I hate to say it, because I truly believe the election of Donald Trump is profoundly important for the future of the country, but Clinton cleaned his clock in the Great Debate.
She attacked. He defended.
Now, how much sense does that make?
Hillary Clinton has been a big part of the political establishment since 1993. She lived in the White House for eight years. She was handed a U.S. Senate seat from New York. She ran for president in 2008. And she was handed the job of secretary of state.
On top of that, she should be in prison. She should have been indicted for violations of espionage and national security laws. The only reason she wasn't is because of her place of dishonor in the political establishment. Her shield against prosecution was the fact that she was the leading Democrat seeking the presidency. She used her office as secretary of state to shake down foreigners and corporations for contributions to the Clinton Foundation.
So why was she on offense?
And how on earth did Trump allow himself to spend most of the night on defense?
Why was he tougher on Ted Cruz than he was on Clinton?
This was a night to take her on and put her on defense.
The worst part of this is that Trump has come so far in the polls in recent weeks. My guess is that Clinton helped herself immensely by standing up for 90 minutes, not fainting, smiling and confidently dueling with Trump.
This is not what I wanted to see.
But I have to be honest about what I saw.
Thank goodness we still have another month before Americans go to the polls. There's still time for Trump to take her on. He even had his moments tonight — but not enough of them. That's my observation.
Hillary Clinton is one of the easiest targets in American political history.
She's not likable. She's got no accomplishments to her credit. She's a walking scandal. She's dishonest. She's a crook.
But he didn't call her out.
Instead, she indicted Trump — over and over again. How could he let her get away with talking about what might be in his tax returns? How could he stand there and allow her to demean him as a racist? How could he stand there and defend, defend, defend when he should have used the opportunity to attack, attack, attack?
All Trump has done in his life is succeed at business. He's done it better than most.
I truly believe he wants to take what he learned in that process and do something great for his country.
I also believe he would be a great president.
But he didn't do himself any favors with his strategy for that debate.
He allowed Clinton to set the tone. He allowed himself to be put in the position of defending.
Not good. Not good at all.
Maybe the next time, he'll go in with an idea of what he wants to get across. I got the feeling he really hadn't thought about three or four big ideas he wanted to get across to the 27 million undecided American voters out there.
That's the key for the next opportunity — three big ideas and attack, attack, attack.
Clinton needs to be on defense the next time.
The good news?
Ronald Reagan lost the first debate with Walter Mondale in 1984.
Trump needs to come back strong in Round 2 — memorably strong.
Trump has his work cut out for him — and I'm not sure anyone else can help him. He needs to watch that debate one time and make sure he stays in control of the next debate.