By Chelsea Schilling and Garth Kant
In event that’s being hailed as “the debate of the century,” presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are facing off now in a “fight night” of epic proportions that could change the direction of the race for the White House.
The event, which is being held at Hofstra University just outside New York City, is expected to be the most watched presidential debate in all of history – with viewership predicted to reach more than 100 million. It began at 9 p.m. Eastern and runs commercial free for 90 minutes.
The themes of the debate, chosen by moderator Lester Holt of NBC News, are “America’s Direction,” “Achieving Prosperity” and “Securing America.”
The debate opened with a question on American jobs and “income inequality”: “Why are you a better choice than your opponent to create the kinds of jobs that will put more money into the pockets of Americans?”
“First, we have to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” Clinton said, promising jobs in infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, innovation, technology and small business. She also said the economy must be “fairer” with an increased minimum wage and equal pay.
“I want us to do more to support people who are struggling to balance family and work. … Let’s have paid family leave, earned sick days,” she said, promising free college and to “make the wealthy pay their fair share.”
Trump said: “Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico. They’re going to many other countries.” He said jobs are going to China, which is devaluing its currency and “using our country as a piggy bank” to rebuild itself.
“As far as child care is concerned … I think Hillary and I agree on that. … But we have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States.”
Trump promised to reduce taxed from 35 to 15 percent for small companies.
“Companies will come, they will build, they’ll expand. New companies will start,” he said, adding that he would make smart, fair trade deals and implement a tax system that rewards work.
As far as creating tax incentives, Trump said, “Politicians like Clinton should have been doing this for years.”
As for how he would bring jobs back, Trump said, “The first thing to do is not let them leave. When they do, tax them when they try to sell goods in America.”
The U.S. economy has consistently ranked as the top issue for Americans this election. According to the Pew Research Center, 84 percent of registered voters have said the economy is “very important” to their vote in November. That’s likely because the economy is getting worse, with the country on track for a GDP growth of only one percent in 2016. According to the Wall Street Jounral, the anemic 1.2 percent growth rate in the second quarter of 2016 makes for an annual average rate of 2.1 percent growth since the end of the recession, making it the weakest recovery since the Great depression.
‘Could she be worried?’
The latest Bloomberg poll shows the lead Clinton held nationally in most polls through August has evaporated as concerns about her health, qualifications, scandals and temperament have caught up with her.
According to that national poll, Trump and Clinton are both favored by 46 percent of likely voters. When third-party candidates were included, Trump leads Clinton 43 to 41 percent. More than 70 percent of respondents questioned Clinton’s honesty, saying her “truthfulness” is “just fair” or “poor.” About 60 percent said the same of Trump.
A Quinnipiac poll during the same period had Clinton ahead 47 to 46 percent, but a Los Angeles Times/USC Tracking poll showed Trump with a four-point lead at 46 to 42 percent.
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Clinton’s Twitter feed Monday appeared “a bit manic and paranoid,” noted Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy website, which asked, “Could she be worried?” Clinton tweeted a quote from President Obama as a “reminder heading into tonight’s debate.” The quote stated, “You don’t grade the presidency on a curve.” She tweeted a New York Times quote: “Donald Trump is a man who dwells in bigotry, bluster and false promises.” She added, “Trump can’t win tonight’s debate by lying to the American people.” Clinton even held a last-minute mock debate on Monday, even though the real event was just hours away.
Clinton’s personal guests Monday night included billionaire Mark Cuban, who owns the Dallas Mavericks; Lauren Manning, a woman who was injured in the Sept. 11 terror attacks; Maxine Outerbridge, a single mom who survived domestic violence; Anastasia Somoza, a woman with cerebral palsy who attacked Trump at the Democratic National Convention; and Aleatha Williams, who reportedly was a pen pal with Clinton when Williams was only 8 years old.
At the first presidential debate, billionaire Mark Cuban exits a bus at Hofstra University alongside Jesse Jackson (Photo: Twitter/Jennifer Griffin)
Trump’s guests were Mark Geist, a survivor of the of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya; Bruce LaVell, director of Trump’s National Diversity Coalition; Karen Vaughn, Gold Star mother of fallen Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn; Gen. Mike Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; and Gen. Keith Kellogg, a Trump foreign-policy adviser.
Before the event, Clinton’s camp requested “special treatment for Clinton in the event that Trump tells lies from the debate stage,” the Washington Examiner reported. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said, “All that we’re asking is that, if Donald Trump lies, that it’s pointed out. It’s unfair to ask for Hillary both to play traffic cop while with Trump, make sure that his lies are corrected, and also to present her vision for what she wants to do for the American people.”
When it comes to fact checking, an NBC staffer close to Holt told CNN, “Lester is not going to be a potted plant.”
The debate is likely to include discussion of subjects such as terrorism and national security, jobs, the economy, race relations and immigration.
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Terrorism and national security
Terrorism is a top issue this election season, and 80 percent of registered voters say it is “very important” to their vote in November. Monday’s big debate takes place only 21 miles from the scene of New York City and New Jersey bomb attacks by Muslim terror suspect and Afghan immigrant Ahmad Khan Rahami on Sept. 17 and 18.
The debate happens just three days after Muslim jihadi and Turkey immigrant Arcan Cetin entered a Washington mall and shot five people and only one week after Somali immigrant Dahir Adan allegedly stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall while shouting “Allah” and asking his victims whether they were Muslim.
