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The Debate I Heard

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Something's wrong with me.

I watched Monday's presidential debate. But what I heard was different from what Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seemed to say.

When Clinton said, "I want us to invest in you," what I heard was, "I will spend your money better than you will." Also, I heard, "I will spend lots of your money!"


When Trump said our economic problems are China's fault, what I heard was, "Blaming China wins me votes."

When Clinton told Trump, "My father ... printed drapery fabrics," what I heard was, "Donald, you are a spoiled rich kid."

When Trump replied, "My father gave me a very small loan," I heard Trump saying, "Anything less than $200 million is a pittance." (It's actually not clear what Trump received from his dad. Trump claims it was $1 million; others say $200 million. Anyway, is a million dollars a "small" loan"?)

When Clinton said, "I'm going to have a special prosecutor ... to enforce the trade deals we have," I heard, "Kiss my ring and pay my foundation if you want your trade deal approved!"

When Trump said President Obama has "doubled" our debt, I swear I heard Trump promise, "I'll triple it!"

When Clinton said, "I think it's time that the wealthy and corporations paid their fair share," what I heard was, "Good thing Bill and I are 'broke,' because we're going to soak the rich like they've never been soaked before."

When Clinton said Trump's taxes "must be something really important, even terrible, that he's trying to hide," what I heard was, "My emails, on the other hand, were just a minor mistake and nothing I'm trying to hide -- next question?"

When Trump said, "I was the one that got (Obama) to produce the birth certificate, and I think I did a good job," what I heard was, "Since Hillary and her staff spread the lie first, I'm blameless."


When Clinton said, "Barack Obama is a man of great dignity," I swear I heard her add quietly, "despite me smearing him in 2008."

When Trump said, "I was just endorsed (by 200) admirals and generals," what I heard was, "I wish members of the military supported me the way they support Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson."

When Clinton said, "Putin is playing a tough long game here," I swear I heard Hillary say, "I guess my 'reset' with Russia was a bad idea."

When Clinton said she'll "do much more with our tech companies" to fight ISIS, what I heard was, "I'll force Facebook and Twitter to shut down parts of the internet."

When Clinton said she'll "take out al-Qaida leadership," what I heard was, "I don't know exactly who they are, but I'll kill a bunch of military-age males."

When Trump said, "I did not support the war in Iraq," what I heard was, " ... except when I did."

When Clinton said, "A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes," I heard, "A man provoked by a tweet should not be near the nuclear codes." (Clinton got some things right.)

When Trump said, "My strongest asset is my temperament," I heard viewers laughing.

When Clinton complained that Trump "said women don't deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men," I wondered, "So Hillary believes that women should get equal pay even when they don't do as good a job?"


If only there were some way both Clinton and Trump could lose. Oh, right -- there is! Governor Gary Johnson's in the race. But the most reliable predictor of future events -- the betting odds (see -- doesn't give him much of a chance. The bettors don't give Donald Trump a great chance either. As I write, Clinton is favored 68.7 percent to 29.6 percent.

During the debate, Trump's odds dropped 5 percent. I didn't think he performed that badly, but I must be wrong. The bettors are generally right.

We may as well get used to hearing the title "President Hillary Clinton."

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