Trump's 'suspense' moment and 5 other highlights from the final debate
'I will keep you in suspense,' Trump says when asked if he'll accept election outcome
Donald Trump might just end up a winner, whether the American electorate likes it or not.
And he suggested he might not accept any outcome otherwise on Wednesday night during the last debate against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Of all the platitudes, policy statements and attack lines heard in the final debate last night at Las Vegas's University of Nevada that spoke loudest, it was the Republican nominee for president's refusal to say he would accept a losing result next month.
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The stunning moment came when Fox News moderator Chris Wallace asked about the traditional "peaceful transition of power" that takes place at the end of the campaign, in which "the loser concedes to the winner."
Would Trump, in the event of a loss, commit to that principle for the good of national unity?
"I will tell you at the time," Trump answered. "I'll keep you in suspense, OK?"
Clinton seized on the remark, calling it "horrifying."
On accepting the election outcome
He has repeatedly warned about "large scale voter fraud," calling any Republicans who deny this claim "naive," and imploring his most loyal supporters to volunteer as "Trump Election Observers" to prevent cheating at the polls — a phenomenon that very rarely exists, according to investigations into the myth of voter fraud.
(A 2014 investigation into voter fraud by the Washington Post found only 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast, hardly enough to sway any elections one way or the other.)
Trump's refusal to say that he would accept the result of the election is sure to capture headlines and caps the end of a three-debate cycle that Clinton is widely believed to have swept. But much more was said during Wednesday's final debate.
Here are some other highlights from the last showdown with 19 days to go until election day:
On abortion and Roe V. Wade
Trump responded that Clinton's position is that "you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb on the ninth month," language that Clinton said was "scare rhetoric" and not how such abortion procedures actually work.
On Russia and WikiLeaks
"You're the puppet! No, you're the puppet," Trump yelled.
The WikiLeaks emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee's servers and from the personal inbox of Clinton's campaign chairman are believed by experts to have been the handiwork of Russian hackers.
On 'the wall' and securing the border
"We have some bad hombres here," Trump said.
Clinton supports a pathway to citizenship as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package she says she will introduce in her first 100 days in office.
On the Clinton Foundation and 'pay to play'
Instead, Clinton used her time to extol the virtues of the "world-renowned charity," saying she was proud to discuss its achievements, including making HIV-AIDS treatment more affordable for 11 million people.
Trump later jumped in, calling the Clinton Foundation a "criminal enterprise."
On why to vote Clinton or Trump
Clinton's impromptu closing statement involved an uplifting and broad appeal "to all Americans, Democrats, Republicans and independents, because we need everybody to help make our country what it should be."
Trump, by contrast, struck a darker tone, casting America as a country in crisis with a "depleted military," poor treatment of veterans, disastrous "inner cities" where bullets fly and "disrespected" law enforcement officials.
"We cannot take four more years of Barack Obama. And that's what you get when you get her," he said, pointing towards Clinton. Obama's approval ratings are the highest he's ever had so far in his second term, with 55 per cent of Americans saying they approve of his performance as president.
There are 18 days left until election day on Nov. 8.
- An earlier version of the article referred to an investigation that found 32 incidents of voter fraud out of one million votes cast. The votes cast, in fact, totalled one billion.Oct 20, 2016 3:11 AM ET