The lie count: Trump 13, Clinton 2
Much of this falls on Trump, who combined the familiar falsehoods of his fact-challenged stump speech with a new set of unsubstantiated charges about Clinton’s past treatment of other women. And on the biggest question of the night — how Trump would answer for leaked audio in which he described his technique for making unwanted sexual advances on women — Trump largely got away without answering at all.
Asked about the 2005 tape, Trump repeatedly dismissed it as “locker room talk” by which he was “embarrassed” and for which he had “apologized.” And in the end, he largely dismissed it, saying: “Frankly, you hear these things.”
Pressed repeatedly by moderator Anderson Cooper on whether he had ever actually done the things he described, things which, if carried out, could amount to unwanted advances or sexual assaults, Trump said he had done none of them.
But mostly, when asked about his comments, Trump talked ISIS, or trade policy, or the crimes of others and the need to respond with law and order. And he never had to reconcile his claim that he’s second to “nobody” when it comes to respecting women, even though he bragged to Billy Bush in 2005 that he could “grab’em by the pussy.”
Other of Trump’s dodges were more shameless. Asked about a still-public tweet in which he encouraged people to check out a sex tape, Trump said he had done something else entirely. Pressed on his role in spreading the birther conspiracy about President Barack Obama, Trump brushed aside a multi-year campaign of demanding the first black president’s birth certificate and then questioning its legitimacy. Instead, he again accused Clinton, falsely, of having started it herself.