Trumpocalypse is upon us. Deadline is live-blogging tonight’s first 2016 presidential debate pitting petulant thin-skinned real estate mogul turned reality TV star turned GOP candidate Donald Trump, against the Democrats’ overqualified, over-rehearsed, underliked and under suspicion former Secretary of state/senator/first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The 90-minute event is expected to give the Super Bowl a run for its money, with about 100M people tuning in, in hopes the debate the debate goes small-hands low. Early indicators are good: Clinton attempted some early debate psych-out, inviting Trump reality-TV nemesis Mark Cuban to sit in the front row. Trump punched back with a promised invite to former Bill Clinton gal-pal Gennifer Flowers though sadly, his handlers walked that back. Instead,Benghazi victim family members will join Cuban in Psych-Out Row.

Now let’s get to the action as Deadline’s Lisa de Moraes and Erik Pedersen see it live:

 

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20165:53 pm

 

Dem Clinton surrogates took to TV news this morning to say
their candidate was warming up with mock debates as late as this morning, while
RNC chairman Reince Priebus said Trump is fully prepped for tonight, having
starred in 14 season finales of The
Apprentice
franchise, and fine tuned his “measured, mature and disciplined”
self over the past five or six weeks via telepromptered speeches.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20165:54 pm

The phrase “and now the moment you’ve all been waiting for” — redefined.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20165:55 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20165:56 pm

So Hillary Clinton’s name was misspelled on the debate ticket. Yet somehow they managed to get Hofstra right:

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20165:57 pm

Debate hasn’t even started and already we’ve heard at least two simpering comments about the expected 100M audience.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20165:58 pm

Clinton in power red, Trump with blue tie.

As if the American electorate weren’t confused enough already.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20165:58 pm

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20165:59 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20165:59 pm

The revised start time is supposed to be 9:03:30 ET — or thereabouts.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:00 pm

There will be a split screen for most of the debate tonight, which, as MSNBC’s Brian Williams noted, calls for “facial discipline.” Anyone remember eye-rolling, deep-sighing Al Gore in 2000?


Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:03 pm

And now for the really important stuff: Saints and Falcons are tied 7-7 in the first quarter. Don’t the debate schedulers know that fantasy football games hang in the balance tonight??

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:03 pm

Has Buzzfeed called it yet?

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:03 pm

We kept hearing that Trump did zero prep work with a Clinton stand-in. 

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:04 pm

Cue Lester — and we’re under way.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:05 pm

Handshakes and smiles: Cordial cordial cordial 

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:06 pm

Clinton won the coin flip, so she will receive.

The first question, that is.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:07 pm

Watching Trump during Clinton’s opening salvo.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:07 pm

Hillary Clinton couple seconds in and already the humanizing has started: today is her granddaughter’s birthday.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:09 pm

Donald Trump three seconds in: Mexico.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:09 pm

China building big plants. Big plants. Believe me.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:12 pm

Clinton: Nyah-nyah, my dad was poorer that your dad!

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:13 pm

Hillary pulls Richie Rich offense on Trump. 

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:14 pm

Let me think: Where have I seen that steely, squinty gaze before. Hmmm…

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:16 pm

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:17 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:17 pm

Yo Donny, don’t let them bring their cookies here without a serious tax!

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:18 pm

Trump interrupting. Clinton not.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:19 pm

Obama doubles the debt. Not, you know, the 12 or 13 little wars we’re fighting covertly and otherwise.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:19 pm

Advantage Trump. He is the only one who has mentioned Michigan and Ohio repeatedly, so far.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:20 pm

Donald might start calling her Smilin’ Clinton after this performance

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:21 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:21 pm

No fireworks so far. And didn’t China invent fireworks?

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:21 pm

Is it a boycott?

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:22 pm

Wait — strike that. (Leans in and grabs handful of popcorn,)

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:22 pm

Clinton: “Donald I know you live in your own reality.”

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:22 pm

She is not taking his Interruptor in Chief bait.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:23 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:23 pm

Lose 10 million jobs or gain 3.5 million — discuss.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:24 pm

That’s two Reagan references from Donald It’s like throwing antelopes to the red lions,

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:25 pm

I keep picturing President Trump interrupting speakers at the UN, G8 or wherever.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:26 pm

Trump gives new meaning the to “bully” pulpit.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:27 pm

Hillary’s web site review: Two thumbs down, from General McArthur, Trump says.

First WTF moment of the evening: Trump: “You’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.”

More to time….

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:28 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:28 pm

Wait, if Clinton has been fighting ISIS her whole life, who the hell was MacArthur fighting? I’m lost.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:29 pm

Is that Trump brand water?

