Income tax, ISIS facts and 'stamina': Key Clinton-Trump debate moments

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump engaged in their first one-on-one debate Monday night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Here are some of the key moments from the highly-anticipated showdown.

Candidates take different approaches when confronted with questionable behaviour

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shake hands after wrapping up the first presidential debate at Hofstra University Monday evening. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

"That makes me smart."

The remark by Donald Trump, a glib response to charges by his Democratic challenger that he cheated on paying his federal taxes, was among the more withering moments Monday night at the first U.S. presidential debate of the general election.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Trump, her Republican rival, tangled on stage for 90 commercial-free minutes at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., during which time Trump attacked Clinton over supporting what he described as bad trade deals, and assailing her for the mishandling of sensitive emails via a private server while she was secretary of state.

Clinton deflected the criticisms that she flip-flopped on support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal and owned up to her "mistake" with regard to the email controversy. She also repeatedly called on fact-checkers to verify her opponent's statements.

Here were some of the other notable moments from Monday's debate:

A 'smart' tax evader?

'That makes me smart'

6 years ago
Duration 0:26
Trump brags about not paying taxes

Debate watchers online reacted with some bemusement to Trump's retort when Clinton charged that, "He's paid nothing in federal taxes because the only years that anybody's ever seen were a couple of years shown he had to turn them over…to get a casino license and they showed, he paid no income tax."

Rather than denying the accusation, Trump lowered his face to the microphone and quipped, "That makes me smart."

Clinton owns up to 'mistake'

Clinton email controversy: Trump says it wasn't a mistake

6 years ago
Duration 0:51
Trump says Clinton’s email decisions were ‘disgraceful’

By fully admitting she erred in her handling of sensitive emails, Clinton took some of the sting out of Trump's criticisms on that front.

"You know, I made my mistake using a private email. And if I had to do it over again, I would obviously do it differently," she said. "But I'm not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake and I take responsibility for that."

'No admission of guilt' for Trump

'No admission of guilt'

6 years ago
Duration 0:29
Trump defends lawsuit over not renting to black people

Confronted by reports about the 1973 federal housing discrimination lawsuit against Trump and the Trump Organization, the Republican nominee appeared to brag about a settlement but did not deny there was racial discrimination in his apartments. Instead? 

He said there was "no admission of guilt" from him — a comment he uttered twice.

Temperament and nuclear codes

Clinton blasts Trump's temperament

6 years ago
Duration 0:23
'A man provoked by a tweet shouldn't have his finger on the nuclear codes,' she said

Trump claimed his "strongest asset" was his "winning temperament" — a comment that elicited guffaws in a Democratic debate viewing party in Columbus, Ohio, according to CBC's Mark Gollom, who was in attendance. 

Clinton invoked an image that she has long used to great effect to portray Trump as potentially trigger-happy and unhinged: "A man who could be provoked by a tweet shouldn't have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes."

Trump hammers Clinton on trade

'NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere'

6 years ago
Duration 1:27
Trump and Clinton spar over the trade deal her husband signed

The debate early on over NAFTA was among the testiest exchanges, and showed a fired-up but more composed Trump in one of his stronger moments while taking Clinton to task on international trade.

"You haven't done it in 30 years or 26 years," he said to Clinton, of an inability to keep American manufacturing jobs from leaving, while reminding voters that Clinton's husband, former president Bill Clinton, had signed NAFTA.

ISIS's age and a plea to the fact-checkers

'You've been fighting ISIS your entire adult life": Trump

6 years ago
Duration 0:21
Clinton's response? 'Please, the fact-checkers, get to work'

It was an outrageous claim from an increasingly volatile Trump: "You've been fighting ISIS your entire adult life!" 

Clinton was born in 1947, first worked in Washington in 1974 and returned to D.C. more or less for good in 1992.

ISIS, in its current formation, has only been in existence since around 2013, growing out of al-Qaeda in Iraq. The group's roots can be traced back to 1999, although while First Lady, she had no role in Bill Clinton's counterterrorism team.

"Please, fact-checkers, get to work," she said.

'Stamina' reversal

Clinton fires back on lack of 'stamina' remark

6 years ago
Duration 0:47
Trump said it's why she's not fit to be president

Asked by moderator Lester Holt about prior comments Trump made about Clinton lacking the presidential "look," Trump instead said he was referring to Clinton lacking the "stamina" to be commander-in-chief. Both Holt and Clinton called him out for the semantic shift.

Clinton, questioned about her stamina, had an argument loaded anyway: "Well as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a ceasefire, release of dissidents and opening of new opportunities and nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?