On Friday October 7, I would’ve sworn that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was mortally wounded. The vulgarity of the leaked Access Hollywood tape seemed too much to overcome. The 48 hours between the release and the second presidential debate gave America a chance to let the issue marinate. All eyes were glued on Trump as he took to the debate stage to see how in the world he would overcome such an embarrassing revelation.
He got off to a rocky start. The odd way he held the microphone while one shoulder was higher than the other made him look nervous. Right out of the gate, the issue was thrown right in his face. Despite what many commentators said afterward, his response was contrite. He didn’t belabor the point but spent just the right amount of time on it. Then he moved on to what some would describe as an odd segue: ISIS. I had suggested he pivot to something more Trumpish, like building the wall or putting Americans back to work, but bringing up ISIS was fine. What he was doing was pointing out that there were far bigger problems to tackle than some ‘locker room’ chatter from 11 years ago.
I had hoped he would hold his tongue on the Bill Clinton sexual predator remarks and Hillary’s role in destroying the women who accused him, and he did. He waited until Hillary pounced on the issue to deliver a jab the Clintons have had coming for 20 years. The bewildered look on Bill Clinton’s face in the audience was priceless.
In all his years of abusing women and having Hillary clean up the mess by destroying lives, Bill has never had anyone with the guts to confront the Clintons head-on. Trump did, and to those of us who’ve waited two decades to see it, it was glorious.
Within 15 minutes of the debate, the tawdry audio tape was all but forgotten. Like Rocky Balboa, Trump took one body blow after another until Hillary had exhausted her arsenal, and then he unloaded on her. It was a thing of beauty.
CNN’s poll said Hillary won the debate but we all know the truth. Trump not only defused the audio tape issue, he destroyed her on every other issue that was brought up. He even left some things on the table for the next debate.
If he wants to win this election, he’s going to have to put a finer point on some of the issues that still are not clear to the American people. When asked by moderators who obviously are pro-actively working for Hillary what he’s going to do to make sure the rich are paying their ‘fair share’ of taxes, Trump needs to tell them and the American people the truth. According to the IRS, the top 5 percent of wage-earners pays 60 percent of the income tax. His question to Hillary should be, “How much of the tax burden do you want them to bear?”
On the issue of his own tax deductions, he needn’t point to Soros and Buffet as doing the same thing. Bill and Hillary wrote off $700,000 of capital gains losses just last year. It’s not on the same scale as Trump but the principle is the same. One doesn’t pay income tax unless one has a profit. You don’t pay taxes on money you lose. It’s something the American people will surely understand if it’s framed in those terms.
Trump’s campaign is miraculously back from the dead. Like Rocky, Trump now has to give us something to cheer for.
Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.