09.26.2016 - 11:25 PM EDT

Let me start by saying that my central prediction about this debate was wrong. I thought Trump's big obstacle was getting pressed on a specific policy question, not having any idea what he was talking about and riffing his way into nonsense or easily controvertible lies. That close to didn't happen at all.

The debate ended up proceeding quite differently. In the first few exchanges Trump was on point pushing a message of economic nationalism, opposition to international trade agreements and job loss. Clinton, notably, barely engaged on this front, preferring to steer her responses to questions about tax equity, middle class families, trickle down economics, etc. But those initial jousts only lasted for ten or maybe 15 minutes.

09.26.2016 - 10:50 PM EDT

Initial debate reaction coming shortly.

09.26.2016 - 10:30 PM EDT

10:29 PM: Putin's briefing on the new nuclear arsenal probably came in handy here.

09.26.2016 - 10:30 PM EDT

10:37 PM: How much time has Trump spent talking about how much money has been spent, who's polls are up.

10:36 PM: "She deserved it." I was going to say something horrible but I decided not to. Gimme credit.

10:34 PM: Good answer on Stamina.

10:33 PM: STA-MI-NA.

10:29 PM: Putin's briefing on the new nuclear arsenal probably came in handy here.

09.26.2016 - 9:59 PM EDT

10:24 PM: How much time do Trump spend tonight doubling down on his lie about opposing the Iraq War?

10:21 PM: Is the idea that he talked to Hannity privately being opposed to the war. And we're supposed to ask Hannity? Has this come up before? The magazine interview Trump is talking about was almost three years after the war started.

10:18 PM: Taking credit for NATO doing stuff on terrorism. "I'm sure I'm not going to get credit for it, it was largely because of what I was saying, and my criticism of NATO."

10:14 PM: Back to saying we should have taken the oil!!!!! Oh please, please, please someone ask him about this!

10:08 PM: She gets in mentioning Trump inviting Putin to hack America more. She's managing to get in many of these key dark moments for Trump.

10:07 PM: On tax returns, Clinton asks: What is he trying to hide?

10:05 PM: Why is Trump bragging that he settled with no admission of guilt? Also, he's demanding credit for setting up a non-racist club in Florida?

10:03 PM: To understand how Donald Trump saw birtherism as a ticket to political power, watch this video.

10:01 PM: "I say nothing." He cannot apologize. He cannot admit a mistake. "I think I did a great job and a great service in getting the President to give his birth certificate."

10:00 PM: He's deep in the fever swamp. "I figured you'd ask the question." <<< what was that about? This Blumenthal thing has already been discredited.

9:59 PM: Oh lord. Sidney Blumenthal?

9:58 PM: "Abused and used" ... "controlled these communities for a hundreds."

09.26.2016 - 9:25 PM EDT

9:54 PM: One key in this debate is that there haven't really been many long runs into policy questions. That's helped Trump. It's kept him safe.

9:52 PM: How many times through this has Trump guffawed, rolled his eyes, grunted. A lot of this is about the tone, body language, attitude.

9:47 PM: This from Trump is pretty much like the stump speech he's been giving for months. Walk down the street you get shot. Worse than a war zone. Living in hell. Trump is definitely more back on his message now. But I don't think this is helping for the audience he's trying to speak to.

9:42 PM: "What she doesn't say is that tens of thousands of peep that are unbelievably happy and that love me."

9:40 PM: Clinton shuts down snippy Trump on NAFTA: 'You Live in Your Own Reality.'

9:33 PM: Maybe he's not as rich as he says he is ... There's some thermonuclear trolling here ... You can see the fever brewing now. Stand back! This could get ugly. "There's something he's hiding ..."

9:31 PM: Trump: Our whole economy is about to collapse is a fiery hell ... You pathetic American losers need me.

9:27 PM: I really didn't think Trump would get this hot and off stride so quickly. She's even keeled. Not the greatest orator but very solid. But she looks happy and he looks angry.

9:26 PM: "You've been fighting ISIS you're entire adult life?"

9:24 PM: He's already angry and filibustering.

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