Plenty of suspense… here are nine takeaway moments from the final instalment of Clinton v Trump
Fight night in Las Vegas and the final round of the Clinton versus Trump debates didn’t disappoint.
Both sides landed blows but Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting election results is sure to spark a debate all of its own.
For her part Hillary Clinton faced more questions about her emails and the work of the Clinton Foundation.
For those who didn’t stay up late, here are nine takeaways from Independent.ie’s Political Editor Kevin Doyle:
The standout moment of ‘suspense’… even the Emmys are rigged
Every debate has a moment of suspense and this was it in every sense of the word. In a statement that is likely to be the next big talking point of the election, Trump said he would not necessarily accept the outcome of the vote on November 8.
He continued to claim that the election is rigged with millions on the register who shouldn’t be there and he alleged the media is “corrupt” and has “poisoned the minds of the voters”.
Pressed repeatedly on whether he would accept Clinton as President if people vote that way, he replied: “I’ll look at it at the time.”
"I'll keep you in suspense, okay?" Trump told moderator Chris Wallace.
Clinton responded: “That’s horrifying.” She went on to roll out a list of other things Trump has claimed were rigged in the past.
“Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him...,” he said, referring to the FBI investigation into her email, the Republican primaries and the court system.
“There was even a time when he didn't get an Emmy for his TV programme three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged,” Clinton said.
Trump responded: "Should have gotten it."
- Read more: Donald Trump outperformed Hilary Clinton in one aspect of the debate: Twitter conversation
Putin wants a puppet for a President
Clinton didn’t come up with this one off the top of her head but it was probably one of her strongest lines of the night.
Under pressure from Trump over her immigration policy, she shifted the debate completely off topic to argue that speeches she made about open borders were given to Wikileaks by Russia.
The Democrat said it was an “unprecedented situation” that was encouraged by her opponent and called on him to condemn foreign “espionage” and “cyber attacks” from “the highest levels in the Kremlin”.
In response Trump said he doesn’t know Vladamir Putin – but added that it would be a good thing if the United States and Russia got along.
“She doesn’t like Putin because Putin has out-smarted her in every way,” he said, adding that the Russian President doesn’t respect her or Barack Obama.
She swung back: “That’s because he’d rather a puppet for a president.”
Both have tried Enda Kenny’s old debating trick of ‘I met a woman…’
It seems the two candidates have met very different kinds of immigrants. Trump brought four mothers to the debate whose children had been “brutally killed by people who came into the country illegally”. Clinton met a girl who was born in the US but whose parents could face deportation under Trump’s plan. “I don’t want to rip families apart,” she said.
She went on to claim that Trump idea could see 15 million pushed out of the country. She said he wants a massive law enforcement presence going school to school, home to home, business to business rounding up people and putting them on trains and buses to get them out of our country. “It’s an idea that would rip our country apart,” she said.
For his part Trump claimed: “We have no country if we have no border.” He said drugs were pouring across America’s southern border. “Right now we’re getting the drugs, they are getting the cash. We need the wall,” he said.
Trump doesn’t like ‘bad hombres’ and ‘nasty women’
Two of notable quotes from Trump involved “bad hombres” and “nasty women”.
Early in the debate as both sides traded blows over immigration, Trump said he would clampdown on criminal immigrants.
“We have some bad hombres here and we’re gonna get them out,” he said.
Later he called Clinton “such a nasty woman” after she suggested he would find away of avoid taxes on the wealthy that her campaign plan to introduce.
Clinton could get a job writing listicles
It’s clear the Clinton campaign has been working on a lot of lists. When Trump said that the one thing she has over him is “bad experience”, she was armed with one such list.
She said in the 1970s, she was taking on racial discrimination while Trump was being sued for racial discrimination. In the 1980s, she was trying to improve education, he borrowed $14m from his father. In the 1990s, she was in Bejing saying that “women's rights are human rights", he was calling Miss Universe an “eating machine”. And she claimed that while she was in the situation room monitoring the capture of Osama Bin Laden he was hosting Celebrity Apprentice.
At another stage she listed out the people he has insulted during the campaign including women, a disabled report, the family of a dead solider and a federal judge. She said he was a “pattern of divisiveness”, adding he has “a very dark and dangerous vision of our country”.
He said: “If you become president, this country will be some mess. Believe me.”
Guns and abortion
On domestic law these were the two big issues to split the candidates. Trump unashamedly backs the second amendment and the right to bear arms. He attempted to paint her as “extremely angry and extremely upset” about a case which maintained the status quo on guns. He claimed Chicago has more violence than any other city even though it has stricter gun laws than most of America.
Clinton attempted to put forward a middle-ground with “responsible regulation”. She said there should be “no conflict between saving people’s lives and respecting the second amendment”. “I was upset because dozens of toddlers injure themselves,” she added.
On abortion, Trump said he would appoint pro-life judges. He used graphic language to claim she wanted a situation that would allow doctors to “rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth”.
Clinton said the constitution should guarantee the rights of women to make “the most intimate decision” about her health.
Trump’s women problems
Trump claimed that the “sleazy” Clinton team had incited violence at some of his campaign rallies and prompted women to make allegations of sexual assault against him.
He said he didn’t even apologise to his wife in the wake of the recent controversy because “I didn’t do anything”. Of the nine women who have gone public with claims against him, he said: “I think they either want fame or her campaign did it. I believe she got these people to step forward. It was lies and it was fiction. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”
Clinton sought to use his own words against him, describing “a number of big rallies” where he said he “could not possibly have done those things to women because they were not attractive enough”.
“Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger,” she said.
Economy and Foreign Policy
In any normal debate these would have been the two big features but they only got a brief look in.
Clinton attacked his plan for “triple down economics on steroids” that would “probably lead to another great recession”. She claimed he has shifted jobs to 12 countries including Mexico and built the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas with Chinese steel.
Trump said her plan would double taxes. “Jobs are being sucked out of our economy,” he said, asking why she hasn’t done any of the things she talks about over the past 30 years.
“I started with a $1m loan but I built a phenomenal business,” he said.
The reality TV star said that Clinton “gave us Isis because her and Obama created this huge vacuum”.
She said she would push for a ‘no fly zone’ and safe havens in Syria and that America should accept refugees who are properly vetted. “I will defeat Isis,” she said.
Trump said she would take in Syrian refugees who are aligned to Isis. “Nobody can believe our stupid our leadership is,” he said.
And that’s all folks…
The two candidates were asked to give a one minute unscripted closing statement before embarking on the final three weeks of the campaign.
Clinton went for a plea to middle America of all political persuasions and none. “I’m reaching out to all Americans,” she said, while noting that she understands the “awesome responsibility” of being president. Her final words: “I hope you will give me a chance to serve as your president.”
Trump went back to his campaign slogan ‘make America great again’. He said the US takes better care of illegal immigrants than war veterans. “Our inner cities are a disaster. You get shot walking to the shops,” she said.
His final words: “We cannot take four more years of Barack Obama and that’s what you get if you vote for her.”