Clinton spokesman, Trump campaign manager react to first presidential debate

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," September 26, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight, a history making showdown.  Fifteen months in the making. Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump in the highly anticipated first presidential debate. And it appeared nothing was off limits.

Welcome to a live 11:00 p.m. edition of "The Kelly File," everyone I'm Megyn Kelly. Reporting tonight from the spin room at Hofstra University. It was just about 20 minutes ago that the 90 minutes slug fest ended. And now, the candidates and their supporters are furiously trying to spin the narrative. Interestingly it was Hillary Clinton who struck first, hitting Donald Trump on his privileged past and from there, things went downhill, quickly.

Much of the debate was not necessarily focused on policy, but on the politics of personal destruction. And when it was all over, analysts say Mrs. Clinton scored by saying on offense, but Mr. Trump hardly disqualified himself. Here are just a few highlights. Watch.  


HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You have to judge us. Who can shoulder the immense, awesome responsibilities of the presidency?

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You've been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now?

CLINTON: I know how to really work to get new jobs and to get exports that help to create more new jobs.

TRUMP: Well, you haven't done it in 30 years or 26 years.

CLINTON: Well, I've been a senator --

TRUMP: You haven't done it.

CLINTON: I have been a secretary of state. And I have done --

TRUMP: Excuse me. You have been signed NAFTA, which is one of the worst thing that's ever happened --  

CLINTON: That is your opinion.  

TRUMP: She's telling us how to fight ISIS, she's go to her website, she tells you how to fight ISIS on her website. I don't think General Douglas MacArthur like that.

LESTER HOLT, MODERATOR: All right. The next segment, we're continuing the subject --

CLINTON: Well, at least I have a plan to fight ISIS.  

TRUMP: No, no. You're telling the enemy everything you want to do.

CLINTON: No, we're not.

TRUMP: You're telling the enemy everything you want to do. No wonder you've been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.  

CLINTON: I have no reason to believe that he's ever going to release his tax returns because there is something he's hiding.

TRUMP: A typical politician. All talk, no action. Sounds good. Doesn't work.

Secretary Clinton doesn't want to use a couple of words. And that is law and order.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton, last week, you said we've got to do everything possible to improve policing to go right at implicit bias, do you believe that police are implicitly biased against black people?

CLINTON: Lester, I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone. Not just police.

TRUMP: Well, I have much better judgment than she does. There is no question about that.


KELLY: We have a huge show lined up for you tonight. In moments, we'll check in with Hillary Clinton's National Press Secretary Brian Fallon along with Trump campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway. Marc Thiessen is here. Mo Elleithee is here as well. Plus, Judge Andrew Napolitano has been standing by.

But we begin tonight with Chris Stirewalt and Howie Kurtz who are right here with me on the set. Great to see you guys both here in the spin alley.  


KELLY: Your reaction.

STIREWALT: How about them apples? That's what I say.

KELLY: Exciting.

STIREWALT: We've been waiting to get down to it and we got down to it.  

KELLY: And they went for it. I mean, Palmieri (ph) was like, oh, we're just going to, I mean, that was spin I suppose.

STIREWALT: We're going to have a conversation with the American people, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Pow, pow, pow, pow. I think she had a better night than he did. But he definitely didn't take himself at anything. And I would remind any Trump supporters who are feeling a little uneasy about his performance tonight, there three of these suckers. Right?  And he's going to get better at these things.

KELLY: Like we've had with Romney and President Obama.

STIREWALT: Exactly. He's going to get better at these things as he is aware of the format and understands it better, he let a lot of opportunities go by this time, especially on her email. There were shades of Romney and Benghazi with Obama that he just let the email issue just slide right off the table and didn't press her on that.  

KELLY: He had one line come back that was good.  

STIREWALT: That was a very good line. Where he talked about it was intentional and there was all that. But he let it go because she distracted him by making fun of his taxes.  

KELLY: Right. And Howie, your thoughts?

HOWIE KURTZ, HOST, "MEDIABUZZ": The good news for Donald Trump is that he discussed serious issues for 90 minutes. For the Secretary of State, didn't commit any major gaffes. But Hillary Clinton won the night on points. She was aggressive out of the gate and in basketball terms, she controlled the ball. So even when Donald Trump was scoring points, he was doing so on response to her on her issues. She particularly was strong during the birther exchange, his tax returns, his stiffing private businessman, and sure Trump scored some points. But she kind of controlled the tempo of the evening. She also got some help I think from Mr. Holt.  

KELLY: How so? What do you mean? You're a media critic.

