US election: Trump, Clinton trade insults in nasty debate

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Donald Trump dismissed his predatory remarks
about groping women as “locker room talk,”
and
took a swipe at Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill over
past sexual misconduct in a fiery second US
presidential debate on Sunday.
The Democrat Hillary Clinton, facing a deeply
wounded candidate with one month to go before
Election Day, pushed back by saying Trump’s lewd
comments, caught on a hot mic, merely showed
his true self.
With tens of millions of Americans tuning in for the
televised showdown, the Republican nominee may
have been expected to show contrition as he seeks
to move beyond the crisis triggered by the tape’s
release.
Instead Trump levelled a blunt attack at former
president Clinton — present in the audience —
asserting that he has a history of abusing women,
and inviting several of his accusers to attend the
debate.
“If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse,” Trump
insisted. “Mine are words, his was action,” he
said, claiming that there has “never been anybody
in the history of politics in this nation that’s been
so abusive to women.”
Clinton refused to take the bait, saying she took
the advice that “when they go low, you go high.”

In the tense opening minutes of the showdown,
Trump also clashed with Clinton on her private use
of emails while secretary of state, warning that if
he becomes president he will order the Justice
Department to launch a special investigation into
the issue.
When Clinton responded that it was “awfully good”
that someone with Trump’s temperament was not
leading the nation, he shot back: “Because you’d
be in jail.”
Trump is facing a make-or-break moment after his
lewd boasts, which he made in 2005 and which
became public Friday, brought sweeping
condemnation from within his own party and calls
for him to step aside.
Pressed by the debate moderator who asserted
that he had bragged of sexually assaulting women,
the billionaire Republican lashed out:
“Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker
room talk.”
Trump’s Democratic rival fired back that he has
spent much of his presidential campaign
denigrating women and minorities.
“This is who Donald Trump is, and the question for
us, the question our country must answer is that
this is not who we are,” she said.
– ‘Desperation’ –
With his campaign in chaos, Trump has stepped
up his attacks on former president Clinton,
asserting that he has a history of abusing women.
In an extraordinary step, Trump convened a press
event just moments before the debate that
included several women who accuse him of sexual
harassment and rape.
Introduced by Trump as “very courageous
women,” his invited speakers included Paula
Jones, a former government employee in Arkansas
who sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment, and
Juanita Broaddrick, also of Arkansas, who claims
that Clinton raped her in 1978.
The debate came at perhaps the most pivotal
moment of the 2016 presidential race, with Trump
needing a dramatic boost if he is to claw back
ground against Clinton, who has surged in the
polls since their first debate on September 26.
Clinton’s campaign has dismissed Trump’s
sensational targeting of Bill Clinton as an “act of
desperation.”
“Republicans are leaving you,” Clinton told him on
the debate stage, saying his campaign was
“exploding.”

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