Trump Apologizes For 'Locker-Room Talk' On Leaked Video Following the second presidential debate, we get a roundup of what happened. Plus, analysis from columnist and commentator Cokie Roberts and Jonah Goldberg, senior editor at the National Review.
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Trump Apologizes For 'Locker-Room Talk' On Leaked Video

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Trump Apologizes For 'Locker-Room Talk' On Leaked Video

Trump Apologizes For 'Locker-Room Talk' On Leaked Video

Trump Apologizes For 'Locker-Room Talk' On Leaked Video

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/497350282/497350283" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Following the second presidential debate, we get a roundup of what happened. Plus, analysis from columnist and commentator Cokie Roberts and Jonah Goldberg, senior editor at the National Review.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep in Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the divided states where voters watched last night's presidential debate. They included Matthew Stiller (ph), a geography major at Kent State.

MATTHEW STILLER: This debate has not been about issues, really. It's been about the emotional or character makeup of each candidate. And, actually, I'm glad to finally see Hillary kind of be vetted a little. People are asking questions about her that haven't really been asked out loud before.

INSKEEP: There were also questions to Donald Trump that surely have never been asked in a presidential debate before. We're about to hear some answers. Cokie Roberts will listen with us, along with Jonah Goldberg. Good morning to you both.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Good morning.

JONAH GOLDBERG: Good morning.

INSKEEP: How would you sum up last night in a sentence? Cokie, you go first.

ROBERTS: I think Donald Trump stopped the bleeding that was happening with Republican officeholders peeling off of him by the dozen, but I don't think that it got him any undecided voters.

INSKEEP: OK, Jonah?

GOLDBERG: I think that's exactly right. It's like a plane that is going down, but at least they got the coffee maker working again.

(LAUGHTER)

INSKEEP: OK, all right. Well, stick with us. We're going to get more from Cokie and Jonah after we hear from NPR's Mara Liasson.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: The big question coming into the debate was how Donald Trump would handle the leaked videotape showing him bragging about groping women. Many in his own party and his own campaign had urged him to show contrition. He got a chance to do that right away.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE)

ANDERSON COOPER: You describe kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?

DONALD TRUMP: No, I didn't say that at all. I don't think you understood what was said. This was locker-room talk. I'm not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I'm not proud of it, but this is locker-room talk. You know, when we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads, where you have...

LIASSON: Clinton and Trump didn't shake hands when they came onto the stage, as they had in the first debate, and their hostility was obvious. Clinton looked stern and disapproving as Trump spoke. She said Trump wasn't fit to be president. And she made it clear she didn't think he had apologized enough.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE)

HILLARY CLINTON: He never apologized to the reporter that he mimicked and mocked on national television, and our children were watching. And he never apologized for the racist lie that President Obama was not born in the United States of America. He owes the president an apology. He owes our country an apology. And he needs to take responsibility for his actions and his words.

LIASSON: But Trump suggested he had apologized plenty, and he turned to an attack he'd been broadcasting for days on Hillary Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton. Mine were words, but his were actions, Trump said, referring to three women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct or rape and who had joined Trump as guests in the debate audience. And Trump threatened to put Hillary Clinton in jail if he became president.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE)

GOP PRES CAND: And I'll tell you what - I didn't think I'd say this, but I'm going to say it, and I hate to say it - but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it. And we are going to have a special prosecutor.

LIASSON: Trump didn't seem to be making an effort to reach beyond his hardest-core supporters, who often chant, lock her up, at Trump's rallies.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE)

CLINTON: It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.

GOP PRES CAND: Yeah, because you'd be in jail.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton...

LIASSON: Trump also called Clinton the devil and said she had hate in her heart. Clinton said Trump's campaign was exploding. Both candidates repeatedly called each other liars. At times, the ordinary voters who were sitting on stage to ask questions seemed like props as Trump and Clinton went after each other with personal attacks and insults.

Trump was also asked about his tax returns. Three pages of his 1995 returns had been leaked, showing that he took a $916 million deduction that could have allowed him to avoid paying any federal income tax for 18 years. Last night, he admitted he hadn't.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE)

COOPER: Did you use that $960 million loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes?

GOP PRES CAND: Of course I do. Of course I do. And so do all of her donors, or most of her donors.