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:29 pm

“I think by end of evening I’m going to be blamed for everything,” Clinton snarks.
“Why not?” Trump shoots back.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:30 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:30 pm

“I don’t think top-down works in the United States.” — Walter Mondale 1984?

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:31 pm

Now he’s calling bubbles “big, fat and ugly.” Mr. Trump, you are soon bubblist.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:32 pm

Trump just broke the seal on speaking in the third person.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:33 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:33 pm

Stupid Myanmar, ripping off the US of A like every country in the world.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:33 pm

Lester just fact checked telling Trump that he can release his taxes during an audit.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:34 pm

The crowd couldn’t help reacting to that one. Scoldin’ Lester sets them straight.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:36 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:36 pm

Uh-oh, is he starting to fume inside? There’s that quake-y thing he does right before Mount Saint Donald erupts…

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:36 pm

Strangely silent is Trump as she says there is something he is hiding in re taxes.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:39 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:39 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:39 pm

Sorry, just had a Dem debate flashback…

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:40 pm

Ohhh, burn!

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:40 pm

Look, guys, Trump simply WANTS to be president. Isn’t that enough in 2016? 

“I wanna wanna wanna!”

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:42 pm

Here we go the Donald stiffed me portion of the debate. Clinton says she has an architect in the audience who designed clubhouse for one of his golf courses and “you wouldn’t pay” the agreed upon price. 
“Maybe I was unsatisfied with his work, which our country should do too,” Trump responds.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:42 pm

The King of Debt wants to be the King of America. Honestly, that sounds like a match nowadays,

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:42 pm

Trump has this great comeback line when he’s in a corner: “It’s all words. It’s all soundbites.”

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:44 pm

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:44 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:45 pm

Two minutes on how to bridge the racial divide in U.S.

That’s like an editor shouting across the newsroom, “Give me 10 inches on the history of the Middle East conflicts — now!!”

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:46 pm

“The gun epidemic is the leading cause of death among young African-American men.”

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:46 pm

Why didn’t Trump give a discount code for his new Washington hotel?

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:48 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:48 pm

Remember, Donald Trump is the Law and Order candidate. Get me a meeting with Dick Wolf to pitch “Law & Order: Park Avenue.”

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:49 pm

Lester Holt doing a fine job of ducking the spotlight, unlike most of the primary debate moderators,

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:50 pm

Lester fact checks again! Explains stop and frisk deemed unconstitutional.  Trump says it was a biased judge.
Lester said it’s a form of racial profiling.
Trump says “bad people” should not have guns.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:50 pm

We’re getting a clinic on the American cities where Trump has property. But did he just mention Ferguson? 

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:52 pm

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:53 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:53 pm

One of Reagan’s real legacies: mandatory minimums. Don’t hear that one too often,

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:54 pm

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:55 pm

Implicit bias not just a police issue, Clinton says. “Too many of us jump to conclusions about each other…. but when it comes to policing it can have fatal consequences.”

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:55 pm

Implicit Bias: Can I copyright that movie title now?

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:56 pm

Look! Up on the stage. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s SuperPredator,

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:57 pm

Donald Trump just made news with his no-fly list/no-buy guns comment.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:57 pm

CBS News reported today that murders are up in big cities — but up from near-historic lows.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:58 pm

Whattya have to lose, African-Americans? Vote for me!

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20166:58 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20166:59 pm

No clapping!! Hey, that means you, Row 4, Seat 6!

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:01 pm

Trump: “I go everywhere… You’ve decided to stay home and that’s okay. ”
Clinton fires back that she think he just nicked her for preparing for the debate. “You know what else I prepared for? To be president and I think that’s a  good thing.”

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:01 pm

Now we know Trump practices birther control.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:02 pm

No name calling so far. What kind of 2016 campaign season debate IS this?

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:03 pm

Trump to Lester Holt who keeps trying to get him to answer question about his years of Obama birther blather: “I figured you’d ask the question tonight, of course.”
Clinton: “Just listen to what you heard…He started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen.”

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:03 pm

“Deplorable” — say it, SAY IT!!

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:05 pm

Clinton quotes Michelle Obama from DNC — will Trump quote Melania from the RNC? 

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:05 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:06 pm

Has Palm Beach EVER been called a “tough community”? Well, maybe the South Side,

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:07 pm

Cybersecurity is the topic on the table. Scads of American businesses somehow gulp simultaneously,

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:08 pm

Hillary Clinton talks cybersecurity and foreign hacking, while Trump winds up to talk emails.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:09 pm

My eyes aren’t as sharp as they used to be, but is that an Official Make America Great Again lapel pin, Don? Looks like it only has 48 stars.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:11 pm

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:13 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:14 pm

Clinton wants to take out ISIS leadership. Surprised Trump didn’t interrupt with “And their stinkin’ families too.:

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:14 pm

Clinton wants to take out ISIS leadership. Surprised Trump didn’t interrupt with “And their stinkin’ families too!”