The U.S. experienced 7,712 terrorist encounters in just one year – from July 20, 2015, to July 20, 2016 – according to a Breitbart report published Monday that cited leaked FBI data. Most of the “Known or Suspected Terrorist Encounters” reportedly occurred near the U.S.-Mexico border. States sharing a border with Mexico such as Texas, California and Arizona, saw the highest numbers of encounters.
Most of the encounters in Arizona involved Islamic known or suspected terrorists, both Sunni and Shiite, according to the report. Eighty-nine encounters were with Sunni Muslims, 56 with Shiite Muslims, 70 with “Other International Terrorist Groups or Affiliates,” and 52 were determined to be individuals linked to “domestic terrorism.”
The big debate takes place amid increasing racial tensions, as riots and protests have plagued Oklahoma and North Carolina in recent days after police shootings of black men. As WND reported, Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer Betty Shelby, who is white, was charged with first-degree manslaughter after she was captured on video shooting Terence Crutcher, a black man who was unarmed. Shelby said she felt “threatened” by Crutcher and believed he was on the drug PCP and had a gun.
In a separate incident in Charlotte, North Carolina, this month, 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, a black man, was shot and killed by a black police officer. Police say Scott had a gun and was ordered to drop it before he was shot. A photo taken by a witness appeared to show a gun on the ground near Scott’s body moments after the shooting. After Scott’s death, riots broke out in Charlotte for at least three nights, and a black protester was fatally shot by another black protester. Rioters also blocked traffic, set fires, looted a Walmart, chucked rocks and bottles at police officers, damaged police patrol cars and rampaged through downtown Charlotte.
Jobs and economy
Trump says his economic plan would create up to 25 million new jobs and a minimum of 3.5 percent growth over the next decade.
Trump says tax reform will stimulate the economy. He wants to “dramatically” reduce income taxes for everyone, simplify the tax code, give tax breaks for child care costs, end the estate tax, and cap business taxes at 15 percent. He wants to scale back regulations that hinder business growth, calling for a “temporary pause on new regulations and a review of previous regulations to see which need to be scrapped.” He wants to repeal the most burdensome regulations.
Trump wants to renegotiate trade deals he believes hurt the U.S. economy, such as NAFTA and the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.
He wants to boost domestic energy production to stimulate the economy, and save the domestic coal industry. He also believes the repeal of Obamacare will help American businesses.
Clinton takes a less laissez-faire and more of a big-government approach to the economy. She wants to increase taxes by at least $ 1 trillion over the next 10 years.
She told the Daily News, “I would spend about $ 100 billion a year. And I think it’s affordable, and I think it’s a smart way to make investments … that will contribute to growing the economy.”
As for the energy industry, she is not exactly pro-growth. In March, she famously remarked, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
On her campaign website, Clinton’s five-point plan promises:
“Hillary will fight to pass a plan in her first 100 days in office to invest in infrastructure, manufacturing, research and technology, clean energy, and small businesses.
“Make debt free college available to all Americans. Hillary will make college debt-free, and she’ll provide relief for Americans with existing debt by allowing them to refinance their student loans.
“Rewrite the rules so that more companies share profits with employees—and fewer ship profits and jobs overseas. Hillary will reward companies that share profits and invest in their workers, and she will raise the minimum wage to a living wage
“Make certain that corporations, the wealthy, and Wall Street pay their fair share. Hillary will pay for her economic priorities and avoid adding to the national debt by ensuring the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations pay their fair share.
“She will fight for equal pay and guarantee paid leave, two changes that are long overdue. And she will provide relief from the rising costs of necessities like child care and housing, while taking steps to provide Americans with greater retirement and health care security.”
Trump’s staunch opposition to illegal immigration when he launched his campaign is the issue that vaulted him to the front of the pack in the GOP primaries. No one was more opposed to illegal immigration, and no policy proved more popular among Republican voters.
His plan has three basic components:
- Build a wall along the border with Mexico.
- End amnesty for illegal immigrants.
- Enforce the existing laws on illegal immigration.
Early in his campaign, Trump did call for a “deportation force” to round up all illegal immigrants. He said, “they have to go,” but the “good ones” would be allowed to return. He has since modified that stance, saying that he now think it is best to figure out how to deal with all the illegal immigrants in the country, once the flow of border-crossers has been stemmed and the problem brought under control.
Trump has also called for a temporary suspension of visas to people coming from regions with a history of exporting terrorism and from areas where it isn’t possible to do adequate background checks.
“When I am elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats,” said the candidate in a speech in June.
This is Trump’s immigration plan outlined plan in great length on his campaign website, along with some excerpts of some of the details.
Clinton’s positions on illegal immigration are, in nearly every respect, the exact opposite of Trump’s.
She is against amnesty and against enforcing the immigration laws on the books, as evidenced by her support of Obama’s executive orders suspending and overruling those laws.
Clinton also wants a 550 percent increase in the number of Syrian refugees admitted into the United States.
In June, she criticized Trump’s proposed pause on immigration from areas where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, saying, “What I won’t do, because I think it is dangerous for our efforts to defeat this threat, is to demonize and demagogue and declare war on an entire religion.”
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Politics – WND