LIASSON: Trump was aggressive and more disciplined than he had been in the first debate. He hammered Clinton for having spent 30 years in public service with nothing to show for it. But he also made a stunning admission that put him at odds with his own running mate, Mike Pence, on Syria.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE)

RADDATZ: He said provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in airstrikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.

GOP PRES CAND: OK. He and I haven't spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.

RADDATZ: You disagree with your running mate?

GOP PRES CAND: I think we have to knock out ISIS. Right now...

LIASSON: This nasty debate actually ended on an unusually positive note. Both candidates were asked if they could name something they respected about each other.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE)

CLINTON: Well, I certainly will because I think that's a very fair and important question. Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don't agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that. And I think that is something that, as a mother and a grandmother, is very important to me.

GOP PRES CAND: I will say this about Hillary - she doesn't quit. She doesn't give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She's a fighter. I disagree with much of what she's fighting for. I do disagree with her judgment in many cases, but she does fight hard, and she doesn't quit.

LIASSON: Trump probably performed well enough to slow what's been called the elephant stampede of Republicans disavowing their support. But even before the "Access Hollywood" tape was released, Trump was in a hole that he had dug for himself. He needed a spectacular performance last night, one that could help him reverse the dynamic of the race, and it's not clear that he accomplished that. Clinton, on the other hand, came into the debate with a small lead nationally and in almost all the battleground states, and nothing happened last night that would jeopardize her advantage.

INSKEEP: That was NPR's Mara Liasson. So let's talk more about the debate with commentator and columnist Cokie Roberts and Jonah Goldberg of The National Review. And, Jonah, from your remark about fixing the coffeemaker on the crashing plane, I gather you don't - you don't think that Trump succeeded in moving the conversation much past his video.

GOLDBERG: Probably not. Look, I mean, going into before the video came out, Donald Trump was losing. He wasn't losing by a lot, but he was losing in the battleground polls, in the national polls. He was behind, and his trend lines were going badly. The idea that he has gained voters in any significant manner after this tape came out just defies all logic.

And, frankly, I don't want to meet anybody who now supports Trump after seeing or after listening to that video and his, quote, unquote, "locker-room talk." So it just seems to me that all he did was reassure his base, the people who already like him. The problem is the people who already like him do not add up to a majority, winning coalition.

INSKEEP: Cokie?

ROBERTS: He also put the Republican leadership in further disarray because the truth is that, as I said earlier, dozens had gone away from him, including people like John McCain and Rob Portman, senators - highly respected senators. But now he's got - he's got staying power. And so the Mitch McConnells, Paul Ryans of the world are with him, and that could be a problem for them in the long run. And it can be a problem for the holding onto the House and Senate because if they had had been able to mount a separate campaign for the Congress, that might be a better tactic for them.

INSKEEP: Can I just ask - at the beginning of the debate, I don't believe they shook hands, the two of them. At the end of the debate, if I'm not mistaken, they did shake hands after being asked to say something positive about each other. Did they gain a little respect for each other, and do you think voters might have gained a little respect for them just because they survived the onslaught of the other person?

ROBERTS: (Laughter). I doubt that they gained respect for each other. It was a - it was a pretty nasty debate. I mean, and, you know, Mara talked about him saying you'd be in jail and he'd name a special prosecutor. That's a remarkable thing to have said. I mean, we shouldn't just let that slide by. That is what happens when somebody loses in a country that is not America, where we do have transitions of government that are peaceful and not punishing.

INSKEEP: Jonah Goldberg, did you learn anything that you didn't know about either candidate last night?

GOLDBERG: No, I don't - I can't think of anything that I learned about either of them. I did think it was very interesting. In his closing positive remarks about Hillary, he undermined the central argument of his campaign, which is that Hillary doesn't have the stamina to be president of the United States.

And then he says, well, actually, the one thing I respect about her is that she never quits. She never gives up. She works tirelessly. It was a - it was a strange thing to sort of end on, but this is a strange, strange Dali-esque year. So, you know, there you have it.

ROBERTS: I think you're going to see that in ads right now. Those have been her ads already. She's a fighter. Now, it'll be Donald Trump saying that in her ads - she's a fighter, she never gives up.

INSKEEP: Maybe he saw that on television. Who knows? Well, Cokie, thanks very much for joining us this morning. Really appreciate it.

ROBERTS: Good to be with you.

INSKEEP: Cokie's in New York. Jonah Goldberg of The National Review is in Washington, D.C. Thanks to you.

GOLDBERG: Great to be here. Thank you.

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