Holt On – Just the Facts

So now there is all this hoopla about how Lester Holt fixed the debate for Hillary Clinton. So let’s take a more in-depth look to see. Honestly, at this very moment of writing this, I have no idea what the facts will show, do you? I mean really, do you? Or do you just THINK you know? Bigger question is, do you REALLY want the truth? If so, let’s go! After this, you can decide for yourself.

Here are all the questions Holt asked. He clearly asked Trump more questions directly than he did Clinton by a 7-3 count.

Of both candidates

  1. Addressing both candidates: “why are you a better choice than your opponent to create the kinds of jobs that will put more money into the pockets of American works?”
  2. The share of Americans who say race relations are bad in this country is the highest it’s been in decades, much of it amplified by shootings of African-Americans by police, as we’ve seen recently in Charlotte and Tulsa. Race has been a big issue in this campaign, and one of you is going to have to bridge a very wide and bitter gap.

    So how do you heal the divide?

  3. Our next segment is called “Securing America.” We want to start with a 21st century war happening every day in this country. Our institutions are under cyber attack, and our secrets are being stolen. So my question is, who’s behind it? And how do we fight it?
  4. [Not sure who ‘You’ is intended to be. Trump was first to mention ISIS which sparked some back and forth discussion. However, Clinton had made the last statement about ISIS just prior to this question.] You mention ISIS, and we think of ISIS certainly as over there, but there are American citizens who have been inspired to commit acts of terror on American soil, the latest incident, of course, the bombings we just saw in New York and New Jersey, the knife attack at a mall in Minnesota, in the last year, deadly attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando. I’ll ask this to both of you. Tell us specifically how you would prevent homegrown attacks by American citizens,
  5. Which leads to my next question, as we enter our last segment here (inaudible) the subject of securing America. On nuclear weapons, President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation’s longstanding policy on first use. Do you support the current policy?
  6. One of you will not win this election. So my final question to you tonight, are you willing to accept the outcome as the will of the voters?

Of Hillary Clinton:

  1. Secretary Clinton, you’re calling for a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans. I’d like you to further defend that.
  2. He [Donald Trump] also — he also raised the issue of your e-mails. Do you want to respond to that?
  3. Secretary Clinton, last week, you said we’ve got to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias. Do you believe that police are implicitly biased against black people?

Of Donald Trump:

  1. Let me follow up with Mr. Trump, if you can. You’ve talked about creating 25 million jobs, and you’ve promised to bring back millions of jobs for Americans. How are you going to bring back the industries that have left this country for cheaper labor overseas? How, specifically, are you going to tell American manufacturers that you have to come back?
  2. Mr. Trump, you’re calling for tax cuts for the wealthy. I’d like you to defend that.
  3. Mr. Trump, we’re talking about the burden that Americans have to pay, yet you have not released your tax returns. And the reason nominees have released their returns for decades is so that voters will know if their potential president owes money to — who he owes it to and any business conflicts. Don’t Americans have a right to know if there are any conflicts of interest?
  4. So it’s negotiable? [Referring to Trump releasing his taxes]
  5. Mr. Trump, for five years, you perpetuated a false claim that the nation’s first black president was not a natural-born citizen. You questioned his legitimacy. In the last couple of weeks, you acknowledged what most Americans have accepted for years: The president was born in the United States. Can you tell us what took you so long?
  6. Mr. Trump, a lot of these are judgment questions. You had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion. …  My question is, since you supported it… Why is your judgment better than… Why is your judgment — why is your judgment any different from Mrs. Clinton’s judgment?
  7. Mr. Trump, this year Secretary Clinton became the first woman nominated for president by a major party. Earlier this month, you said she doesn’t have, quote, “a presidential look.” She’s standing here right now. What did you mean by that?

Here are all the statements he made outside the questions above. He clearly made more statements regarding Trump by a 5-0 count.

  • To Trump: The IRS says an audit… of your taxes — you’re perfectly free to release your taxes during an audit.
  • To Trump: Your two — your two minutes expired, but I do want to follow-up. Stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York, because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men.
  • To Trump: [in regards to stop-and-frisk] The argument is that it’s a form of racial profiling.
  • To Trump: I will let you respond. It’s important. But I just want to get the answer here. The birth certificate was produced in 2011. You’ve continued to tell the story and question the president’s legitimacy in 2012, ’13, ’14, ’15……. as recently as January. So the question is, what changed your mind?
  • To Trump: [in regards to Trump saying he was against the war in Iraq] The record shows otherwise, … My reference was to what you had said in 2002,

I’m not sure interruptions matter to me out of context. If you have a motor mouth, you’re going to interrupt them more often than someone who is quieter. But it is a topic of discussion. So let’s take a look.

Times he interrupted because it was someone else’s turn or he had said their time was up. Trump did tend to go over and push to finish his thoughts.

  • Clinton:
  • Trump:
    1. This is — this is Secretary Clinton’s two minutes, please. [Clinton said she was going to be blamed for everything, Trump said, “Why not?” She responded, he responded, Holt stepped in.]
    2. Mr. Trump, this is Secretary Clinton’s two minutes. [Clinton had referenced the “Trump loophole”, Trump asked “Who gave it that name? The first I’ve — who gave it that name?” Then there was some crosstalk and Holt stepped in.]
    3. Mr. Trump…We have just…We have just a few final questions… [Trump requested to respond to statements by Hillary, he was given 20 seconds. He took about a minute instead and Holt interrupted him.
    4. Please very quickly. … We have to move on to the final question. … [Trump was responding, Holt interrupted him and then let him go, but interrupted him again to move on.

Times he interrupted for another reason. Holt clearly interrupted Trump more often to make a statement of his own, by a count of 5-0.

