The second 2016 presidential debate
October 10, 2016

Had a plan devised by Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chief executive Stephen Bannon gone through, four women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct would have been seated in Trump's family box during Sunday night's presidential debate.

The Washington Post spoke with four people involved with discussions for the scheme, who said it was thought up by Bannon and Ivanka Trump's husband, with the personal approval of Donald Trump. Many of Trump's top aides were unaware of the setup, but officials from the Commission on Presidential Debates found out before the debate started and put the kibosh on it, warning that if Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and Kathy Shelton sat in the box, security would remove them. "We had it all set," Trump surrogate and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani told the Post. "We wanted to have them shake hands with Bill, to see if Bill would shake hands with them." Clinton has long denied the allegations made against him by the women.

Giuliani said Bannon only backed down three minutes before the debate started, and the women were seated in the general audience. One of the chairmen of the debate commission, former Republican National Committee chairman Frank J. Fahrenkopf, issued the warning to Trump's campaign, and after the debate, Giuliani complained about him, saying it was unfair that during the first debate, billionaire and Clinton surrogate Mark Cuban sat in the front row. "The women were outraged," Giuliani told the Post. "They were in the holding room and ready to go. No one was pushing them. They volunteered." Catherine Garcia

October 10, 2016

The second presidential debate is turning out to be much harder to call a winner in than the first. Republican pollster Frank Luntz, for one, has named Donald Trump the unequivocal winner of the debate based on the results from his focus group: "I may have made a mistake in writing off Trump. After talking with voters tonight, he's back in this race," Luntz tweeted. Many other early polls showed Hillary Clinton as the winner, including CNN/ORC, which named her the victor 57 percent to Trump's 34 percent.

Interestingly, a YouGov poll, which sampled 812 registered voters, showed a distinct gender gap in its results. Women thought Clinton won the debate with a margin of 50 percent to 38 percent, while men thought Trump was the winner 46 percent to 43 percent.

A significant portion of the debate focused on the release of audio from 11 years ago that caught Trump engaging in a lewd conversation about his pursuit of women. Trump dismissed his comments as "locker room talk," and hit Clinton over accusations of her husband's own alleged sexual misconduct.

Overall, YouGov showed Clinton as the winner of the debate, 47 percent to 42 percent. The margin of error in the poll is plus or minus 3.9 percent. Jeva Lange

October 10, 2016

Donald Trump had one very vocal supporter Sunday night: Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party.

After the debate, Farage told Sky News he saw Trump as a "big silverback gorilla" who was "prowling the studio." The reporter asked Farage if he felt Trump was being too aggressive, but he said no, "what you saw tonight is the way he is. He took control. He dominated Hillary Clinton. She was very much on the back foot all evening. He even dominated the presenters."

Farage said Trump had a "horrendous" and "embarrassing" 48 hours, and went into the debate "absolutely needing a good performance." Although the beginning was "excruciating," Farage believes Trump "came out of this very well," and left the St. Louis venue "a happy man." It was also a great night for viewers at home, with Farage calling the debate "a very good television spectacle." Catherine Garcia

October 10, 2016

Looking to woo undecided voters, Donald Trump likely came into Sunday night's debate with a long to-do list, including but not limited to: Don't offend or insult women, try to appeal to Bernie Sanders fans, and refrain from saying something that causes an audience member to raise her eyebrows, bug her eyes out, and roll her neck.

He didn't succeed. The debate's audience was comprised of undecided voters, and about halfway through the event, Trump accused Hillary Clinton of running a dirty campaign, essentially stealing the primary from Sanders. The senator from Vermont has endorsed Clinton, and Trump remarked, "I was surprised to see him sign up with the devil." That caused a roller coaster of emotions for one woman in the audience, who went from confused to surprised to "oh no you didn't" in just a few moments. Imagine if she ever found herself listening to his talk in the locker room. Catherine Garcia

October 9, 2016

Clearly incensed, Jesse Lehrich, Hillary Clinton's foreign policy spokesperson, let loose on Twitter Sunday night, blasting Donald Trump for his claim that if he were president, Capt. Humayan Khan would still be alive.

