Drunkblogging the First Trump-Hillary Debate

Here we go.

You don't need anyone to hold your hand through the intro, telling you what to expect, handicapping the candidates' performances, pre-spinning the spin, or any of the commentariat's traditional time-wasting exercises in the days and hours before a presidential debate.

All you need is a sharp eye, a willingness to pay attention, an intact sense of humor, and -- not unique to this stranger-than-strange election year -- an almost superhuman endurance for artifice and awfulness.

Oh, and a cocktail might be nice.

We're less than half an hour out, and I'm warming up on Twitter -- like this guy.

I get the feeling the Trump and Clinton camps must be thinking the same thing: So many wasted opportunities.

Trump's schtick worked better in the multi candidate debates during the primaries, where the questions were spread around enough that his lack of preparation didn't show so much. Clinton was able to come on strong in the final third, which is a travesty because she won on foreign policy -- her Achilles heel!

People who stuck around for only the first half probably thought Trump was the winner. If you stuck around for the entire thing, you're more likely to call it a draw or a Clinton win. Clinton will undoubtedly come out head in the extended analysis later in the week, but sane people -- i.e., people not writing or talking about politics for a living -- don't care about that.

So my second final thought is that nobody scored any knockout blows, so just expect the expected people to say all the expected things tonight and tomorrow.

My final thought is this.

If you were frustrated by Romney and McCain failing to take the fight to Obama in their debates, you should be almost as frustrated by how Trump tried but all-too-often failed to take the fight to Clinton tonight. A little debate prep would have served him well.

The next debate is October 9. I get the feeling it will prove less frustrating for one side or the other -- just don't ask me which.

That's good for Trump, who was at his best in the first 45-60 minutes.

Turnaround at the end: "If she wins, I will absolutely support it."

Final question: Will you support the outcome of the election?

Clinton finishing strong, Trump hedging.

It was a crap question, but it came at the end of a not-so-good half hour for Trump.

"This country can't afford another four years of that experience."

Trump's strong point.

Followed by Clinton hitting Trump on the things he's said about women.

It's sad to say, but that's one of Clinton's strong points.

You expected anything else?

This is why the GOP candidate has got to deliver, and Trump only delivered in the first half.

Sweet, merciful drink.

Clinton killing it right now on non-proliferation.

Which is ironic, because her former boss, Barack Obama, is the one who killed and buried it.

Again, if Trump were more in command of the facts, he would be slamming her on it instead of the other way around.

"I know how to win."

Trump isn't doing a great job of it in the last 15 minutes, but Bruce is right -- Clinton isn't very good at this, either.

The only time NATO's Article 5 for mutual defense has been invoked was in *our* defense after 9/11.