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A presidential debate that began with dueling references to sex assault allegations, wound its way through numerous allegations of lies and featured one candidate telling the other he would put her “in jail,” ended with a compliment and a handshake.
The final question of Sunday’s presidential debate was posed by an audience member who simply wanted to know: “Would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?”
The man’s question drew perhaps the loudest applause and laughter from the crowd at Washington University in St. Louis.
Though moderator Martha Raddatz asked GOP nominee Donald Trump to answer first, Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton jumped in.
“Well, I certainly will, because I think that’s a very fair and important question,” Clinton said. “Look I respect his children.”
The “children” line drew some laughter from the audience, but Clinton continued: “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.”
Trump, who just an hour earlier had looked across the room and told Clinton he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her if he were elected president, returned the praise.
“I consider her statement about my children to be a very nice compliment,” Trump said. “I don’t know if it was meant to be a compliment, but I’m very proud of my children, and they’ve done a wonderful job and they’ve been wonderful, wonderful kids, so I consider that a compliment.
“I will say this about Hillary: She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter, I disagree with much of what she’s fighting for, I do disagree with her judgment in many cases, but she does fight hard and she doesn’t quit and she doesn’t give up and I consider that to be a very good trait.”
Then, though the two candidates did not begin the debate by shaking hands, Trump and Clinton exchanged a handshake as the debate concluded.