  • Clinton:
  • Trump:
    1. Let me interrupt just a moment, but… [Trump was in mid-sentence about NAFTA]
    2. Back to the question, though. How do you bring back — specifically bring back jobs, American manufacturers? How do you make them bring the jobs back? [Trump was just mentioned the fact that we owe $20 trillion.
    3. Let me get you to pause right there, because we’re going to move into — we’re going to move into the next segment. We’re going to talk taxes… [Trump was discussing his tax cuts and cuts to regulations]. Then he yielded the floor for 30 seconds to Clinton because she said, “That can’t — that can’t be left to stand.”
    4. I’m going to give you a chance right here….. with a new 15-minute segment…Mr. Trump, I’m going to…The next segment, we’re continuing… [Clinton was promoting her website and her fact-checker and following up with her 30 seconds given to her above. Trump was dropping in one liners as she spoke. then he asked if he could finish, see interruption above]
    5. Holt interrupted to make comments about how the IRS had said Trump could turn over his taxes during an audit.

And how many times did he invite them to respond outside of each having a chance to answer the question directly?


  1. Secretary Clinton, would you like to respond? [In regards to jobs. She went, He went, Holt offered to let her respond.]
  2. Let me let Secretary Clinton get in here. [Holt ask Trump about bringing jobs back to America, Trump responded, Holt invited Clinton to respond.]
  3. We’ll let you respond and we’ll move on to the next segment. [Holt asked Hillary about her emails because Trump had brought it up. Clinton made a brief statement. Holt offered Trump the floor, then offered it back to Clinton] #2 under Trump
  4. Secretary Clinton…[Clinton addressed healing the divide, then Trump, and Holt offered Clinton a chance to respond.]
  5. Secretary Clinton? [Holt asked about the birth certificate issue, Trump responded, Holt offered Clinton a chance to respond, and then Trump a chance.] #4 under Trump
  6. Secretary Clinton? [Clinton responded to cyber security, then Trump responded, then Holt gave Clinton a chance to respond.]
  7. Secretary Clinton? [Trump responded to the question about ISIS, Holt gave Clinton her turn.]
  8. Secretary Clinton? [Holt asked Trump about his judgement on the war, Trump responded, Holt offered Clinton her chance.]


  1. Mr. Trump? [Clinton and Trump bantered back and forth about bringing jobs back to America. Clinton finished her last comment, Holt offered a spot for Trump to respond.
  2. Mr. Trump? [Holt asked Hillary about her emails because Trump had brought it up. Clinton made a brief statement. Holt offered Trump the floor, then offered it back to Clinton] #3 under Clinton
  3. Let’s let Mr. Trump…[Clinton was talking about the businesses stiffed by Trump and his bankruptcy issues. Holt offered Trump a chance to respond.]
  4. Mr. Trump, you can respond and we’re going to move on to the next segment. [Holt asked about the birth certificate issue, Trump responded, Holt offered Clinton a chance to respond, and then Trump a chance.] #5 under Clinton
  5. Secretary Clinton? [Trump responded to the question about ISIS, Holt gave Clinton her turn, then offered Trump a response time.]

This one is a little hard to analyze, unless you put it like this (C=Clinton; T=Trump). The two repeats on both lists is only listed once here.

  • C > T > C
  • T > C
  • C > T > C
  • C > T > C
  • T > C > T
  • C > T > C
  • T > C
  • T > C
  • C > T
  • C > T
  • C > T

The ones you want to look at are the ones with 3, because the other are basically someone commenting and the other responding, these are fair. But by seeing it this way, you can clearly see Clinton was offered more follow up response opportunity by a 4-1 count. Remember, these are only those offered by Holt, this doesn’t mean Trump didn’t respond, just that it wasn’t offered by Holt.

So just for kick’s, here’s the whole debate by turn (Q=Question. H=Holt). This is going to leave out the 1 liners and focus on comments with substance:

  • Q > C > H > T > H > C
  • H question to Trump > T > H > T > H > C > banter > C > H > T > banter > C > banter > T > banter > C > banter > C > banter > C > T > banter
  • Q > T > H > C > banter > C > banter > C > T
  • H question to Trump > T > H > T > H > T > C >
  • H question to Clinton > C > H > T > H > C > banter > C > banter > T
  • Q > C > H > T > H > T > H > T > H > C
  • H question to Clinton > C > T > C > T > C
  • H question to Trump > T > banter > T > H > T > H > banter > T > H > C > H > T
  • Q > C > banter > C > H > T > H > C
  • Q > T > H > C > banter > C > H > T
  • H question to Trump > T > H > T > H > T > H > C > banter > C > banter > C > banter > T
  • Q > T > H > C > H > T > H > T
  • H question to Trump > T > H > T > H > C > T > H > C > banter > H > T
  • Q > C > H > T

Applause? Well let’s see it looks like 5 times for Trump and 3 for Clinton. I guess Holt gave up after the first time:

  • Trump got applause when he mentioned Clinton’s Emails. Holt admonished the audience and reminded them there was an agreement and to be silent.
  • Clinton got applause when she mentioned Trump hadn’t paid any taxes for years
  • Clinton got applause when she joked about Donald criticizing her for preparing for the debate and she prepared to be president.
  • Clinton got applause when she responded with traveling to 112 countries, negotiation, and testifying for 11 hours and said after Trump did all that he could talk to her about stamina.
  • Trump got applause when he said she had experience, bad experience.
  • Trump got applause a second time for a similar remark about bad experience.
  • There was applause – not sure exactly who it was for, when Alicia Machado was being discussed.
  • Trump got applause when he joked about Clinton spending $200 million on ads and he spent practically nothing.
  • Trump got applause when he said he wanted to make America great again, didn’t think Hillary could, but he would support her if she won.


Holt got in a little over 2000 words. Clinton around 6400, and Trump close to 8700.



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