A flurry of insults and accusations were tossed between the two leading candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the second US Presidential debate.
Hosted at Washington University in St Louis, audience members and co-moderators, Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC directed a number questions at the candidates.
Republican candidate Donald Trump and his campaign suffered a major blow just 48 hours prior to the debate following the release of a video by The Washington Post from 2005 in which he made a number of lewd and derogatory comments about women.
Since the release of the video the list of Republicans pulling support for the outspoken candidate continues to grow.
Despite openly expressing disappointment in Trump’s comments his running mate Mike Pence has stuck with him and congratulated Trump on Twitter shortly after the debate.
Co-moderator Martha Raddatz pointed out to Donald Trump during the debate the tape had become the single most talked about story of the entire 2016 election on Facebook.
When he was questioned about the comments he made in 2005 by Anderson Cooper, Trump’s response was doused with comments about Isis.
Cooper told Trump, “We received a lot of questions online Mr Trump about the tape that was released on Friday. You called what you said Locker Room banter you described kissing women without consent and grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault, you bragged that you have sexually assaulted women, do you understand that?”
Trump responded, “No I didn’t say that at all I don’t think you understood what was said this was locker room talk I’m not proud of it. I apologise to my family, I apologise to the American People, I'm not proud of it but this is locker room talk. You know when we have a world where you have Isis chopping off heads and frankly drowning people in steel cages where you have wars and horrible horrible sights all over.”
When pushed further to answer whether he had actually done any of the things he mentioned in the video, Trump eventually responded, “No I have not.”
His opponent quickly leapt on the issue and Hillary Clinton responded by linking his thoughts about women to a number of other contentious comments he has made previously.
Clinton said, “What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women, what he thinks about women what he does to women and he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is, but I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that that’s exactly what he is because we’ve seen this throughout the campaign. We have seen him insult women, we have seen him rate women on their appearance ranking them from 1-10 we’ve seen him embarrass women on tv and twitter.”
Prior to the debate in what seemed to be an effort to counter attack an awareness the tape would be a major point of discussion, Trump went live on his Facebook page with 3 women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault and another who had accused Hillary Clinton of degrading her.
Trump, as predicted raised the issues regarding Bill Clinton as he was pressed more about the tape recording of his conversation with Billy Bush,.
Trump said, “If you look at Bill Clinton far worse, mine are words and his was action, what he has done to women, there has never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women. So you can say it anyway what you wanna say it but Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously, four of them here tonight.”
Clinton responded by saying, “He gets to run his campaign anyway he chooses, he gets to decide what he wants to talk about instead of answering peoples questions laying out the agenda laying out the plans that we have that we think can make a better life and a better country. That’s his choice. When I hear something like that I am reminded of what my friend Michelle Obama advised us all, when they go low, you go high.”
Other issues discussed by the candidates throughout the debate included the economy, national security, the Syrian crisis and the country’s stance on refugees as well as the environment, healthcare and race relations.
In a somewhat humorous final question for the audience, both candidates were asked to name something they "respect" about the other.
Clinton outlined she admired Trump for his children and the relationship he obviously has with them while Trump outlined that he admired Clinton for being a strong woman and a fighter.
Before the debate ended Clinton herself admitted she believed the election campaign had been one of the most "conflict oriented" and most "intense."
Polls following the debate indicated the second debate was won by Clinton. However, polls also showed that voters believed Trump had done a better job in the second debate than he did in the first.
The third and final debate is set to take place on the 20th of October (NZTIME) at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.