On Wednesday, September 7th 2016, NBC held a Commander in Chief Forum that featured Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The theme of the event was military and security. The location was the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in Manhattan, New York. The Intrepid was once utilized as an aircraft carrier and was involved with World War 2. Matt Lauer of NBC News was the moderator. This forum, however, was not a debate. It was a one hour live (and possibly carefully choreographed) program where Matt Lauer interviewed Clinton and Trump separately for about 20 to 25 minutes of real time, excluding commercials and transitions/introductions of the Presidential candidates. There were also questions that came from the active military/veteran crowd, which seemed to have been pre-screened.
The actual presidential debate will also air and be hosted by NBC, moderated by NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt. That debate is scheduled for September 26, 2016.
Since this forum was more of a short promotional piece and somewhat “filler” content for the actual first Presidential debate, also to be aired on NBC, there wasn’t much substance to the actual content. What the forum did do, however, was signal the beginning of the home stretch of the 2016 Presidential race. We’re now down to the final 2 people who are the final “survivors” out of a field of more than 20 people. Not counting people like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein who obviously do not have a realistic chance.
Notable moments during the forum include Hillary being pressed about her email situation, and her giving the customary political answer where Hillary says that she didn’t send anything with a specific marker that she identifies. That, of course, does not mean that the emails she sent on her private email server were not actually classified. Julian Assange says he has physical evidence that the emails she sent were marked classified with a giant “C” letter.
There was a coin toss the day before the forum to see who would talk with Matt Lauer first, and that determined Hillary would go first, followed by Trump, which was an advantage for Trump because he was able to respond to things Hillary said in real time, whereas Hillary had to respond to things Trump said in the past, and not actually the night of the forum. Matt Lauer and the crowd asked questions about his specific plans to defeat ISIS and how he would fix the VA, which he handled well. Some say he stumbled here, some say he did well. Same criticisms apply to Hillary as well. All in all, this forum was just the teaser course for the main dish, which is the head to head Trump Hillary debate on September 26.
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