Khan was killed while serving in Iraq, and his parents entered the spotlight over the summer when they appeared at the Democratic National Convention; Trump was criticized for attacking the family, asking if they even wrote their speech and why Khan's mother barely spoke. After Trump made his boast Sunday, Lehrich tweeted, "Hey, @realDonaldTrump — regarding your claim that Captain Khan would be alive if you were president: go f—k yourself." Not longer after, Lehrich followed up with another tweet, saying, "I want to apologize for the clearly inappropriate nature and language of this personal tweet. Sorry all."

The Khan family also released a statement saying they are well aware Capt. Khan is "an American hero. We also know that Donald Trump is not telling the truth when he says he is was against the Iraq War. Our son served this country with honor and distinction, and gave the ultimate sacrifice. The only thing that Donald Trump sacrifices is the truth." Catherine Garcia

October 9, 2016

With just one word, Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, got rumors going that she might be walking away from her embattled candidate.

During an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews following the debate, Conway was asked if she would stay with Trump "until the last dog dies." A coy Conway responded, "You need to fact check before you start running these screaming headlines, 'She resigned.' I was making pancakes for my kids, I've been in debate prep. Obviously I've been in debate prep, did you see that kick ass performance tonight? Woo!" Matthews pressed her, asking, "So, you're with the campaign until the bitter end?"

"I'm with the campaign til the bitter end, unless…" she responded, trailing off. She continued, "I'm sitting here as his campaign manager, I'm sitting right here with you in the debate hall, where he just performed beautifully." Matthews asked Conway if she was afraid of more bombshells like the leak Friday of a vulgar conversation between Trump and Billy Bush, but Conway said no, and she's "made a commitment and I believe he will be a much better president" than Hillary Clinton. After the interview, several MSNBC personalities, including Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd, jumped on her comment, wondering if it was Conway dropping a hint that she might not stick around with Trump much longer. Since she was still onstage with Matthews, Conway agreed to answer some follow-up questions, and said the only way she would leave the campaign is if "someone in my household needs me or something changes in my own life." Catherine Garcia

October 9, 2016

The final question of the second presidential debate probably wasn't covered in Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump's preparations. "My question to both of you is, regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?" audience member Carl Becker asked.

Many viewers applauded the question, perhaps in part because it followed a tense hour and a half of interruptions, insults, and dirty digs.

Clinton answered first. "I respect his children," she said. "His children are incredibly able and devoted and I think that says a lot about Donald."

Perhaps even more surprising, Trump had an answer, too. "I will say this about Hillary. She doesn't quit. She doesn't give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She's a fighter," he said.

Carl Becker for president, indeed. Watch the video, below. Jeva Lange

October 9, 2016

Over the course of two minutes during Sunday night's presidential debate, Donald Trump declared his love for Twitter, denied posting a tweet that's still on his page, and said Hillary Clinton has "hate in her heart."

Trump said the United States is a "very divided nation," and it's all because of "people like her. Believe me, she has tremendous hate in her heart." Moments earlier, Clinton said her problem is with Trump, not his voters, but Trump declared, "When she said 'deplorables,' she meant it. … This country cannot take another four years of Barack Obama, and that's what you're getting with her."

As a follow-up question, moderator Anderson Cooper said in one of his books, Trump said the most important characteristic of a good leader is "discipline," yet in the days after the first debate, he was tweeting up a storm from 3 to 6 a.m., at one point even telling people to look at a sex tape. Trump denied it (here's the tweet), and defended his use of Twitter. "Tweeting happens to be a modern day form of communication," he said. "You can like it or not like it." People are welcome to "put it down," he added, but it's an "effective form of communication. I'm not unproud of it." Catherine Garcia

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