SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- On Monday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump squared off for the first of their presidential debates. Within moments of their introductions, gloves came off, backs arched and feathers ruffled. Bennington Vale Evening Transcript staffers covered the debate live on Twitter from the sports bar at Piers Addleson’s Pea House. Highlights, revelations and surprises from the event follow. Special thanks to Piers and Astrid Addleson for reserving space in the bar at the last minute for our reporters, who were aggressively denied press passes to the venue.
The clash of candidates was a spectacular display of fireworks compared to past debates. The 2012 contest between incumbent President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney was perhaps the least exciting 90 minutes of television since Helen Keller’s “What’s My Line” appearance. Last night’s intriguing tête-à-tête, however, recalled some of the grandeur of 2011’s rhetorical circus, when Herman Cain wowed the crowd by referencing his two muses: pizza and Donna Summer.
Overall, each candidate rose to expectations. Mrs. Clinton attempted an articulate and reasoned response, but Mr. Trump found ways to dispatch her reliance on mostly facts with efficiency. After several bizarre moments of sniffling and uneven, sometimes conflicting, responses, Mr. Trump ultimately blamed his microphone for his eccentric performance. Trump’s campaign managers contended that Chinese spies may have rigged the feed and supplanted his answers with foreign propaganda designed to impugn him.
Debate HighlightsIn Trump’s opening salvo, he blasted the effect that foreign economies such as China and Mexico are having on U.S. labor markets. Rather than emphasize again the creation of a wall, he doubled down with: “We need to ban Chinese food, especially since I saw Mexicans cooking it at my favorite restaurant.”
Later, in a surreal turn, Trump blasted the poor conditions of our nation’s airports while praising the “beautiful” and “incredible” modernity of sky harbors in China and Dubai. This perhaps speaks to Trump’s unrealized prowess as a foreign policy aficionado. While at home, he champions a dangerously jingoistic sense of WWII-era German nationalism. Abroad, Trump praises the heightened sense of industry among his enemies, vacationing in Islamic countries and sporting ties manufactured in Chinese sweatshops.
When Trump referenced his proposed policies for taxes and economic growth, Mrs. Clinton retorted with an attempt at levity, describing the plan as “trumped-up-trickle down.” Failing to elicit the response she wanted, Clinton performed the routine frequently throughout the debate like a broken record.
Clinton, leaning away from the microphone but still audible: “I’m going to keep saying Trumped Up Trickle Down until someone f**king laughs, goddamnit.”
Part of Trump’s erratic delivery, analysts say, came from his attempt to stick with the script his campaign had prepared. Trump regularly stumbled over the word “compatriots.” His advisers had told him to start using that instead of “comrades.”
Trump’s allusions to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) were often misheard and misinterpreted. As one Bennington Vale correspondent asked: “Did Trump just say he was endorsed by ISIS? Hard to hear over all the post-coke sniffing.”
Clinton also offered statements prone to confusion. Our reporter again sought clarification: “Taking out Baghdaddy? Wasn’t that one of those swing revival bands from the 90s?”
Both candidates lamented the state of race relations in the country. Trump countered Clinton by saying: “Look, the African-American community has been let down by our politicians. They talk good around election time, like right now, and after the election, they said, see ya later, I'll see you in four years.”
Apparently, Mr. Trump believes politicians like our black president have done nothing to help the black community. That’s why we need a white president.
Trump, endorsing the NRA, followed with a statement about armed criminals: “We need to take their guns.” Awkward silence ensued for many moments, broken only by Trump’s renewed sniffles and the leathery sound of Mrs. Clinton’s spastic, fluttering eyelashes -- like two fruit bats flapping majestically through the trees of an Indian grove at twilight.
At the conclusion of the debate, a confident Hillary Clinton descended from the stage and took Lester Holt’s hand in thanks. Trump wandered off hurriedly, nearly forgetting to shake hands with the “black man asking the questions,” as his handlers had constantly reminded him to.
Fact CheckingMrs. Clinton referenced Trump’s 2006 comment about cheering on economic collapse so he could buy property on the cheap. Trump called it the cost of doing business.