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:16 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:17 pm

Trump says Clinton and Obama live in a vacuum re ISIS. She says U.S. needs to “vacuum up information” from other countries. Who is running for president — Hoover?

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:18 pm

OK, that was cheap and easy. I withdraw the joke, your honor.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:22 pm

Trump contradicts Lester Holt, insisting “I did not support war in Iraq.”
“The record shows otherwise,” Lester Holt countered.

Trump insists he only said it “very lightly” when he did interview with Howard Stern, repeating “very lightly.”

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:22 pm

OK, someone PLEASE call Sean Hannity, already, There’s only so many times we can hear that without cracking,

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:23 pm

When the crowd laughs at a line like, “I also have a much better temperament than her,” you know it’s a whopper.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:23 pm

“I have much better temperament” than Clinton Trump begins to fulminate. “I have a winning temperament. I know how to win.”

Crowd laughs. Clinton lets him run on.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:24 pm

Conspiracy theory: Bill and Hillary went off-register for Donald and Melania’s wedding gift, and he won’t forgive them. 

Explains damn near everything,
Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:24 pm

Pundits reax to Trump tantrum on his better temperament:

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:25 pm

“Taunt America, Feel Our Wrath”: Trump-Pence 2016

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:27 pm

Lester Holt just announces they’re entering last segment — but it’s already 7:27 PM PT

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:28 pm

The final segment. Jeff Zucker now pleading with Lester Holt to let it run three hours.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:29 pm

Should I read anything into the fact that my wall clock just stopped? Disturbing,,,

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:30 pm

NBC News leaps to Lester Holt’s defense, patting him on the back for fact-checking Trump who “maintains discredited claim of early Iraq War opposition.”

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:31 pm

Clinton has talked with many leaders across the globe. Mr. Trump?

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:31 pm

Hillary plays diplomacy card, assuring Japan “our word is good” in re Trump questioning whether U.S. would continue to defending them.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:34 pm

Is this really the first mention — albeit tacitly — of Hillary’s death throes?

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:35 pm

Uh-oh, the crowd has awakened. No one worried about being thrown out at this point.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:35 pm

Maybe they want to get 86’d at this point.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:37 pm

My guess at the final question: “What do you think of the new fall TV shows? Two minutes.”

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:37 pm

Holt notes Trump said previously Clinton “doesn’t have the look” to be commander in chief. Trump insisted he said she doesn’t have the stamina (which he also has said.)

“The quote was “I just don’t think she has the presidential look,” Holt insisted.  Trump snaps back at Holt.
Clinton notes he’s called women pigs and slobs.”

Trump acknowledged he’s said those sort of things about Rosie O’Donnell.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:38 pm

Did Holt just throw out a question about whether the losing side will revolt in November?

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:38 pm

“Will you accept the outcome as the will of the voters?”

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:38 pm

Holt asks Trump if he will accept outcome of the vote. “I want to make America great again,” Trump responded.
Holt asks again. “If she wins I will absolutely support her,” Trump says.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:39 pm

Answer: I want to make America great again.”

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:39 pm

But the question, Mt Trump…

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:39 pm

Sneaky editors are prepping footage of ” I will absolutely support her.”

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:41 pm

Bill Clinton onstage. And Melania Trump.

Uh-oh.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:42 pm

MSNBC says debate was “two separate conversations.” Solid.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:43 pm

C’mon, Hillary — crowd surf! You know you wanna.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:44 pm

Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on the debate in our comments section below.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:46 pm

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:48 pm

Anyone else notice how fast the Trumps fled the stage? It was magnified by the room-working Clintons sticking around,

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:48 pm

Anyone else notice how fast the Trumps fled the stage? It was magnified by the room-working Clintons sticking around.

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:49 pm

And the postmortem punditry is on.

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:50 pm

Holt notes Trump said previously Clinton “doesn’t have the look” to be commander in chief. Trump insisted he said she doesn’t have the stamina (which he also has said.)

“The quote was “I just don’t think she has the presidential look,” Holt insisted.  Trump snaps back at Holt.
Clinton notes he’s called women pigs and slobs.”

Trump acknowledged he’s said those sort of things about Rosie O’Donnell – adding, “I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.”

Lisa de Moraes September 26, 20167:53 pm

Lester Holt bashing begins:

Erik Pedersen September 26, 20167:59 pm

That’s a wrap for the first presidential debate of 2016. We’ll be back on October 9 for “Trump-Clinton 2: The Sequel.” Let us know what you thought of tonight’s action and, most important, who won. Good night, folks.