Final Debate Highlights: Here’s what you missed


Hillary Clinton(left) and Donald Trump(right) debate policy and platform in final presidential debate. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Story by Amanda Freuler/ News Editor and Andrew Wigdor/ Assistant News Editor

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton met to debate one final time last night before the 2016 Presidential Election takes place on Nov. 8. If you opted to watch the new episode of “American Horror Story” instead, here are some moments from the debate you missed.

Supreme Court and Second Amendment rights

After skipping the ceremonious handshake yet again, Trump and Clinton manned their podiums as moderator Chris Wallace from Fox news began the debate by questioning the candidates about their views on the Supreme Court and Constitutional interpretation.

Wallace said he asked these specific questions “because the next president will almost certainly have at least one appointment and likely — or possibly – two or three appointments” to the Supreme Court.

Clinton responded by explaining she wants a Supreme Court “that will stand up on behalf of of women’s rights, on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community, that will stand up and say no to Citizens United…”

Trump began his response by bringing up disapproving comments Justice Ginsburg made about the possibility of his presidency during an interview with the “New York Times,” which she later apologized for.

He then stated, “We need a Supreme Court that in my opinion is going to uphold the Second Amendment and all amendments. But the Second Amendment, which is under absolute siege.”

If Clinton were elected, Trump said she would create a Second Amendment that is “very, very small replica of what it is right now.” In addition to protecting the Second Amendment, Trump said any Justice he appoints would be conservative, pro-life and interpret the Constitution as the Founding Fathers intended.

Following Trump’s comment Clinton said she supports the Second Amendment as well as comprehensive background checks, and closing the online and gun show “loopholes.”

“…what I would like to see is for people to come together and say, of course we’re going to protect and defend the Second Amendment,” Clinton said. “But we’re going to do it in a way that tries to save some of these thirty three thousand lives that we lose every year.”

Abortion and Roe v. Wade

The debate then pivoted to a consistently controversial topic: abortion. Wallace began by asking Trump if he would work toward the eventual overturn of the infamous Roe v. Wade court decision.

Trump never clearly responded and instead stated that the decision would “go back to the individual states.” Wallace continued to press Trump on the matter but received Trump’s repeated statement regarding the judgement of the states.

Clinton responded with the viewpoint that the government should never be involved in the “most intimate, most difficult in many cases” abortion decision.  She continued, stating that many states are working towards defunding Planned Parenthood, despite its efforts to provide services such as cancer screenings.

According to an “NPR” article relaying the way that Planned Parenthood spends its funding, only three percent of the government funding was used in programs related to abortion in 2014. The largest percentage of government money was used for STI/STD testing services with 42 percent of the funds.

Clinton ended by saying, “I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v. Wade and I will defend women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions.”

Trump responded with accusations against Clinton regarding her stance “partial birth abortions.”

“Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby,” he remarked.

Clinton defended her previous statements, saying that Trump’s comments on partial birth abortions was simply “scare rhetoric.” She fell back on her previous assertions that the government has no right to be involved with a woman’s choice when pregnant by mentioning the unfavorable conditions for expecting mothers in countries such as China or Romania.

“Honestly, nobody it has business doing what I just said, doing that as late as one or two or three or four days prior to birth. Nobody has that,” Trump said.

Border Security and Immigration

Shifting from the topic of abortion, Wallace asked each candidate why their immigration plan is better than their opponent’s plan. While doing so, Wallace reminded the audience of Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Mexican border in addition to mass deportations, and Clinton’s plan to offer pathways to citizenship.

Trump emphasized the need for strong borders and said Clinton’s plan to give amnesty “is a disaster and very unfair to all the people that are waiting on line for many many years.” Trump continued, explaining that the need for stricter border control is due to violent illegal immigrants and the transfer of drugs across the southern border.

“We need the wall the border patrol, ICE, they all want the wall,” Trump said. “…we have some bad hombres here that were going to get them out.

Clinton’s response began with anecdote about a young girl she’d recently met who feared her parents would be deported. She said that she doesn’t want to separate families such as this one through the deportation plans that Trump has proposed.

“I have been for border security for years. I voted for border security in the United States Senate and my comprehensive immigration reform plan of course include border security,” Clinton said in response to the question. “Getting rid of any violent person, anybody who should be deported, we should deport them.”

Before moving on, Clinton said that Trump “choked” when visiting Mexico and failed to bring up building the wall.

“First of all I had a very good meeting with the president of Mexico, very nice man, we will be doing very much better with Mexico on trade deals believe me,” Trump said.

The Scandals

Throughout the course of the 90 minute debate, Wallace directly asked Trump and Clinton both about their media scandals in the past year; Clinton’s involving Wikileaks and Trump’s recent accusations of sexual assault after the “Access Hollywood” recording was released.

First to be questioned, Clinton said the importance of the Wikileak incident “is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans.”

According to Clinton, the online hacking has been directed by Putin. She then turned the attention back to Trump stating, “will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in this election, that he rejects Russian espionage against Americans, which he actually encouraged in the past.”

Wallace then inquired about the testimonies of the women who claimed to be sexually assaulted by Trump.

Trump stated, “First of all, the stories have been largely debunked.” He mentioned some of his accusers, including “the woman on the plane,” or Jessica Leeds, who accused Trump of groping her without consent on an airplane. Trump claimed to have not even seen the woman who have brought the charges. This claim contradicts, however, the testimony of Leeds who spoke with the New York Times about the alleged incident.

After Trump’s mitigation of the claims, he referenced a tape released by Project Veritas, a conservative group focused on investigating ongoing corruption in politics. According to Trump, the tape showed a group of Democratic representatives discussing attempts to purposely incite violence at Trump rallies. Trump claimed that the two operatives featured in the video, Scott Foval and Robert Creamer, were directly hired by Clinton.

Trump continued his accusations, explaining his belief that the women who have brought forward testimonies of sexual assault were either paid or told to speak up by Hillary Clinton.

“I believe Chris that she got these people to step forward. If it wasn’t, they get there ten minutes of fame. But they were all totally – it was all fiction.”

Towards the end of the debate, Wallace brought up Trump’s allegations that the election is rigged and asked him if he will accept the result of the election. Trump said he will look at this question when the election gets to that point, but then turned his response against the media.

“First of all the media is so dishonest and so corrupt and the pile on is so amazing that the New York Times actually wrote an article about it that they don’t even care,” Trump said. “It’s so dishonest and they poison the minds of the voters but unfortunately for them I think the voters are seeing through it.”

In addition to the media, Trump said the election was rigged simply because Clinton should not be allowed to run for the presidency after being “guilty of a very very serious crime.”

Wallace continued focusing on the topic by asking Trump if he would accept the United States’ concept of a peaceful transition of power where the loser concedes to the winner.

“What I’m saying now is I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense, okay?” Trump responded.

The final debate concluded with Wallace asking the candidates to explain why the American people should elect them to be president.

“I will stand up for families against powerful interests, against corporations. I will do everything that I can to make sure that you have good jobs with rising incomes, that your kids have good educations from preschool through college,” Clinton said.

“We are going to make America strong again, and we are going to make America great again. And it has to start now. We cannot take four more years of Barack Obama. And that’s what you get when you get her,” Trump responded.

Other issues discussed were economic development plans, foreign hot spots and the national debt. See a complete transcript from the debate with fact-checking here.

For more news, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

To contact News Editor Amanda Freuler, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com

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