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March 22, 2016

For a brief, shining moment, it appeared that Donald Trump (a) had a conscience and (b) decided to listen to it.

On Tuesday night, Trump almost immediately deleted a tweet he sent to Ted Cruz, in which he threatened to reveal unflattering details about his wife, Heidi.

It seemed as though Trump either realized that Cruz wasn't behind the racy ad in question (that honor goes to Liz Mair, a Republican strategist with the anti-Trump super PAC Make America Awesome) or he figured it was wrong to drag another spouse into the mix. But, as Americans grappled with coming to terms with this nicer, gentler Trump, he sent out another tweet, this one even meaner: He still warned Cruz he would "spill the beans" on his wife, but added a few "Lyin' Ted"s for good measure.

Cruz was quick to respond, telling Trump he had nothing to do with the ad, and then defended his wife, tweeting: "Donald, if you try to attack Heidi, you're more of a coward than I thought. #Classless." These are your top two Republican presidential candidates. Catherine Garcia

6:12 a.m. ET

The first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was on Monday night, and on Monday night's Daily Show, Trevor Noah breathed a sigh of relief. "The waiting is finally over," he said. "After a year of subtweeting each other on the campaign trail," he said, "finally, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went head-to-head." After all the debate prep and head games, the debate lived up to expectations, getting pretty fiery at some points, with Clinton and Trump just shouting over each other. "Welcome to the real-life version of Twitter, people," Noah said. "You know that at that point, Lester Holt wasn't even moderating anymore, he was just eating popcorn with everyone else."

Noah spent most of his instant recap focused on Trump, and some Trump statements really stood out, like when Trump appeared to brag about avoiding taxes, saying paying zero federal income tax "makes me smart." "I'm sorry, what?" Noah said. "Dude, taxes are a responsibility not something to evade. You know, you're running to be the No. 1 citizen of a country, you shouldn't brag about ways you found ways to get around the rules.... You know who else found a way around the rules? O.J. No one likes him."

When it came to race relations, Noah said, "this might have been my favorite part of the evening — it turns out, the only way Donald Trump can truly relate to any issue in America is by whether or not he has a property in that place." After playing a few clips, he said, "Donald Trump relates to America like he's playing a game of Monopoly — 'Yeah, I have that street, I know what it's like there.'"

Finally, Noah pointed to Trump's Achilles heel, "a little thing I like to call Truth Trump." Whenever Trump speaks, Noah explained, "every now and again, Truth Trump comes out — he can't control it." He used as an example Trump saying he doesn't run negative ads "because he's trying to save the money — not because he's a good person," as he should have said. Noah demonstrated by acting out a split personality, Gollum-like: "'Truth Trump, shut up!' 'I can't control it. I need to build a wall in my mind folks!'" He arched an eyebrow at Trump's sniffing, but said "we didn't watch the debate just to make jokes about it. We wanted to do our part to keep the candidates honest." Still, when he asked Senior Campaign Correspondent Roy Wood Jr. to fact-check the debate, things got out of control fast. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:34 a.m. ET

Monday night's presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was a major television event, and "there's pressure to appear to know what's going on, to be informed," Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live. So on Monday afternoon, Kimmel sent a crew out on the street to ask people what they thought about Sunday night's debate. "There's no way any of these people should have an opinion on what happened," Kimmel said, since the interviews were conducted hours before the debate began, "but did that stop them from weighing in? Oh no it did not." As always with Kimmel's "Lie Witness News" segments, it is truly impressive to watch people brazenly discuss fictional events in great detail, but the interviewer's dad-shaming at the end will leave a mark. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:14 a.m. ET

Before Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took the stage at Hofstra University on Monday night, "there was a lot of what seemed like spin about how little Trump was preparing for the debate," Seth Meyers said on Monday's Late Night, "and it turns out, he really didn't." Before the debate, "it seemed like the Trump campaign was setting expectations so low, all he would have to do is stand still for 90 minutes and he would be the winner, but in the days leading up to the debate, they were actually worried that bar may be too high."

