Third Presidential Debate: 7 Moments That Mattered

Moderator Chris Wallace, of FOX News, turns towards the audience as he questions Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Moderator Chris Wallace, of FOX News, turns towards the audience as he questions Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

(ABC)– Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off for the last time of this presidential election cycle, and the candidates were clearly primed for the fight.

The Republican and Democratic presidential contenders took the stage at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for their third and final debate less than three weeks before voters will head to the polls across the country.

From abortion rights to the Second Amendment to the battle against the Islamic State, the candidates clashed on matters of policy — foreign and domestic. They even differed on whether they will accept the results on Nov. 8, with Trump saying he would take a wait-and-see approach and Clinton calling that “horrifying.”

Now, as election season officially moves into its final stretch, here’s a rundown of the biggest moments from Wednesday night’s debate:

1. Row Over Roe

At the top of the debate, the candidates were asked about an issue that could not divide them more: abortion.

The moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, asked Trump if he would want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, pressing him several times.

Trump said repeatedly: “If they overturned it, it will go back to the states.”

Clinton was up next and quickly pounced on the issue she mentions on the stump quite often, saying she will “defend Roe v. Wade and I will defend women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions.”

Wallace then asked both candidates about late-term abortions, noting Clinton voted against a ban when she was in the Senate.

“Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case,” she said. “The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make.”

Trump then answered, saying, “I think it’s terrible if you go with what Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.

“… You can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day,” Trump repeated. “And that’s not acceptable.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization dedicated to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, late-term abortions account for only a very small percentage of abortions overall.

2. Trump’s ‘Bad Hombres’

In elaborating on his immigration policy, Trump said he wanted to strengthen security at the U.S.-Mexico border and “keep the drugs out of our country.”

“One of my first acts will be to get all of the drug lords, all of the bad ones, we have some bad, bad people in this country that have to go out,” Trump said.

“We’re gonna get them out, secure the border, and once the border is secured at a later date we’ll make a determination as to the rest,” continued Trump, who seemed to be referring to undocumented immigrants who haven’t committed crimes.

Then, in rhetoric that was quickly criticized on social media for its racist undertones, Trump added, “But we have some bad hombres here and we’re going to get them out.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump debates Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (Mark Ralston/Pool via AP)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump debates Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (Mark Ralston/Pool via AP)

 

3. Pivots and Redirects Lead to Heated Moment About Russia

A question that started by asking what Clinton said during one of her paid speeches for a bank ended up turning into a debate over how close Trump is with Russian President Vladimir Putin and whether or not Russia is behind the recent leaks of emails from the Clinton campaign.

In one memorable moment, Trump said that Putin doesn’t appear to have respect for President Barack Obama and, in turn, Clinton — to which she responded, “Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.”

Trump denied that, countering, “You’re the puppet.”

When Trump was directly asked by Clinton if he was willing to “admit and condemn” the reported Russian involvement in the U.S. election, Trump didn’t answer the question but instead called her out for making “a great pivot off the fact that she wants open borders.”

Once Wallace asked the same question, Trump said, “Of course I condemn” hacking and election interference “by Russia or anybody else.”

“I never met Putin. This is not my best friend. But if the United States got along with Russia, wouldn’t be so bad,” he said.

4. Comparing Notes on Experience

During a contentious back and forth between the two candidates, Trump slammed Clinton over experience, telling his opponent, “I say the one thing you have over me is experience, but it’s bad experience because what you’ve done has turned out badly. …The problem is you talk, but you don’t get anything done, Hillary.”

Clinton quickly jumped on the remark, attempting to turn it around on Trump.

“I think it’s really an important issue he raised, the 30 years of experience,” Clinton said. “So let me just talk briefly about that. You know, back in the 1970s, I worked for Children’s Defense Fund, and I was taking on discrimination against African-American kids in schools. He was getting sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination in his apartment buildings. In the 1980s, I was working to reform the schools in Arkansas. He was borrowing $14 million from his father to start his businesses. In the 1990s, I went to Beijing and I said, ‘Women’s rights are human rights.’ He insulted a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, called her ‘an eating machine.’”

“Give me a break,” Trump then interrupted, but Clinton continued. “And on the day when I was in the Situation Room, monitoring the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was hosting ‘The Celebrity Apprentice,’” she said.

Clinton added: “So I’m happy to compare my 30 years of experience … with your 30 years, and I’ll let the American people make that decision.”

5. Trump Dismisses Claims Made by Women

As he has on the campaign trail this past week, Trump again denied accusations of sexual assault made by multiple women since the last debate, saying they were all fiction.

“Those stories have been largely debunked. Those people, I don’t know those people. I have a feeling how they came. I believe it was her campaign that did it,” he said.

He called the claims “all fiction. … Probably or possibly started by her and her very sleazy campaign.”

Trump added that the women likely were coming forward because they want “fame or they come out of her crooked campaign.”

The women in question range from a woman who says Trump groped her while on a plane decades ago to a People Magazine reporter who says Trump pushed up against a wall at his Mar-a-Lago estate in 2005 and forcibly kissed her. Trump has denied these claims.

6. Feud Over Foundations

Clinton said “there is no evidence” that the Clinton Foundation used a pay-to-play scheme to provide favors to foundation donors while she was secretary of state. However, emails show top Clinton Foundation officials asking a senior State Department official to give special attention to “friends of Bill Clinton” after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Clinton also said she’s “proud of the work [the foundation] does.”

“It’s a criminal enterprise,” Trump said of his opponent’s charity.

Trump then went on to slam the Clinton Foundation for accepting donations from foreign countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

“So I’d like to ask you right now, why don’t you give back the money that you have taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money?” Trump asked.

Clinton hit back at Trump’s foundation: “And I’d be happy to compare what we do with the Trump Foundation, which took money from other people and bought a 6-foot portrait of Donald.”

She continued: “I mean, who does that? It just was astonishing.”

7. Trump Says He Will ‘Keep You in Suspense’ on Whether He Will Concede

Trump declined to say tonight whether he would accept the result of the election on Nov. 8 as legitimate.

“I will look at it at the time,” Trump said. “What I’ve seen, what I’ve seen is so bad.”

Trump has alleged, without specific evidence, that voter fraud could tip the scales of the contest in November, but his running mate Mike Pence and daughter Ivanka Trump have both said they will accept the result of the election.

Pressed again, Trump replied: “What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?”

Clinton, in turn, called his comments as “horrifying.” “That is not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around for 240 years,” she said. “We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them.”

For decades, defeated presidential candidates have conceded the presidential election after votes are certified to ensure a smooth transition of power.

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