KURTZ: Well, for all of the debate about Lester Hold and what he fact check and so forth. The most aggressive questions from the NBC moderator, the most attempts have fact checking, the most interruptions were all into Trump particularly on the birther issue, on race issue and on the tax returns. I don't think there's any question about it.

STIREWALT: I mean, to be fair, I thought Mr. Holt did a pretty good job.  

KURTZ: He let them go at it which is good. It was a tough situation. But on those instances you're talking about, Trump didn't answer the questions, right? Trump was deflecting. But on the email, the only thing he asked Clinton was to respond Donald Trump bringing up as opposed to --  

KELLY: Well, you can do it like that as a moderator if you know you want to get to it. The point is to get them talking about. But he opened the debate with the subject very favorable to Trump.


KELLY: Trump had very solid 15, 20 minutes on TPP, in trade and he was doing great at the beginning. Right?

STIREWALT: Right. Right.

KELLY: It wasn't until he was put on the defense that things started to --  

STIREWALT: And then Lester Holt goes into the bar and opens the door, opens all the stable doors and waits there for Trump to come run the horses out and trample her on email and he starts going back to his taxis.  

KURTZ: I think Hillary Clinton's bemused expression as she responded to and deflected some of Donald Trump's one liners got under his skin. He started to talk louder, faster, trying to compete with her. And as time went on, it seemed to me that he got a little more disjointed and she was - -  

KELLY: You tell me whether she got a little cocky in the end there. That one shot, with the shoulders. And she had done a good job of keeping her composure throughout the debate. She had a couple lines that fell flat where she said, I think he's making fun of the fact that I stayed home to prepare for this debate, do you know what else I prepared for? This presidency. Like --


It was just a throw away comment he made like I was in these cities, you weren't there. I don't know if, you tell me whether it requires a response or the shoulder shake.

STIREWALT: She also made a notable error on the same thing, about being cocky, about being arrogant. At the end, when Lester Holt heated up and said, Mr. Trump, you said she didn't look presidential, is that about her gender? Is that about her being a woman? And her answer was that stupid thing that she says all the time. About I flew to these many countries and like -- you're letting it go by, then she realized belatedly, oh, right, I have something to say about him being sexist and I forgot to say she kind of jammed it in.  

KELLY: All right. I want to stand you by. We're going to go back to you guys because we have Charles Krauthammer lined up. And I want to get your thoughts. Charles, what did you think?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, I mean, it was not exactly the knock out fight that we thought. It was a spirited fight. I think in the end it was something like a draw. But I do believe that the draw goes to the challenger in the sense that Trump did not go over the line. And the very fact that he could go 90 minutes on the same stage automatically elevates the challenger. That's just automatic for any debate of that sort. I think he did allow himself to get very defensive and she exploited that.

She kept coming back to things where he wasted a lot of time on taxes, on some of the other issues that he felt personally about, and, as a result, he missed a lot of opportunities. She presented herself as she always does. Solid, solid, knows her stuff, not terribly exciting but reliable.  And I think that is the best that she can do. Likable as she couldn't but that was not something within her reach. And he contained himself in the sense that, I don't think he committed any gaffes. But he allowed himself to sort of, she could find something personal about him that would make him go down radicals at a time when he had wide openings to go after her on e- mails and other items, and let them go.  

KELLY: What did you make of the fact that prior to the debate, analysts were saying they both needed to reach out to college-educated white voters.  That they're fighting over this colleague-educated white voters that would normally be voting Republican, but have some hesitancy over Trump, sub- urban whites in particular did either make any progress as you saw it with that group.  

KRAUTHAMMER: I don't think so at all. I don't think there was anything of substance that would capture one constituency or another. That either of them said. I think this is all about atmospherics, all about personality.  I mean, the reason the debate was so anticipated is in the that people wanted to hear what would be said on this issue or that, people have heard the issues expressed by the candidates nonstop, now, for months.

They know their positions. They wanted to see how they interact and what their demeanor is. And I thought on demeanor she came out slightly ahead but nonetheless, because so he was heralded as a guy who sort of out of control, you can't trust nuclear codes to and all that. The fact that he was reasonably sort of moderate, moderating himself, I think is to his advantage. So on edge, if you had to say, does it have an impact?  Probably not. But anything it would at least not stopped his momentum.

KELLY: Charles, great to see you. My pleasure.

KRAUTHAMMER: So there was a big reaction from debate observers tonight when Mrs. Clinton took her first question on emails. Watch.


CLINTON: I made a mistake using a private email.  

TRUMP: That is for sure.  

CLINTON: And if I had to do it over again, I would obviously do it differently, but I'm not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake and I take responsibility for that.  

