It may go down as the most ill-tempered presidential debate in history.
We were promised a nuclear war between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton over allegations of sexual misconduct, and boy, did the second presidential debate deliver.
This time in Missouri, the candidates were bombarded by questions from Republicans and Democrats alike for a full 90 minutes.
And in wake of Trump’s ‘grab em by the pussy’ comments leaked by The Washington Post just a few of days ago, most viewers believed it was time for the Republican candidate to crash and burn.
But somehow – bearing in mind that his candidacy was believed to be over, his own party was rejecting him, and he was widely predicted to go nuts on air – there was no clear winner between Trump and Hillary. Meaning, he actually did okay – that is, given the already outrageous standards of this election.
Anything less than a total meltdown onstage has to be deemed a marginal success for Trump, and so it was.
Weathering attacks on Clinton’s character and expecting his latest controversial comments to be hot on the agenda, a defensive Trump threatened to send Hillary to jail he if was elected, telling millions of viewers that his rival had ‘tremendous hate in her heart’.
"It's a good thing Trump isn't in charge of the law in this country." -Hillary Clinton
"Yeah, because you'd be in jail." -Donald Trump
He also directly raised the sexual history of Bill Clinton, saying Hillary had attacked those women who had accused her husband of sexual assault.
He called forward women who claim to have been ‘raped’ by Bill in a Facebook Live video before the debate.
Join me in St. Louis, Missouri – as I conclude my debate prep.
Posted by Donald J. Trump on Sunday, October 9, 2016
As for the leaked ‘grab em by the pussy’ video, Trump said:
It was locker room banter. I’m not proud of it.
You hear these things I’ve said and I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women. They have tremendous respect for me.
Trying to turn the discussion to Bill Clinton’s history with women, he added: “If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse.”
For Hillary’s part, she said the tape published last week in which the real estate mogul was seen boasting of assaulting women, was proof of the way he viewed females. She said: “He has said the video doesn’t represent who he is but I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is.”
So who won the debate? Well, it depends who you ask.
The CNN poll found 57 per cent of people feel Clinton won the debate, compared to 34 per cent of voters who felt Donald Trump performed best, the BBC reports.
A further poll by YouGov found 47 per cent of people polled backed Clinton while 42 per cent favoured Trump.
Among people who had previously been undecided about who they would be casting their vote for, Clinton also won by 44 per cent to 41 per cent for Trump.
However, if Trump’s goal was to perform well enough to scrounge up enough voters and win electoral majority on election day, then his aggressive performance fell short.
But for Clinton, this was also an opportunity missed. While her supporters were hoping for a political kill shot that would push Trump out, she didn’t deliver.
Instead, both candidates emerged bloodied but not beaten.