Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was put to the test on Sunday night by a full-out assault from his opponent and the moderators, to the point where he complained the Washington University debate was three against one.
ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper scolded Trump for interrupting Clinton — but then interrupted his answers.
“One of these candidates is going to go away when this election is over … But biased moderators never, ever go away.”
The Republican National Committee said it tracked moderators’ interruptions through the night. Clinton was interrupted 12 times; Trump — 26 times. Raddatz often made it obvious she was scolding Trump.
“Mr. Trump, let me remind you of the question,” said Raddatz, provoking laughter, asking about Aleppo and humanitarian aid.
Raddatz interrupted Trump three times during his Aleppo answer. On the same general topic, Raddatz would later only interrupt Hillary Clinton once.
Trump then scolded Raddatz for allowing Hillary Clinton to go one minute over her time.
And earlier in the debate, he scolded Raddatz.
“Why don’t you interrupt her?” Trump asked Raddatz.
But Trump obviously came prepared to fight, including pushing back on the moderators.
When Cooper pressed Trump on sending out early morning tweets about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, Trump pivoted. Cooper tried to protest, but Trump pushed through. He ridiculed Clinton for not being awake or ready at 3 a.m. when terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic compounds in Benghazi, Libya.
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But for the most part, Cooper pushed back aggressively on Trump.
“Please let her talk, she didn’t interrupt you,” Cooper said to Trump at one point.
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CNN also boasted the moderators kept the clock equal. CNN said Trump got 40 minutes, 10 seconds. Clinton got 39 minutes and 5 seconds.
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Conservative media watchdogs were not impressed with the moderators’ performance.
“One of these candidates is going to go away when this election is over,” tweeted Tim Graham, executive editor of NewsBusters.org. “But biased moderators never, ever go away.”
Brent Bozell, the longtime president of Media Research Center, noticed something amiss right away.
“In first half hour, Trump challenged three times, Hillary not challenged once. Just like last time,” Bozell tweeted.