Trump Owned Clinton in the Debate Over Trade

Analysis: He started the night strong on this topic
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2016 3:03 AM CDT
Trump Owned Clinton in the Debate Over Trade
Donald Trump makes a point during Monday's debate.   (Joe Raedle/Pool via AP)

Generally speaking, pundits think Hillary Clinton came away as the overall winner in Monday night's debate. But at Slate, Jordan Weissmann writes that the night didn't start out that way at all: The first question was on trade, and Trump "absolutely savaged" a seemingly ill-prepared Clinton on the topic. Among other things, he noted that she now supports the Trans Pacific Partnership, a pact she lauded as the "gold standard" while secretary of state. Clinton tried to dodge: "I was against it once it was finally negotiated and the terms were laid out," she said. But fact-checker PolitiFact looks at her original "gold standard" statement in 2012 and sides with Trump here. Trump also bashed NAFTA, signed by Bill Clinton, as perhaps the worst trade deal ever and said Hillary Clinton's policies have cost America jobs for decades.

"You’ve been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now?" When Clinton interjected, he said, "I will bring back jobs. You can’t bring back jobs." Right-wing Breitbart News highlights the exchange with a headline saying Trump "bludgeoned" her on the topic, but the sentiment is on the left, too: Progressive Cenk Uygur tweeted, "Trump scores on "you haven't done it in 30 years" and NAFTA and TPP. She's losing right now." (Real Clear Politics has a transcript of the exchange.) She seemed flat-footed, writes Weissmann, who suggests a new approach for the Clinton camp, one that involves painting Trump as more concerned about the elite than the middle class: "How can you can trust a man who runs his business that way, by stepping on small businesses." (More Donald Trump 2016 stories.)

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