Forget everything you read or heard about Lester Holt being a Republican. After Matt Lauer dared to ask Hillary Clinton a couple of very fair questions at the Commander-in-Chief Forum and was savaged by the likes of WaPo, The New York Times and MSNBC, Lester Holt made sure that he didn’t end up being the story in the MSM tomorrow.
The first part of the debate was actually all right for Holt, but the wheels flew off when they got to how each candidate would handle healing the racial divide in the U.S. Holt went for the birther issue with Trump, which isn’t off the table but has very little relevance to what faces our next president. Had Hillary brought it up it would have been fine. For Holt to interject it during what was supposed to be a substantive discussion on race relations made it seem as if he were being fed questions directly from Clinton HQ.
Holt then hit Trump with a question about him saying that Hillary didn’t have a presidential “look,” which obviously just served as a platform for Hillary to call Trump a sexist. It was George- Stephanopoulos-are-you-going-to-ban-contraception bad.
His final question asked the candidates if they would both accept the will of the voters in November, which is the kind of thing one might find precocious and adorable if asked by a third grader but was groan-worthy coming from a grown man.
The number of vulnerable areas he pressed Hillary about was zero so I can’t give you any examples of those.
Having said all that, Trump still could have done much better. He seemed like he was trying to cover ALL the ground with every answer. That meandering took away a lot of his bite. He would have been better off picking three or four really vulnerable areas (emails, Benghazi, etc.) and hammering away at those until she became irritated and imperious, as she always does. I know the press loves to talk about him being easily provoked, but she may still have the thinnest skin in this election. He wouldn’t have to push her buttons too many times to get her into the “We are not amused…” zone.
Her lack of spontaneity actually helped tonight. She was able to simply keep delivering stiff, canned talking points. Most were inane, to be sure, but it made her seem better prepared. Still, I think she babbles a lot. Of course, every time I mentioned that on Twitter, her defenders jumped in to tell me how wonderful she sounded, so the Kool-Aid is still strong over there.
The media will be filled with stories about how marvelous Her Glorious Madameship was tonight until the next debate, but they also spent all of August telling us this thing was over. Everything she hit him with tonight is all she’ll have to hit him with again, but there is plenty that was left untouched as far as available lines of attack for him. He’s got a shot in the next debate if he can channel his inner pit bull and sink his teeth into just a few things.
Overall, the performances by both candidates and the moderator were so awful this was my immediate reaction when the “Who won?” questions began on Twitter:
Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin. https://t.co/IJCNFOuWck
— SFK (@stephenkruiser) September 27, 2016
I think I was joking. Get back to me on that.