The third and final US presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was billed as a tough and bitter political punch-up and millions of viewers wanted to see dust fly were not disappointed.
Given his claims that the contest is rigged perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise when the Republican maverick refused to say whether he’d accept the election result.
Chris Wallace, debate moderator: “I want to ask you here on this stage tonight, do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely, sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?”
Donald Trump, Republican Presidential nominee: “I will look at it, at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I will look at it at the time….”
Chris Wallace, debate moderator: “But, sir, there is a tradition in this country, in fact one of the prides of this country, is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard fought the campaign is, that at the end of the campaign, that the loser concedes to the winner …”
Donald Trump, Republican Presidential nominee: “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”
Hillary Clinton, Democratic Presidential nominee: “Well, Chris, let me respond to that because that is horrifying. You know every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction he claims whatever it is is rigged against him.”
Donald Trump, Republican Presidential nominee: “Such a nasty woman.”
The war of words spread to almost every issue as the candidates clashed on relations with Russia.
Donald Trump, Republican Presidential nominee: “Putin from everything I see has no respect for this person.”
Hillary Clinton, Democratic Presidential Candidate: “Well that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.”
“No puppet. No puppet. You’re the puppet.” replied Trump.
Hillary Clinton, Democratic Presidential Candidate: “It’s pretty clear you won’t admit that the Russians have engaged in cyber-attacks against the United States of America that you encouraged espionage against our people.”
On foreign policy Clinton seemed to put Trump on the backfoot: “This is a person who has been cavalier, even casual, about the use of nuclear weapons. He’s advocated more countries getting them – Japan, Korea even Saudi Arabia. He said, ‘well if we have them why don’t we use them?’ Which I think is terrifying (…)”
“All I said is that we have to renegotiate these agreements because our country cannot afford to defend Saudi Arabia, Japan, Germany, South Korea and many other places, we cannot continue to afford…She took that as saying nuclear weapons,” responded Trump.
Clinton and Trump did exchange some pleasant words; however all at voters rather than each other.
“I have made the cause of children and families really my life’s work. That’s what my mission will be in the presidency,” said Clinton.
“We are going to make America strong again and we are going to make America great again. And it has to start now,” replied Trump.
This time there was no handshake at the end of the duel. The gloves in this bout don’t look like they’ll come back on even at the final bell.