ABC News(ST. LOUIS) — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went personal in the second presidential debate, attacking each other on everything from vulgar language to emails.
The debate’s co-moderator, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, said she saw “a lot of surprise” from the uncommitted voters selected to attend the town-hall style debate.
“When I looked around in between when the candidates were talking, the people were staying very still,” Raddatz said Monday on Good Morning America. “They did not want to be on camera with any sort of surprised looks, but I think there was a lot of surprise from the audience and what was said during that debate.”
Raddatz co-moderated the debate at Washington University in St. Louis with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. She said she and Cooper spoke with the audience members before the debate and described them as “nervous” about who would get called on to ask a question.
“They thought they were ready for everything,” Raddatz said. “I’m not sure anybody was ready for that.”
Among the attacks waged by the two candidates, Trump said if he were president he would appoint a special prosecutor to look into Clinton’s email scandal and that she’d be “in jail” if he were in charge. Trump also accused Clinton of having “tremendous hate in her heart” and brought to the debate women who have accused her husband, former president Bill Clinton, of sexual assault.
Clinton said a leaked 2005 video recording where Trump can be heard making lewd comments about women shows “exactly who he is” and that his campaign is “exploding” after Trump lost the support of several high-profile Republicans in the wake of the video.
Raddatz, who also moderated a debate in the Democratic primary, said the candidates set the tone for the debate as soon as they walked on the stage by not shaking hands.
“When they came together but didn’t shake hands you knew you were in for a long evening,” she said.
Raddatz also said attendees could feel in the room the presence of Trump’s following Clinton around the town hall stage.
Of the personal attacks exchanged between Clinton and Trump, Raddatz said, it should not be underestimated that uncommitted voters were watching the attacks unfold in person.
“The other thing that we forget is this was a town hall. There was an audience there,” she said. “There were people asking questions who were hearing these exchanges and they had to be somewhat surprised.”
Clinton and Trump’s third and final debate is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 19.
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