Second presidential debate breakdown

Many presidential historians and media critics labeled the town-hall debate last Sunday in St. Louis one of the most brutal examples of mud-slinging in the annals of U.S. presidential elections.

For much of the 90-minute clash, candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton brawled and bickered  about sex scandals in their pasts.

Clinton and Trump were tasked with answering questions provided by the moderators, the audience at Washington University and undecided voters online. Let’s try to focus on the key issues each candidate addressed.

Affordable Care Act:

Trump: Trump began by saying he thinks the Affordable Care Act and “Obamacare” have been a disaster. Trump said that if he is elected president, he will repeal “Obamacare” and replace it with something that works better.

Clinton:  Clinton said she wants to fix what is broken about the current system instead of completely abolishing it. Clinton also said she wants to work toward lowering the costs of health care so that everyday Americans can afford basic health care.

Refugees and Islamophobia:

Trump: When pressed on his past Islamophobic comments, Trump emphasized “extreme vetting” of immigrants. Trump said he no longer supports a ban of all Muslims entering the U.S. He said he wants to limit Syrian refugees entering the U.S.

He also called the war in Iraq a disaster and said that, had he been president in 2001, the war never would have happened. Trump once again said that he never supported the war in Iraq, despite documented evidence proving otherwise.

Clinton: After hearing Trump’s remarks, Clinton said that his policies could be used as a “terrorist recruiting tool.” As Clinton put it, the U.S. is a country founded on freedom of religion, which means that Trump’s stance on banning Muslim refugees would never work in the U.S.

One of the major topics Clinton announced was that she wants to increase the number of Syrian refugees that the U.S. takes in to 65,000, a vast increase from the Obama administration’s goal of 10,000.

War in Syria:

Trump: When it comes to Syria, Trump said he thinks that the entire foreign policy of the U.S. is a disaster. He also said he believes that the U.S. should leave the job of destroying ISIS to the Assad regime and Russia. He also said that Russia, Syria and Iran have all joined up due to the foreign policy of the U.S.

Trump contradicted his running mate Gov. Mike Pence on Syria policy. “He and I haven’t spoken, and he and I disagree,” Trump said in response to a question about whether he backs the possible use of military force against the Assad regime in Syria as staked out by Gov. Pence.

Clinton: Clinton said she would not use American ground forces in Syria. She said she thinks that would be a very serious mistake. She recommended the continued use of special forces and trainers in Iraq.

She said she that hopes by the time she becomes president that the U.S. will have pushed ISIS out of Iraq.

“I do think that there is a good chance that we can take Mosul. And, you know, Donald says he knows more about ISIS than the generals. No, he doesn’t.”

What they respect in each other:

Clinton: While not naming anything about Trump himself that she respects, Clinton said his children are “very able and devoted,” and that this says a lot about Trump.

Trump: He thanked Clinton for her comments about his children and said that he hopes it was meant to be a compliment. He followed this up by saying he respects the fact that Clinton is a worthy opponent who despite all odds, never gives up.

The third and final debate between both nominees will take place on Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. This debate will be held in the same format as the first debate.