HOLT: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: That was more than a mistake. That was done purposely. That was not a mistake. That was done purposely. When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth, so they're not prosecuted, when you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, I think it's disgraceful. And believe me, this country thinks it's disgraceful, really thinks it's disgraceful, also.  


KELLY: Joining me now, Brian Fallon who is the national press secretary for the Clinton campaign. Brian, great to see you.  


KELLY: So, I'm sure you think that she won and she did beautifully. But let me ask you --


KELLY: Let me ask you this before we get to the spin. She's taking some hits for claiming she didn't say that NAFTA was a gold standard. She did say that. Right? So, what did you make of the fact checking that was done on the spot?


KELLY: Yes. I'm sorry. On TPP.

FALLON: Right. So, look. I think she explained that in the course of the debate. At one point when she was secretary of state, she was hoping that the deal -- it was final negotiated in this full detail, would be something she could support. Once she has had the details of it, it feel to me they're test, she's been pretty clear and open about that.  

KELLY: But she denied saying that it was the gold standard and she did say that.  

FALLON: That was something that was said in an earlier point before the deal was negotiated. I think overall though, she only issued the economy.  The first 15 minutes were devoted to the subject of the economy. I think she took her fight to Donald Trump right away. The economy was the number one issue that we wanted to talk about in this debate because it's a number one issue on the minds of all the voters including on the persuadable voters that are left in this election still making up their minds.

And I think from the beginning, she showed that she was a candidate that have the plans to get wages rising in this country and she really put him on his heels when she said she wants to build an economy that works for everybody. Not just those that have a long -- to help get them started in business. And that really seemed to have merit.  

KELLY: So, what, over all, did she execute the plan that you had for her?  Because we were told that she wasn't really going to try him out, that she didn't think it was worth it. But it seemed like that was exactly what she did, she was on the attack most of the night.  

FALLON: Well, I have to be honest. We were surprised by the Donald Trump that showed up tonight. I mean, this is the Donald Trump that we saw throughout the primary. But I really thought that his debate coaches like Roger Ailes and Kellyanne Conway were really going to impress upon him the need to really come and try to strike and even tone and show a temperament that he hasn't shown at any point in this campaign in the last second bid to try to seem like he was temperamentally fit to be commander-in-chief.

Instead I think that anybody that has concerns about Donald Trump heading into this debate only have those concerns. This was somebody that from the tail end of the debate, seemed to really go off the rails. And at one point tried to, well, I think that he doubled down on some of the biggest lies that he's told in this campaign. Whether it was his role in promoting the birtherism theory or his support for the Iraq war. I think that led to a tangent that was quite frankly hard to follow.  

KELLY: Wait, can I ask you about the birtherism though because understanding all that Trump did to promote that lie. Okay?

FALLON: Right.

KELLY: Granting for the purposes of this discussion that he did promote that. She did some of that as well.

FALLON: She didn't.  

KELLY: Explain why that is true.


KELLY: Trump was right that the McClatchy bureau chief from the time came out to him and said that Sid Blumenthal who was her right hand came to him and said, go to Kenya. Go investigate this. We think Trump may have been born there. And so, somebody in Kenya to go and investigate it.  

FALLON: So, Politico looks into those things actually and a couple of weeks ago, Blake Hounshell from Politico actually published a report, he talked to the reporters that were based overseas that were actually tasked by this senator in Washington to look into this. And they said this is something else entirely. We weren't looking into birtherism.  

KELLY: They said they couldn't remember. They said they went over. And what the reporter who spoke with this McClatchy bureau chief said was, I'm certain that would have been one of the things that they would asked us to look into. He said, I don't actively recall it but I'm certain it's one of the things they would asked us to look into.

FALLON: So what Donald Trump really stressed in the debate stage tonight, he invoked the former campaign manager of Hillary Clinton from 2008.  

KELLY: Patti Solis Doyle.

FALLON: Right. And said that she went on television last week and admitted that they had some role in the birtherism conspiracy. That's not at all what she said. She acknowledged that there was one original organizer in Iowa -- and as soon as they learned about it, they fired that person. There is a huge difference between --

KELLY: Just to let our audience know, this is your candidate, Hillary Clinton leaving the building, probably going home and taking a rest after a long, long night here in -- and the former president Bill Clinton, after a long long night here at Hofstra University which was full of fireworks.  Sorry Brian, go ahead.

FALLON: Well, I think actually that we have a debate watch party close by.  

KELLY: Oh, is that right?

FALLON: We'll see.

KELLY: Okay. It wasn't a comment on her health, I'm just saying it's been a hell of a day for even the reporters. Never mind the candidate.  

FALLON: I think she was pretty tireless up there.  

KELLY: She seemed very fine. Her health is fine. Is she over pneumonia?

FALLON: Well, I think it takes a while to get over pneumonia. But she certainly didn't show any signs of it tonight.  

KELLY: Before we move away from the birther issue, and I wanted to see if we have the sound bite, do we have the sound bite about -- on Trump talking about how he did President Obama a favor? All right. We don't. But let me paraphrase. He basically said, and I have the note here, that I think I did a great job for the whole country on that and for the president himself to get him to release that birth certificate. There were audible gasps inside the auditorium when he said that. What was your reaction?

FALLON: I mean, what nerve, what chutzpah to act like he did the president a favor after trafficking in a bigoted birtherism conspiracy for five years and undercut our first African-American president. I think Hillary Clinton put in pretty poignant terms about what that meant both to the country and to the President personally, and it's a shame that he just won't apologize.  

KELLY: What do you make of the fact that these polls have tightened to a place that has got to be someone uncomfortable for the Clinton campaign.  She has, you know, almost seven point lead in the Real Clear Politics average. Now, it's down to Colorado, he's up one now. Pennsylvania within two. All states that she's winning in double digits just a month ago.  

FALLON: Absolutely. You're exactly right. The race is tight. And one thing that I don't think people should conclude from tonight is even though I think this is a huge victory for Hillary Clinton, I don't expect it to change in the polls. I think that is just the nature of the race. I think the contest is going to be tight all the way through to the finish line and it's really going to come down to the ground game.

KELLY: Last question. Hillary Clinton went on record, and called yours truly a superb journalist when Trump was attacking me. Why won't she come on "The Kelly File"?

FALLON: I agree a thousand percent that her characterization of yours as a superb journalist, and I think it's only a matter of time.  

KELLY: Before the election?

FALLON: I'm going to go back right after I walk off this platform here and make the case --

KELLY: Good. Good.

FALLON: -- to get her on the show.  

KELLY: Brian, thank you.


KELLY: I appreciate you being here. Now, Donald Trump is leaving. Maybe he is going home to rest. That is what I'm going to be doing after I leave here. Maybe he's going to watch -- but you can see Donald Trump with his entire family. That is Ivanka's husband, Jared Kushner who many insiders connected to the campaign say has more influence over the way Donald Trump run his campaign than anyone else. Ivanka and Jared have become really important to Donald Trump in how he handles himself and makes his strategic decisions in there of course as Melania Trump and the rest of Trump's family. What a night for both candidates. And what a night for all of us.

How many millions of Americans tuned in to watch that rumble here in Hofstra. More must see reaction on the way with former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, the one gaffe he says he saw tonight. And in 2008, Clinton campaign travelling Press Secretary Mo Elleithee. Also "Fox & Friends" co-host Tucker Carlson is here along with former White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton, Judge Andrew Napolitano who helped us through the entire email scandal is here tonight with a fascinating take.

And then supporters of both candidates debate who won the night. Robert Zimmerman and David Wohl are back in two minutes. Don't go away.


TRUMP: When ISIS formed in this vacuum created by Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton, and believe me, you're the ones that took out the troops. Not only that. You named -- they couldn't believe it. They sat back probably and said --


Wait a minute. When they formed -- when they formed, this is something that never should have happened. Should have never happened. Now, you're talking about taking out ISIS. But you were there and you were Secretary of State when it was a little infant. Now, it's just over 30 countries and you're going to stop them? I don't think so.




CLINTON: You've got to ask yourself, why won't he release his tax returns?  And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he's not as rich as he said he is. Second, maybe he's not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don't know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks or maybe, he doesn't want the American people, all of you watching tonight to know that he's paid nothing in federal taxes.


KELLY: That was Hillary Clinton on the attack, questioning why Donald Trump will not release his tax information. He says he's under audit.

Joining us now, supporters of both candidates, David Wohl, an attorney and a Donald Trump supporter. And Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and Hillary Clinton supporter and host of "Shark Tank."

Great to see you both. Let me start with you, Mark. Because you made a lot of news over the weekend because Hillary put you in the front row.


KELLY: To get into Donald Trump's head.

KELLY: And do you feel you did that?

CUBAN: No. No. And let me just give you the exact story. I wanted to bring my 12-year-old daughter who is turning 13 to the debate. And so, they got me two tickets and I decided to tweet and added that I was going but I just added the part that I added front row.

KELLY: So, you went rogue on that.

CUBAN: So I went rogue on that. And I didn't think it would blow up.

KELLY: Next thing you know, Gennifer Flowers is called to show up.  

CUBAN: Oh, God! So, yes.  

KELLY: You were happy there was no Gennifer?

CUBAN: I didn't care. I was just there for the event.  

KELLY: You were happy there was no Gennifer.

DAVID WOHL, ATTORNEY: Well, I think it would have been a circus side show, yes. But --

KELLY: All right. Let me get you to react to the first, you know, 20 minutes that we had here. Because these are all objective, you know, political analyst. They're not Trump fans, they're not Hillary fans, they're just saying how they thought.

WOHL: I thought right off the bat, Hillary looked like she's breathing a prompter. I mean, it really looked scripted. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. But then, I saw Trump and frankly he did revert to the original Donald Trump. The Trump that blew him up to where he is right now. That sort of off the cuff spontaneous --

KELLY: You like that?

WOHL: I like it. His voters love it. He got his issues out there. You know, he put America first out there. He got to save jobs. Don't let jobs flee the country. He's got his law and order out there. And he's got a little bit, not enough -- into Hillary Clinton's tax situations, the e- mails.  

KELLY: He took the bait on that. When she went through why isn't he releasing his tax returns?

WOHL: But he should have gone right --

KELLY: He didn't pivot way from it.  

WOHL: He should have gone right into her problems with the emails, her problems with the Clinton Foundation. Look, if the IRS says, I can release my taxes and my lawyer says no, I'm not releasing it.

KELLY: Yes. Right.

WOHL: I will listen to my lawyer's advice and that is what it boils down to. So, I think it was a red herring. It was a distraction. And threw him off a little bit.  

KELLY: Mark, did you think -- most of the analysts are saying that Trump had a strong 15-20 minutes on the economy. You know, on trade was his issue. Mexico, China, on TPP, on NAFTA. Did you agree with that?

CUBAN: Yes. I agree with it. I mean, I don't necessary agree on what he was saying but he was cool, calm, when he was talking about it. But the rest of the debate he was counter punching like he tries to do but he never took control of a question. Remember, we had -- there was a moderator who asked questions and more often than not he didn't answer the question and never got around to answering question. And you can tell that it kind of frazzled him. And then when Secretary Clinton came back with specifics, he was just deflecting and changed the topic. I just didn't feel, he had a real opportunity to take control of his issues and prove that he understood them, and he didn't do that at all.  

KELLY: Do you think that she was fact-checked enough? Because, you know, she claimed that she never TPP was a gold standard and she did. She brushed off the Sydney Blumenthal thing is not true, but it is true. I mean, at least there's evidence for it.

CUBAN: Well, and that is fine, right? And he just brought it up and they just moved on, right? Both ways. So, yes, everybody is going to fact- check after the fact, but Donald had a chance, if he really understood those issues to talk more about them. Because it wasn't like he just stuck to the script. He went in whatever direction he wanted to do.

WOHL: No, I thought --

CUBAN: They asked him, what are you going to do about domestic terrorism and he still hasn't answered it.   

WOHL: You know, I thought he did unbelievably well when it came to law and order, crime and justice. And the issue of crime in New York City, you recall that Hillary Clinton says it's gone down, Donald Trump says, that's a lie. And it turns out, rape, robbery, murders skyrocketed, property crime, inconsequential crime is down. So, he should have brought that up a little, more formally but that is true. Really serious crimes is way up.  When it comes to law and order, she won't even say those words and that's critical --  

KELLY: We actually have a sound bite of that. Let's watch Trump and Hillary arguing over crime in New York City.  


TRUMP: Stop and frisk had a tremendous impact on the safety of New York City. Tremendous beyond belief. So when you say it has no impact, it really did, it had a very, very big impact.  

CLINTON: Well, it's also fair to say if we're going to talk about mayors that under the current mayor, crime has continued to drop, including murders. So there is --

TRUMP: You're wrong. You're wrong.

CLINTON: No, I'm right.

TRUMP: Murders are up.


KELLY: Murders are up and these are the facts. In 2014, it was 333 murders. In 2015, it was 352 murders.

CUBAN: What was the question?


CUBAN: And he deflected from the question, right? Because the question then that was asked by Lester, is it constitutional? And then he went talking about local judges and deal with --  


KELLY: In New York.

WOHL: In New York. And as it turns out when they did stop and frisk, they often found people who are illegally carrying weapons.

CUBAN: Okay.

WOHL: So Black, White, Hispanic --  

CUBAN: Where does stop and frisk end? Who gets to determine who is stopped and who is frisked? Let me finish.

KELLY: Let him finish.

CUBAN: Because at point they're just going to stop and frisk you and look for a gun. So there is a lot more at stake.

WOHL: They have to articulate a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is -- that is a standard. And when they can do that, that's not what he said.

KELLY: But let me ask you this. What about the accusation that Trump did not get specific on the plan for ISIS again?

WOHL: Well, look. I mean he asked that before that he's going to carpet bomb the, you know what out of them. I think he would do that. He can get very, very aggressive. But he also acknowledges that is hard to deal with.  Number one priority is stopping them here, and every single week, we're seeing a new attack.

KELLY: I got to ask you this.

CUBAN: Two more debates.

KELLY: We have a bunch to get but I have got to ask you this. Why don't you like Donald Trump? You're a billionaire. He's a billionaire. Is it professional envy, jealously, you know, gorilla situation? What is it?

CUBAN: No. It's about my kids, it's about the future of this country.  But you saw his temperament. At the base of everything he said tonight, he said, he would not honor our commitments as a country. And he proved that, that's his way of doing business.  

WOHL: Like NATO when they're not going to pay their fair share.  

CUBAN: Yes. But exactly. And world peace. What is more important?  Asking for more money from Japan or world peace?

WOHL: We'll get both. We will get both. They have to pay their fair share if they want our forces to risk their lives.  

CUBAN: Fair share is relative to Donald Trump. He stiffed architects and thousands of people and he stood up there on the debate stage that they just didn't do it. Maybe I didn't think they did a good enough job and that is why they didn't get paid. So, what are you going to say to Japan when North Korea decides to test in their direction? While you didn't pay enough so we're not going to be there for you?

WOHL: We all know --

KELLY: We have to leave it at that.

WOHL: Okay.

KELLY: Great to see you both. That was fun. That was --

WOHL: Awesome.  

KELLY: Okay. As I mentioned a moment ago, one of the big moments early in this debate came when Donald Trump went after Mrs. Clinton on the issue of trade and her support for the TPP deal. Listen.  


TRUMP: Just to ask you this. You've been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now?

CLINTON: I think my husband did a pretty good job in the 1990s.  

TRUMP: Excuse me.

CLINTON: And I have done --

TRUMP: Your husband signed NAFTA, which was one of the worst things that ever happened to manufacturing. You said, I can't win that debate. But you know that if you did win, you would you approve that. And that would be almost as bad as NAFTA. Nothing will ever top NAFTA.  

CLINTON: Well, that is just not accurate. I was against it once it was finally negotiated and the terms were laid out. I wrote about that in --

TRUMP: You called it the gold standard.

CLINTON: Well --

TRUMP: You called it the gold standard of trade deals. You said it's the finest deal you've ever seen.  


TRUMP: And then, you heard what I said about it and all of a sudden, you were against it.


KELLY: Mrs. Clinton repeatedly denied Trump's claims, suggesting at one point, he lived in a world of made-up information. But here was Mrs. Clinton back in 2012.


CLINTON: We need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Australia is a critical partner.

This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world's total trade, and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.


KELLY: Joining me now, Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institution fellow and Fox News Contributor, and Mo Elleithee, executive director at Georgetown University's Institution of Politics and Public Service.

Great to see you both.


KELLY: I mean, let's just -- let's just cut through it. She flipped on TPP. She -- she flipped on it.

MO ELLEITHEE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Yes, I mean, look, I think she gave herself enough room (ph) in the beginning that she got to a point where she can say, look, you know, if this thing isn't negotiated the way I like it, then I'm not going to be important (ph).  That's where she is.

It's more probably one of her tougher things that she's dealing with.

KELLY: Because she flipped.


ELLEITHEE: Well, when you look at it and compare it to the rest of this -- the rest.

KELLY: OK, fine, fine. There's plenty of, you know, blame to go around.


KELLY: But she flipped on that issue. He had her on that one.

THIESSEN: If she -- if she had said what Mo just said, she'd be fine.

KELLY: Yes, that's right.

THIESSEN: But that's not what she said.

KELLY: She denied it.

THIESSEN: Yes, exactly.

KELLY: The other thing is that we didn't get to yet, she -- she accused him of saying climate change is a hoax and that it was done for the benefit of China. He -- he denied that. He did send that out in a tweet in 2012.

It's still on his Twitter feed. He later tried to claim that that was a joke. But he repeatedly referred to climate change as a hoax and recently said that it's for the benefit of China.

So they lie. I mean, that's what we are left with.


They lied to us. And we, as the media, have to try to separate the wheat from the chaff. What did you think was the biggest gap?

THIESSEN: Well, the biggest gap, I think, was on nuclear policy. And I don't think it's going to have a big impact on voters because I think it's -- it's -- it's kind of in the weeds.

But he said that he -- he -- he seemed to take nuclear.

KELLY: So it's (ph) Trump -- Trump, you mean (ph).

THIESSEN: Trump -- Trump -- Trump seemed to take a nuclear first strike off the table, which would make him the first president in the nuclear  age going all the way back to -- to Eisenhower to have taken a nuclear first strike off the table. That's very troubling for national security concern as you're looking and they're struggling with whether to vote for Trump or not, that that -- that struggle came up (ph).

KELLY: And who think (ph) that she may be more of a hawk than he is?

THIESSEN: Yes, possibly.

KELLY: All right, let's go bigger picture now. What was your impression of the debate?

ELLEITHEE: You know, look, Donald Trump's bar was really low coming in.  The problem with a low bar is it's easy to trip over it. I think he totally tripped over it tonight.

I don't he met even low expectations.


ELLEITHEE: I think he came -- he reverted to primary Trump, right, at a time when he was trying to -- and his team said he was going to sort of elevate. He reverted to primary Trump but without -- with less charm, right?

I mean, he was angry. He was defensive. She got under his skin very early. I thought she might one or two points in the debate. But I mean, from like 10 minutes in through the duration, she was clearly in his head and under his skin.

And I don't think he reacted well. She took him off his game. His core message was missing.

KELLY: So they both want to be likable, Marc.


KELLY: He -- maybe, she was doing a good job of making him seem a little, you know, boorish. But then, towards the end, with her like with the shoulders, it was like.

THIESSEN (?): Yes.

KELLY: .wow, too much. We've gone too far. Am I wrong?

THIESSEN: No, I don't think you're wrong. And I -- but I think that he made a big mistake in -- in constantly interrupting her, that.

KELLY: We had a little bit of that. Do we have that sound bite because you can just -- just to show the audience what -- what we were seeing and how it felt here? Do we have it?

Sorry, my team is doing a brilliant job. We have a lot of sound crews (ph) separating it out. Do you have it? Do you have the interrupting sound bite?

Stand by. This is fun. Keep going. I won't interrupt you again, sorry.

THIESSEN: But the point being is that he kept (ph) -- he came (ph) as consistently interrupting her. And if you go back to the first debate in 2000, when Al Gore was debating George W. Bush, he -- he won the debate on points, on substance.

But he kept sighing. And he kept rolling his eyes. And so people looked at him and said, you look like a jerk. And -- and that was their impression.

And I think to Trump's interrupting, even had (ph) a few sighs when she was.

ELLEITHEE: A couple of (ph) groans, yes.

THIESSEN: .a couple of groans, that that will be the -- the sigh and eye roll of the 2016 debate. So I think -- I think she came out ahead in this debate. But let's keep in mind that in 2012, Romney crushed Barack Obama in the first debate.

KELLY: He did.


THIESSEN: So this is -- this is far from over.

ELLEITHEE (?): That's right.

KELLY: Barack Obama's top advisers pulled him after that debate and said, you sucked. And he was like what? And if they said you sucked, and even Michelle Obama pulled him aside and said yes, you suck.

But he came out a different man.

THIESSEN: But -- but does -- but does Donald Trump have people in his campaign who will turn around and look at him and say, "You sucked tonight?"

ELLEITHEE: Well, and more importantly, is he the kind of candidate who will listen to that.

THIESSEN: Exactly, yes.

ELLEITHEE: .and -- and recalibrate and adjust? I mean, if this entire campaign tells us anything, it's that he's not.

KELLY: But did he lose any viewer -- I mean, any voters tonight, Mo, when you build (ph) that college-advocated (ph) white crowd that -- that they were telling -- they're telling if they're fighting over?

ELLEITHEE: I don't think he expanded, right? If -- if that college- educated white crowd right now is sitting on the fence, I don't think he pulled them over to his side.

I think, if anything, he raised doubts and concerns with a lot of these people on a whohle host of issues from foreign policy and national security to even the economy and taxes. When she said, you don't pay income taxes, and he said, that's because I'm smart.

KELLY: It makes me smart.

ELLEITHEE: .I mean, what does that say about the rest of us, chumps (ph), that do pay income taxes?


KELLY: We suck, too.


ELLEITHEE: Well (ph), all of us. Great to see you, guys.

THIESSEN (?): Great to be here (ph).

ELLEITHEE (ph): You, too.

KELLY: Well, Donald Trump has made this campaign largely about his business past, saying he has the right experience to turn the country around. Mrs. Clinton, for her part, claims there are certain part of Mr. Trump's past dealing, he would like to ignore, even invoking his new campaign manager.


CLINTON: If your main claim to be president of the United States is your business, then I think we should talk about that. You know, your campaign manager said that you built a lot of businesses on the backs of little guys.

And indeed, I have met a lot of the people who were stiffed by you and your businesses. We have an architect in the audience who designed one of your clubhouses at one of your golf courses.

It's a beautiful facility. It immediately was put to use. And you wouldn't pay what the man needed to be paid what he was charging you to do.

