Mississippians tuning into Sunday's presidential debate found policy issues overshadowed by a videotape of Donald Trump, and by allegations about former president Bill Clinton's past.
A videotape of Donald Trump discussing women in a lewd manner made media headlines leading up to the debate. Shortly before the town hall style event, Trump held a news conference with four women. Three accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault and one was a rape victim whose attacker was defended by Hillary Clinton as young lawyer. That didn't sit well with Tougaloo College Political Science Professor Timothy Howard.
"I felt soiled tonight beginning with the fact that Donald Trump brought those ladies there and was wanting to rehash this 1990's inappropriate behavior maybe even illegal behavior of Bill Clinton," said Howard.
Trump was asked about his comments about women. He apologized but insisted his remarks were harmless locker room banter. Among the other issues tackled, Obamacare, taxes, the U.S. Supreme Court and Clinton's emails as secretary of state. Mississippi State University Professor of Political Science Brian Shoup.
"I think the issue of the email scandal is something that his supporters in particular want to see pressed as to their mind it reinforces preconceived ideas that she is some how corrupt or untrustworthy," said Shoup.
On Syrian refugees,Trump wants what he calls extreme vetting and backed-off banning Muslims. Clinton wants to allow significantly more refugees into the country. Howard and Shoup say the end of the debate was the high point. In response to a question, Clinton said she respected Trump's children and he complemented her for not being a quitter. Both Shoup and Howard say the candidates maintained their base of support but there wasn't a standout winner. The final debate is October 19th.