Hillary Clinton took control of the opening minutes of the presidential debate on Monday, going on the attack to question Donald J. Trump’s credentials as a businessman and brand his tax plan as a handout to the wealthy.
Mrs. Clinton, who has trailed Mr. Trump in polls asking voters who they trust more to manage the economy, used barbed language to draw a sharp contrast: She attributed his success in business to “$14 million borrowed from his father” and chastised him for having “rooted for the housing crisis” because he thought it would be lucrative.
Mr. Trump appeared off balance in several of their earliest clashes. He drew heavily from his stump speech in his opening remarks, and cut in to interrupt Mrs. Clinton repeatedly. To her charge that he rooted for an economic collapse, Mr. Trump fired back: “That’s called business, by the way.”
He seemed most comfortable blasting Mrs. Clinton for her long career in politics. “She’s been doing this for 30 years,” Mr. Trump said, “without success.”
And here are the highlights:
■ Mrs. Clinton, looking toward Mr. Trump, said it was “good to be with” him on the same stage at last. “You have to judge us,” she said, in a response to a question about job creation. “Who can shoulder the immense, awesome responsibilities of the presidency?” Mr. Trump replied that “our jobs are fleeing the country.”
■ Mrs. Clinton criticized Mr. Trump’s fiscal plans as “trumped-up trickle-down economics,” before saying he had received millions of dollars of support from his father. “My father gave me a very small loan,” he replied, before appearing to hesitate while addressing Mrs. Clinton. “Secretary Clinton? Is that okay?” he said of her title. “Good.”
■ Mrs. Clinton, seeking to portray Mr. Trump as an enemy of working people, said he had “rooted for the housing crisis” because of the financial opportunities it might afford him. “That’s called business, by the way,” he interjected.