BOSTON (CBS) – Before the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night, I offered up three ideas about what each candidate had to do to maximize their bounce out of the encounter. So let’s review whether or not they followed my wise advice.
I suggested Donald Trump would be smart to get back to basics, the blunt promises of change in our immigration and trade policies that attracted so many voters to him in the first place. And for the most part he did that, raising the issue of illegal-immigrant crime and railing against the economic impact of trade pacts like NAFTA.
But Trump just can’t resist tacky lines like referring to unwanted Mexicans as “bad hombres.” And in their exchanges over abortion rights and funding for Planned Parenthood, Trump gave Clinton ample opportunity to cast him as someone who thinks he knows better than women do about how to manage their health.
I recommended that if and when Trump went on the attack, Hillary Clinton should avoid taking the bait, modeling poise and humility for an audience that increasingly tells pollsters they don’t think Trump has much of either quality. She did that, with just a few moments of sporadic agitation, an impressive show of discipline.
And I urged both candidates to find a way to accentuate the positive about themselves and their potential presidencies, giving voters something to feel good about after the endless months of this relentlessly toxic campaign. Both of them tried at times, but Trump was on the attack so much, he had a tougher go of it.
So there you have it, your major-party choice on November 8th. Good luck in the voting booth.