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12 Must-Read Quotes from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's First Debate

US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off tonight in the first of three debates leading up to the national election on Nov. 8. Moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt, the discussion covered a range of topics, including creating jobs, tax cuts, the racial divide in America, cybersecurity, and homegrown terrorism.

Going into the highly anticipated event, the candidates were in a virtual tie according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, calling the contest “too close to call.”

The commercial-free debate was divided on three topics “America’s Direction,” “Achieving Prosperity” and “Securing America.”

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Here are some of their best quotes on the various topics covered in the wide-ranging debate.

On Creating Jobs in America

Hillary Clinton: “We have to build an economy that works of everyone … I want us to invest in you and invest in your future.”  “We also have to make the economy fairer,” she said, and extolled the benefits of raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing equal pay for equal work, and implementing more profit sharing, paid family leave, earned sick days, and affordable childcare. She wants to “have the wealthy pay their fair share.” She said her opponent supports trickle-down economics.

Donald Trump: “Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico. … China is using our country as a piggy bank.” He continued to say the US has to keep and create more manufacturing jobs in the country. “We have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States and with it, firing all of their people.” “You are going to drive business out. Your regulations are a disaster…. My tax cut is the very biggest since Ronald Reagan’s.”

On Defending Tax Cuts / Increases

Donald Trump: “Well, I'm really calling for major jobs, because the wealthy are going create tremendous jobs. They're going to expand their companies. They're going to do a tremendous job. I'm getting rid of the carried interest provision. And if you really look, it's not a tax —  it's really not a great thing for the wealthy. It's a great thing for the middle class. It's a great thing for companies to expand.”

Hillary Clinton: “Trickle-down did not work. It got us into the mess we were in, in 2008 and 2009. Slashing taxes on the wealthy hasn't worked. And a lot of really smart, wealthy people know that. And they are saying, hey, we need to do more to make the contributions we should be making to rebuild the middle class.”

On America’s Racial Divide:

Hillary Clinton: “We have to restore trust between communities and the police. We have to work to make sure that our police are using the best training, the best techniques, that they're well prepared to use force only when necessary. Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law.”

Donald Trump: “Now …  you do stop and frisk,* which worked very well … in New York. It brought the crime rate way down. But you take the gun away from criminals that shouldn't be having it. We have gangs roaming the street. And in many cases, they're illegally here, illegal immigrants. And they have guns. And they shoot people. And we have to be very strong. And we have to be very vigilant.”

*Holt responded that a federal judge ruled New York City’s stop-and-frisk policies as unconstitutional.

On Implicit Bias in the Criminal Justice System

Hillary Clinton: “I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police. I think, unfortunately, too many of us in our great country jump to conclusions about each other. And therefore, I think we need all of us to be asking hard questions about, you know, why am I feeling this way? But when it comes to policing, since it can have literally fatal consequences, I have said, in my first budget, we would put money into that budget to help us deal with implicit bias by retraining a lot of our police officers.”

Donald Trump: “Look, the African-American community has been let down by our politicians. They talk good around election time, like right now, and after the election, they said, see ya later, I'll see you in four years. The African-American community -- because -- look, the community within the inner cities has been so badly treated. They've been abused and used in order to get votes by Democrat politicians, because that's what it is. They've controlled these communities for up to 100 years.”

On How to Stop Homegrown Terror Attacks

Donald Trump: “Secretary Clinton is talking about taking out ISIS. ‘We will take out ISIS.’ Well, President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out — what, they shouldn't have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.”

Hillary Clinton: “I think we've got to have an intelligence surge, where we are looking for every scrap of information. I was so proud of law enforcement in New York, in Minnesota, in New Jersey. You know, they responded so quickly, so professionally to the attacks that occurred by Rahami. And they brought him down. And we may find out more information because he is still alive, which may prove to be an intelligence benefit.”


Donald Trump: Number one, the 28 countries of NATO, many of them aren't paying their fair share. Number two ... I said, and very strongly, NATO could be obsolete, because ... but I said, they do not focus on terror. … I think we have to get NATO to go into the Middle East with us, in addition to surrounding nations, and we have to knock the hell out of ISIS, and we have to do it fast.”

Hillary Clinton: “We're working with NATO, the longest military alliance in the history of the world, to really turn our attention to terrorism. We're working with our friends in the Middle East, many of which, as you know, are Muslim majority nations. Donald has consistently insulted Muslims abroad, Muslims at home, when we need to be cooperating with Muslim nations and with the American Muslim community.”

The next debate is on Oct. 9.