BOSTON (CBS) – Going into Wednesday night’s final presidential debate, Donald Trump’s campaign was in big trouble.
His rambling, ranting performance in the first debate once Hillary Clinton’s needling knocked him off his issues triggered hemhorraging in his poll numbers, exacerbated by his eagerness to waste time and energy on sideshows like the weight of an old Miss Universe.
Then came the Access Hollywood interview, his hard-to-believe denial of sexual misconduct in the second debate, and, since then, ten days of ranting about allegedly rigged voting, whining about media coverage, and other nonsense.
So with less than three weeks to go, Trump desperately needed to use the final debate to remind voters of what drew so many of them to him early on in his campaign – his blunt indictment of the Washington status quo on important issues like immigration and trade. And he needed to do it without losing his cool along the way, as he did in the first two debates.
Mission partly accomplished.
For awhile he calmly explained his views and sparred evenly with Clinton.
But then Trump became visibly irritated when she questioned his business practices, and all but lost it when the topic of his alleged proclivity for groping women came up.
Trump thrilled his base, I’m sure, but I scored this one a win for Clinton, relatively narrowly perhaps, but let’s face it – given where the race appears to be heading, anything short of a Clinton meltdown was a bad night for Trump.
So now, it’s up to you, the voters.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: