I spent the last 45 minutes or so going back through the video and rush transcripts to get a precise version of what I think was one of the key passages in the whole debate: Cooper’s questioning of Trump about the ‘grab’ tape and Trump’s denials. Specifically Trump insisted that Cooper had misunderstood what was said on the tape, that what he was describing was not sexual assault. Here is the back and forth. I’ve bolded the portions where Trump addresses the tape and left unbolded the parts where he switches back and forth to talking about crushing ISIS.
COOPER: The question from Patrice was about are you both modeling positive and appropriate behaviors for today’s youth. We received a lot of questions online, Mr Trump, about the tape that was released on Friday as you can imagine. You called what you said locker room banter. You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?
TRUMP: No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was said. This was locker room talk. I am not proud of it. I apologized to my family. I apologized to the American people. Certainly I am not proud of it. But this is locker room talk. You know when we have a world where you have Isis chopping off heads and … frankly drowning people in steel cages. Where you have wars and horrible, horrible sights all over. Where you have so many bad things happening. This is like medieval times. We haven’t seen anything like this, the carnage all over the world. And they look and they see. Can you imagine the people that are frankly doing so well against us with ISIS. And they look at our country and see what’s going on. Yes I am very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk and it’s one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We’re going to defeat ISIS. ISIS happened a number of years ago in a vacuum that was left because of bad judgment. And I will tell you, I will take care of ISIS. And we should get on to much more important things and much bigger things.
COOPER: Just for the record though, are you saying that what you said on that bus 11 years ago, that you did not actually kiss women without consent or grope women without consent?
TRUMP: I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.
COOPER: So for the record you’re saying you never did that
TRUMP: Frankly … You hear these things are said. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women and women have respect for me.
COOPER: Have you ever done those things?
TRUMP: No, I have not.