DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It wasn’t quite the Super Bowl, but the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump shattered records anyway.
Nielsen estimates 84 million people watched the political showdown at Hofstra University on New York’s Long Island Monday night.
Among those in the debate hall audience, Dallas Mavericks owner and Clinton supporter Mark Cuban.
He criticized the real estate mogul for playing defense for much of the night, and praised Clinton for delivering a slam dunk. “I think Hillary won handily and I don’t think it was close because she was presidential, she answered the questions, she gave well-thought out answers, she gave depth to her answers. He was a counter-puncher, and like a lot of counter punchers, you throw a jab and it misses, you get frustrated.”
Clinton attacked Trump’s business tactics, his refusal to release his federal income tax returns, and for his past questioning whether President Barack Obama is American.
After the debate, Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Clinton’s attacks were personal. “I would call that a cheap shot, gutter politics, cesspool-type stuff, and I’m very proud of Mr. Trump that he did not respond in-kind. Restraint is a virtue, and it’s a presidential virtue.”
David Plouffe, the former campaign manager for President Obama, says he believed Trump fumbled in his own defense.
While Plouffe says Clinton easily won the debate, he says it has to lead to something greater for it to matter. “The thing I’m most concerned about is turnout, that so-called Obama coalition coming out in numbers and I think the debate helped because she looked strong.”
Polls before the debate tightened, especially in the all-important battleground states.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls are within five points in key states:
- In Florida, Clinton leads 43.9-43.3.
- In Ohio, Trump leads 42.7-40.7.
- Clinton is ahead of Trump in Pennsylvania 43.6-41.8.
- In Michigan, Clinton edges Trump 42.7-38.
- Trump leads Clinton in North Carolina 43.1-42.3
- In Nevada, Trump leads 42.8-40.5.
- Trump also leads Clinton in Colorado 41-40.5.
Eric Trump says he’s confident about his father’s campaign. “We’re going to win the election. You saw the polls. He’s doing amazing in so many of the polls, so many new states he’s putting into play, he’s doing great.”
As for Mark Cuban, he says he can’t predict who will win. “If I knew, I’d go to Vegas and bet.”
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