Following a tumultuous week in politics, Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton met at Washington University in St. Louis Sunday night for a town hall-style presidential debate.
Met with questions from an audience of undecided voters and from moderators Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC, the candidates arguably had more pressing matters to discuss than in their first matchup, which aired Sept. 26.
“I am going to write in somebody (for president), to be completely honest.” — Nick Frankowski, member of College Republicans at Ohio State
Some Ohio State students admitted to dissatisfaction with their options.
“Being in College Republicans, I was hoping for a Republican nominee I could get behind and knock on doors for, but instead we ended up with Donald Trump,” said Nick Frankowski, a second-year in political science and economics. “I am going to write in somebody (for president), to be completely honest.”
The debate took place amidst nationwide controversy regarding hot-mic footage from 2005 showing Trump making sexually explicit comments about women, published by the Washington Post on Friday.
“Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk and it’s one of those things,” Trump said, before shifting the focus to terrorism. “I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We’re going to defeat ISIS.”
Jake Vasilj, a third-year in history and political science and president of OSU’s chapter of College Democrats, said the footage was worse than the “47 percent” comment from 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“Saying it’s locker room talk is insulting to people who are in locker rooms. (OSU football) Coach (Urban) Meyer would never allow that kind of talk in his locker room,” Vasilj said. “I’m horrified of what I’ve heard.”
Clinton also met Trump’s “locker room talk” with distaste.
“He has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is. But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly what he is,” Clinton said. “Because we’ve seen this throughout the campaign. We have seen him insult women. We’ve seen him rate women on their appearance.”
Armando Martin, a first-year in business, said the candidates’ performances Monday night shifted his support from Clinton to Trump, calling Clinton a “hypocrite.”
“(Clinton) lets her husband do the things he does with women, and now she is attacking Trump (on similar issues),” Martin said.
When talking about policy, the candidates also vehemently disagreed about the current state of health care.
“It is a disastrous plan and has to be repealed. And replaced.” — Donald Trump, Republican candidate for president, on the Affordable Care Act
Clinton discussed the positives of the Affordable Care Act, in her opinion, including legislation making it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, regulations allowing individuals up to the age of 26 to have the opportunity to remain under their parent’s’ existing coverage and the elimination of lifetime limits of coverage.
Trump’s stance differed, calling Obamacare a “total disaster.”
“Not only are your rates going up by numbers nobody’s believed, but your deductibles are going up, so unless you get hit by a truck, you’re never going to be able to use it,” Trump said. “It is a disastrous plan and has to be repealed. And replaced.”
In regards to fiscal policy, Frankowski said he, in general terms, respects Trump’s fiscal policies. Though he admitted, “I’ve never seen him in a speech or debate laying out his policies.”
Frankowski said he thinks Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, does a better job of explaining actual policy plans.
Vasilj said Clinton did a better job than Trump communicating her platform goals.
“Once again Donald Trump showed he was temperamentally unfit for the presidency, and Clinton looked cool and outlined her policy proposals,” Vasilj said. “She did a good job explaining how she wants to help people.”
The final question posed by an audience member called for the candidates to complement one feature of their opponent’s. Though the debate “felt like a street fight” according to Frankowski, both candidates expressed appreciation for each other.
While Clinton said she respected the love and devotion Trump’s children have for him, Trump called Clinton a fighter.
“She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up,” Trump said.
Sunday’s debate was the second of three between the two candidates. The final matchup is set for Oct. 19, less than three weeks before the election.
Nick Roll contributed to this article.