of thinking our country needs.

Trump has been criticised before for calling the loan he received from his father “small”.

CNN / YouTube

6. ‘This racist lie…’

Clinton accused Trump of launching his political career by supporting what she called a “racist” theory that questioned Barack Obama’s citizenship.

“He tried to put the whole racist ‘birther’ lie to bed,” the Democrat said, referring to his recent attempts to walk-back his prolonged campaign against America’s first black president.

But it can’t be dismissed that easily. He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen.

7. Iraq and a hard place

The debate really gathered pace in the closing half hour.

Trump struggled to explain his position on the Iraq war. Over a long answer, he essentially admitted that he said he was in favour of the invasion before he was against it.

Slate has the transcript…

slate Slate Slate

And here’s the video:

CNN / YouTube

8. ‘Stamina’

Clinton had a well-structured response ready to go when the inevitable attack on her “stamina” arrived, late on.

Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents… or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.

9. Trump loves ‘hanging around’ beauty contests

In one of the final exchanges, Clinton brought up former Miss Universe contestant Alicia Machado, who said Trump regularly bullied her when he took over the pageant, calling her “Miss Piggy”.

“And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them.

He called this woman ‘Miss Piggy’. Then he called her ‘Miss Housekeeping’ because she was Latina.

10. ‘I will absolutely support her’

Trump surprised more than a few observers, with one of his last comments…

- With reporting from AFP 

Read: AS IT HAPPENED: Trump and Clinton clash in the first US presidential debate >

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