The Town Hall Presidential Debate




            With three weeks left until the November 8th presidential elections, the country is on their toes as they wait to see who will be their next president. Without a doubt, the 2016 presidential election is the most controversial and well-publicized election in years. This fact served to make the 2nd presidential debate, which took place on Sunday night, October 9th at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri even more interesting. The 90-minute debate, which was moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz, took place in a “town hall” format, which meant that the candidates were surrounded by 40 uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization from the St. Louis area. Half of the questions came from these voters, while the other half were chosen by the moderators from questions submitted and voted on online through the Open Debate Coalition website. Candidates were given two minutes to answer each question, with another minute for moderators to promote further discussion.

Eight town-hall participants put forward questions to the candidates. The questions ranged from topics such as the Affordable Care Act and the vacant Supreme Court seat to simply “Do you believe you can be a devoted president to all the people in the United States?” Other major topics discussed included the candidates’ past accomplishments, Islamophobia and the refuge crisis, and energy policy.

Also hotly contested were the authenticity of the claims each candidate made. Clinton appeared to be the winner when it came to the least amount of lies, with one “Half-Truth” and one “Mostly-False,” according to Trump came in with two “Half-Truths,” one “Mostly-False,” 10 “False,” one “Pants-on-Fire,” and one “Full-Flop,” according to

The most memorable moments of the debate, though, were perhaps the controversies and surprises that occurred. The first notable surprise occurred before the debate even started, when Trump revealed that accompanying him to the debate would be four women who have accused Bill Clinton of alleged sexual assault and harassment over the years. A press conference with Trump and the four women was held immediately before the debate, and during the debate, the women were given front row seats by Trump.

The debate itself included several surprise heated accusations. Trump accused the moderators, Cooper and Raddatz, of being biased toward Clinton, at one point stating, “It’s one to three!” Continuing on this thread, he went on to argue that the moderators were giving Clinton more time to speak and respond. Following the debate, the total speaking time of each candidate was tallied by Politico. Trump was shown to have spoken for 39 minutes and 7 seconds, while Clinton spoke for 38 minutes and 29 seconds.

Despite all of the fire and brimstone thrown around, the debate ended on a surprisingly pleasant note. The last town hall participant asked the candidates to “name one positive thing that you respect in one another.” Clinton praised Trump’s children, calling them “incredibly able and devoted.” Trump complimented Clinton’s determination, stating she is “a fighter” and someone who “never gives up.”

Following the debate, a Politico poll declared Clinton the victor, with 42% of respondents considering her the winner, 28% considering Trump the winner, and 30% being undecided. Tune in to see who takes round three on Wednesday, October 19th at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

This article was written by Kinsley Prendergast.

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