Chris Wallace, once an aggressive reporter during the Reagan era but reluctant to question Beltway assumptions, surely contributed to making “The National Debt” a debate topic. In October 2016. The debt. We worry about an irrelevance that keeps political reporters in night sweats.
Who besides a blog-crazed lackey like yours truly will (a) watch this debate and (b) change his or her mind after watching this debate can fit in a French coffee press? I do this because I want to record the moment when Hillary Clinton refused to wrap a noose around Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the GOP satraps who insist on treating Donald J. Trump as a nightmare forgotten after a run on the treadmill.
10:42. I suspect no one who isn’t of color will care about Trump’s most horrifying statement: “Our inner cities are a disaster. You get shot walking to the store. They have no education. They have no jobs. I’ll do more for African-Americans and Latinos that she can do for a lifetime.”
10:30. I love how Beltway types like Wallace chortle about how “entitlement programs” comprise 60 percent of GDP because they know they’ll never use it.
10:27. His answer on the national debt — negotiating percentages — is how a ninth grader would respond when called up on by a teacher who though he was asleep.
10:25. “Clinton sucks because Assad allies with Putin, therefore Putin is smart.” Trump’s gem-like distillation of Middle Eastern geopolitics.
10:25. VAST SWATCHES OF LAND.
10:21. “Thanks a lot, Hillary!” Trump’s concession.
10:20. “Bundles of cash as big as this stage!” — and you still can’t win an Emmy.
10: 18. GO TO ALEPPO, CHRIS.
10:18. First Bernie Sanders reference.
10:15. Her answer is open-ended enough, if I’m kind; she wants rhetorical room to call for more troops into Iraq if necessary next year. A genuine opponent would have pinned her down.
10:14: Trump’s right: George Marshall and Douglas MaCarthur will spin in the grave at the stupidity in our country — including the putative commander in chief.
10:11. Chris Wallace, underwear moist with sweat, switches with relief to “foreign policy.”
10:08. Trump’s right: he should’ve gotten that Emmy.
10:07. “Will you accept the results of the election?” Trump: “I’ll take a look at it.”
10:05. Trump: “George Soros. GEORGE SOROS.” He repeated as if proud to repeat a Breitbart quote. His platform consists of gossip, rumor, and innuendo from World Net Daily.
10:02. Trump’s claim about the Clinton Foundation’s building of shoddy housing has become a bugaboo in certain quarters in the left press. It deserves a better spokesman.
10:01. Why can’t she just rebut the chargers? “These people wanted to see me. I didn’t see them. Lobbyists want to see important people all the time.”
9:57. Trump (paraphrase): “I love women, I think they’re great. Let’s talk about her destroyed emails.”
9:53. I expected James O’Keefe’s tape to come out. What matters is CHICAGO. Or: “”I didn’t even apologize to my wife, because I did nothing wrong” so “let’s talk about Obama and Chicago.”
9:53. “Our next segment is fitness to be president of the United States.”
9:49. What the fuck is he talking about “stolen State Department money”?
9:47. A policy difference — to be kind to Trump’s mutterings about the economy — turns into a referendum on how fact checkers fucked Trump over.
9:44 Face set, Clinton mourns how demoralized the Bush administration looked in 2008 when the world economy collapsed. A play for errant Republicans.
9:42. Clinton: she has “costed out” the debt — ugh. Speak English, girl.
9:40. Trump will treat allies as if he were a slum lord.
9:35. Did Trump just deny that a president can start a nuclear war in four minutes?
9:35. First appearance of Trumpian “WRONG.”
9:31. “This person” — Trump referring to Clinton.
9:30. Trump jumps from open borders to “radical Islam.”
9:30. Pivoting away from Wikileaks revelations about Clitnon’s paid speech in Brazil, Clinton condemns Russia’s “espionage” against the United States.
9:29. From Andrew Sullivan’s own liveblog: Frank Luntz
Trump saying he will appoint SCOTUS justices to overturn Roe v. Wade caused his numbers with independents to tank.
9:28. Second appearance of “bigly.”
9:27. First appearance of “bigly.”
9:26. “I want to get everyone out of the shadows.”
9:23. A ban, please, by the debate committee on any candidate — Barack Obama and Donald Trump — lapsing into the vernacular. In Obama’s case, it’s “folks”; in Trump’s it’s “bad hombres.”
9:16. It’s difficult writing Clinton’s campaign boilerplate when her opponent says an abortion in the ninth month of pregnancy involves “rip[ping] the baby out of the womb of the mother.”
9:14. “I lived in Arkansas. People do dumb shit with guns.”
9:13. How the hell did Trump know Clinton was “extremely upset” about the 2008 Heller decision?
9:10. First “Chicago” reference #dogwhistle
9:08. When Trump is asked about the Court, he prefers to discuss Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s dumb remarks about Colin Kaepernick’s right to knee during football games. But his justices will be “pro life” and “pro Second Amendment.”
9:06. Clinton on Supreme Court: Don’t “reverse marriage equality or Roe v. Wade” and “stand up” against Citizens United decision.
9:03. “No cheers or boos,” Wallace intones while crickets? locusts? chirp
9:01. Rachel Maddow and Nicole Wallace of MSNBC affirm Wallace’s Very Serious FOX News Division credentials.
8:58 p.m. Chris Wallace in his grim round spectacles reminds the audience, like my ninth grade ninth grade counselor, not to holler because “one of these people will be the next president of the United States.”