If Trump was unprepared for the debate, "as is her style, Hillary was overprepared with one of her patented lukewarm zingers," Meyers said, referring to "trumped-up trickle down." He referenced that again when he compared Clinton to an aunt dancing to Beyoncé at a wedding. But Clinton did have to contend with a "double standard heading into the debate," he added, summarizing pre-debate advice from MSNBC: "Basically, her tasks look like advice you'd give a secretary before a job interview in 1950 — Smile and let them see you're a dynamite gal! — meanwhile, his sounds like advice you'd give a murderer at a parole hearing: They need to believe you won't kill again." Watch below for Meyers' recap of the more standout moments of the debate, including Trump's water-drinking, plea for help from Sean Hannity, and tripping over race relations. Peter Weber

3:22 a.m. ET

The first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was on Monday night, and "the whole point of this debate tonight, the main prize the candidates are vying over, is the elusive undecided voter," Stephen Colbert said on his special live Late Show. "And there are a lot of them," as many as 1 in 5 voters in some polls. "If after all this time, the entire election is going to be decided by these few undecided voters, I wanted to talk to one myself," he said. The one he spoke with was Rob Lowe, portraying undecided Ohio voter Charles Hensen. The two of them go back and forth about the plight of the undecided citizen ballot-casters and the difficult choice they have to make, and by the end, you half expect to see "Magic 8 Ball-Ouija Board 2016!" bumper stickers on 1 in 5 cars tomorrow. Watch Lowe's amiable flip-flopper below. Peter Weber

2:59 a.m. ET

The Late Show went on live Monday night, right after the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and "coming into tonight's debate, Democrats were divided between two strong emotions: panic and pants-crapping," Stephen Colbert said. "Democrats have not been this nervous since Anthony Weiner asked to borrow their phone."

"The expectations for the two sides were very different," Colbert noted. "For Hillary to win, she had to be confident but not smug, knowledgeable without being a know-it-all, charming but not affected, commanding but not shrill, also likable, warm, authoritative, and not coughing. Meanwhile, Donald Trump had to not commit murder — on camera — and that low bar was reflected in Donald Trump's debate prep," which reportedly involved eating burgers and coming up with zingers. "He may not have prepared, but it also looked like he didn't," Colbert said. "Meanwhile, Hillary was so prepared my new nickname for her is Preparation H."

For the next few minutes, Colbert walked thorough some of the debates zestier moments. "For months now, Donald Trump has questioned Hillary's health, repeatedly, and I've gotta say, there was one possible health scare on stage tonight: Trump sounded like he was fighting off a cold, with cocaine," he said. "He sounded like the coked-up best man in the bathroom at a wedding." He touched on substance a little bit, but mostly went for the easy laughs — see Law & Order — with some discussion of the hot topic of fact-checking. "Trump told the biggest lie of the debate," Colbert said, playing a clip of Trump touting his temperament. "Of course, we we'll never know if his temperament is really his strongest asset, because he won't release his tax returns," he said. "In the end, there was really only one word that summed up how this whole debate — this whole election — feels, and Donald Trump captured it." Watch below. Peter Weber

2:12 a.m. ET

Donald Trump came out on top during Monday's debate — at least on Twitter.

Millions of tweets surrounding the debate were made throughout the night, with 62 percent about the Republican nominee and 38 percent about Hillary Clinton, Twitter announced. The most tweeted about moment was when Trump discussed his temperament, and other hot topics were the economy, foreign affairs, guns, terrorism, and the environment. Speaking of which, a 2012 tweet made by Trump about climate change wound up being the most retweeted of the night.

After Clinton said her opponent "thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese," Trump quickly shot back, "I did not. I did not. I do not say that. I do not say that." His Twitter page shows otherwise: On November 6, 2012, he tweeted, "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing jobs non-competitive." Trump said later he was joking, but to avoid future confusion, he might want to consider adding winking emojis and /s to his comedic tweets. Catherine Garcia

2:10 a.m. ET

In the spin room after his debate with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump told several reporters that all the online polls say he won the debate. He did not mention the professional snap poll conducted by CNN that showed Clinton winning the debate, 62 percent to 27 percent, and if that poll should be viewed with the caveat that it skewed slightly Democratic, the online polls should be taken with a Trump-sized grain of salt. First, the Trump-friendly headline aggregator Drudge Report which has its own online poll (spoiler: Trump is winning handily) and doesn't mention CNN's poll — directs its readers to two online polls, where Trump is winning by smaller margins. Trump also has the help of an informal army of online supporters at Reddit who are directing one another to all online polls they can find.

Every campaign wants to claim victory as soon as possible after a debate, with the hopes that the public will buy into that claim — Clinton's team also declared the night a win for Hillary. Still, if you're on the fence about who actually "won" the first debate, you could do worse that watching GOP pollster Frank Luntz's focus group of undecided voters for CBS News. The group, in Philadelphia, broke for Clinton 16 to 5, a "bigger than almost any debate I've done in a long time," Luntz said. "This is a good night for Hillary Clinton, it is not a good night for Donald Trump," he concluded, "but there is still time and there are still undecided voters." And, he didn't have to add, two more debates. Peter Weber

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