In the 48 hours leading to the moment the question was asked, Donald Trump had: 1.) been embarrassed by an audio recording of him bragging about sexually assaulting women 2.) organized a press conference with women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct 3.) brought those women to the town-hall debate in St. Louis 4.) and during that debate (in what had to be a first) threatened to jail his opponent if he won the presidency.
At the end of the town hall, at the apex of our long national nightmare of a weekend, regular citizen Karl Becker asked, “Would either of you name one thing you respect in one another?”
HILLARY CLINTON: I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that, and I think that is something that as a mother and a grandmother, is very important to me.”
In one brushstroke she injects humanity into what had been a grim death slog of a debate, she managed to NOT praise Trump directly, and she actually sort of insulted him, given that his ex-wife Ivana has said she raised the Trump children single-handedly, something past comments made by Trump seem to confirm. She closes it out by reminding everyone that she is a human woman with a family and real human emotions and not in any way a robot.
She also said some things about how important the election is and casually mentioned that she has put forth specific policies and plans – unlike some candidates – and that she would prefer to keep the personal attacks out of this, which is something we all needed to hear right then.
Joe Donatelli is Senior Writer at Los Angeles magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @joedonatelli and Facebook. He wrote All the Soul-Sucking Corporate Phrases Everyone Loathes: Interpreted.