TRUE: In fact, catastrophic economic collapse is the cost of doing business. See Diocletian in ancient Rome, Tulipmania in the Netherlands and the U.S. Confederacy.
Mr. Trump refuted Mrs. Clinton’s accusation that he called global warming a hoax.
TRUE: Trump never called global warming a hoax. Except for that time in 2014 when he called it a HOAX.
Despite Clinton dredging up mentions of lawsuits and Justice Department investigations against Trump’s discriminatory hiring practices, Mr. Trump argued that his administration will be devoted to protecting diverse workers.
TRUE: Minorities are vital to the running of Trump’s hotel kitchens, custodial services and other low wage roles. He is the Oskar Schindler of the hospitality industry.
Trump called nuclear armament a bigger threat than global warming.
TRUE and FALSE: A nuclear war, scientists explain, would certainly accelerate global warming.
Again on the topic of nuclear threats, Trump referenced Russia’s growing superiority over the West in developing more powerful and modern warheads.
TRUE: Putin personally toured Trump around the silos and showed off the new missiles at a dinner party the night before.
Staving off attacks about his past legal problems, Mr. Trump reminded Mrs. Clinton that he settled all his cases out of court, with no admission of guilt.
TRUE: Settling a case out of court with no admission of guilt is sort of the point of settling. Ask Michael Jackson.
Trump agreed to release his tax returns if Mrs. Clinton would provide copies of the 33,000 emails she stored on her personal server, implying that she had deleted them.
FALSE: Julian Assange has the documents and is scheduling the release of Clinton’s 33,000 emails presently.
Hillary Clinton claimed that she was against the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the deal was fully negotiated, with the final terms laid out.
FALSE: Clinton came to oppose the TPP after she realized that her relationship to NAFTA, a similarly disastrous trade agreement, would make her support of the next iteration problematic, hindering her chances of securing the election.
Trump repeatedly described large sums of money as trivial, citing a $14 million loan from his father to start a business. Later, he also made light of a $650 million investment as “not that much” to business leaders.
TRUE: In Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cosmopolitan areas, a few million dollars barely pays rent and utilities on a crappy two-bedroom apartment built in the 70s.
Trump criticized NAFTA as the worst trade deal ever.
FALSE: Sending U.S. arms and resources to Sandinistas, the Taliban, the bin Laden family and rebels who would one day create ISIS rank as far worse trade deals -- followed closely behind by the Rams’ decision to trade Jerome Bettis to the Steelers in 1996.
Hillary Clinton, in defending her husband’s legacy of accomplishments in office, said: “Manufacturing jobs went up also in the 1990s, if we’re actually going to look at the facts.”
TRUE and FALSE: True, President Bill Clinton masterfully led a thriving economic boom. False, very few people are “actually going to look at the facts” this election season.
Several talking points came from conversations about NATO. Mrs. Clinton said: “We’re working with NATO, the longest military alliance in the history of the world, to really turn our attention to terrorism.”
FALSE: Some academics argue that the Holy Roman Empire was the longest serving military alliance in history, with a more impressive record of conquest, suppression, overall empire expansion and enforcement of Christianity over societies of dissenting faiths.
Mr. Trump said of NATO: “Number one, the 28 countries of NATO, many of them aren’t paying their fair share. Number two -- and that bothers me, because we should be asking -- we’re defending them, and they should at least be paying us what they’re supposed to be paying by treaty and contract.”
TRUE and FALSE: There are, in fact, 28 countries in NATO. Trump manages to provide his first verifiable fact in the debate. However, the idea that we should be forcing NATO to pay us protection money (you know, in case some unfortunate accident were to befall a member nation or three) is an attitude grounded too deeply in a Bronx-mob-enforcer mindset. This demonstrates Trump’s inability to grasp the nature of the alliance.
Trump described his biggest strength as a potential leader by touting his temperament.
TRUE: In an era of rampant terrorism, multiple conflicts abroad, civil unrest and crime, we need a rash, fiery decider who’s not afraid to push the button and end it all, ushering in our exodus from this horrible existence and paving the path to Paradise.
(c) 2016. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. All articles are works of satire. See disclaimers.