Donald Trump lost his cool at times against Hillary Clinton in Monday night's debate
Trump hit Clinton on emails and TPP but didn't follow up effectively
Hillary Clinton stepped onto the debate stage Monday night determined to show that only one candidate is ready to be president.
Clinton poked, prodded and quoted Trump’s own words, goading the famously thin-skinned Republican nominee. Trump took the bait, repeatedly interrupting angrily or dismissively throughout the night.
He couldn’t resist attacks, even when it was obvious they would backfire – such as his criticism of Clinton for dropping off the campaign trail ahead of the debate to prepare.
“Yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for?” Clinton shot back. “I prepared to be president.”
Here are six takeaways from the first presidential debate:
Trump takes the bait
Trump is the self-proclaimed counterpuncher, but it was Clinton whose restraint was on display: She waited for Trump to create an opening before she pounced.
She let moderator Lester Holt grill Trump about his refusal to release tax returns before delivering her own withering assessment of his insistence that a “routine audit” be completed first.
“Maybe he is not as rich as he says he is,” Clinton said. “Maybe he is not as charitable as he claims to be… Maybe he doesn’t want the American people to know that he has paid nothing in federal taxes.”
“There is something he is hiding,” she said.
Trump lost his cool – at a cost. He came close to admitting that he didn’t pay federal taxes, saying that “makes me smart” and that the money “would be squandered” anyway.
At another point, he insisted his refusal to pay contractors who’d done work for his businesses was smart.
“I’m certainly relieved that my late father never did business with you,” Clinton said.
Trump, meanwhile, paid the price for his decision to wing it.