Gender played a bigger role in the presidential debate than you think

| September 27, 2016 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post

First presidential debate fact checkHEMPSTEAD, N.Y.

Did he call her “secretary” as a sign of respect or condescension? What about the interruptions? And the matter of her looks or lack of stamina? And then there was Miss Piggy.

Questions about gender ran throughout Monday night’s general-election presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the first ever between man and a woman.

Almost every move could be scrutinized through that lens – Trump interrupting Clinton 46 times to her five, by McClatchy’s count; how he refocused moderator Lester Holt’s question of Trump’s claim that Clinton didn’t look presidential; Trump’s hinting that he’d planned to use former President Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct against her before thinking better of it.

Trump campaign officials dismissed talk that gender was a factor, noting that Trump often aggressively interrupted and insulted male opponents during the Republican primaries.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a Trump adviser, insisted that Clinton had interrupted Trump as many times as he did her Monday – despite the count showing otherwise.

“I think that was fair and warranted,” she said of Trump’s interruptions. “That’s not a problem for women at all. I think women care less about debate tactics than the economy, national security. They want to know, ‘Are my kids going to have a job? Are they going to be safe?’ That’s what women care about.”

Trump made not a single mention of “Crooked Hillary,” the nickname he’s wielded to describe her on the campaign trail.

“I thought he was in part a little hands-off,” said Annelise Orleck, author of “Rethinking American Women’s Activism. “I wondered if he had watched her debate against Rick Lazio. Maybe that’s why he was so restrained.”

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