TRUMP: Maybe he didn't do a good job and I was unsatisfied with his work.

CLINTON: .well, do -- do (ph).

TRUMP: .which our country should do, too.

CLINTON: .do the -- do (ph) the thousands of people that you have stiffed over the course of your business, not deserve some kind of apology?

TRUMP: When Secretary Clinton talks about people that didn't get paid, first of all, they did get paid a lot but taken advantage of the laws of the nation. Now, if you want to change the laws -- you've been there a long time -- change the laws.

But I take advantage of the laws of the nation because I'm running a company. My obligation right now is to do well for myself, my family, my employees, for my companies.


KELLY: Well, that campaign manager joins me now. Kellyanne Conway is the manager of the Trump campaign.

Kellyanne, great to see you. Thank you for being here.


KELLY: All right, so first, what did you make of that? She's quoting the old you. I.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): They may have to come to us.

CONWAY: Right outside of Atlantic City. And my mother worked in one of the non-Trump casinos for 21 years. And that's the way she's supported us, including putting me through college and law school, in Catholic school my whole life.

So I'd like to challenge her anytime to tell me that people like Donald Trump who revitalized Atlantic City didn't do a good job.

KELLY: What do you make of the -- that -- that she came out swinging on this, that he stiffs the little guy and he doesn't pay the contractors.  And he didn't really defend it other than to say, maybe they didn't do a good job.

You know, maybe they didn't do the job to my liking, which, you know, led to some people sort of ooing and aaying (ph) in the debate room. Was that a mistake for him to say that?

CONWAY: I thought Mr. Trump, at different times tonight, showed great restraint -- more restraint than I may have in the face of fire and lies, particularly at the end, where he literally could have gone there and made very clear that he came ready to say some rough things if she was going to challenge him about his abuse -- about his record on women. And then, he decided he wouldn't do that in front of her husband and her daughter.

And frankly, Megyn, you know, restraint is a virtue. And it's a presidential virtue. And I think for all those people who love to talk about tone and temperament, they ought to go, replay that clip and think of all of the things that we're going through, millions of Americans' heads that he didn't say.

I really appreciated it. The other thing is that Donald Trump is somebody who has employed tens of thousands of people over the years. Think about that. He's compensating them.

They're getting benefits. You're getting health care. And many of them are women. And he's promoted women to some of the highest special ones (ph) including at his campaign and to lead (ph) his corporation. What jobs has she created?

Who has Hillary Clinton employed? I mean, the State Department doesn't count. We pay for them. They're taxpayer dollars.

KELLY: Right.

CONWAY: So I think his record on business creation, job creation.

KELLY: Why didn't we.

CONWAY: .is -- is unparalleled on that stage.

KELLY: .why didn't he go harder after the email issue?  

CONWAY: Well, he was the only one raising email issue tonight actually.  The moderator followed up, I think, he mentioned your emails. You have a response, Mrs. Clinton.

KELLY: He might have had a question ready and this Trump to it to him first.

CONWAY: Perhaps.

KELLY: Sometimes, that happens.

CONWAY: Perhaps. So Donald Trump did mention the fact that she has deleted 33,000 emails. It's very much very much on the minds of Americans.

KELLY: But do you think he's going to go after her? I'm talking about Trump supporters who -- who wanted to see him go after that more. You know, she's had (ph) a big issue for a lot of voters. Do people (ph) see more of that in future debates from him?

CONWAY: Well, I hope we'll see more of that, even before the debates. In other words, we don't have to wait for these three 90-minute blocks, Megyn, to find out who these people really are in the issues.

Well, you did have to wait for that with Mrs. Clinton because she doesn't really give many policy features. If she saw.

KELLY: Yes, no, or press interviews.

CONWAY: .that's right. Thank you. She's -- if she's talking about policies, we don't know because we're not donors at her fund-raisers. And so -- and that -- that's an incredibly important point here because Mr. Trump is out there every single day.


CONWAY: .talking about policy. She waited until she filled her head with all these facts and figures, came to a debate and made sure we heard everything.


KELLY: No, it's harder -- it's much harder when you're sitting in this chair, and I can play the sound byte of you saying how TPP is the gold standard.

CONWAY: That's right.

KELLY: I mean, that's a much harder situation than being on the debate stage.

CONWAY: That's exactly right.

KELLY: .which is why she hope -- we hope she'll come here.

CONWAY: Yes, yes.

KELLY: So let me ask you to grade both performances -- his and hers.

CONWAY: Oh, I'm so bad at that.

KELLY: Just take a -- take a stab at it.

CONWAY: I mean, I'd give them both a satisfactory in that I -- I guess 90 minutes went too quickly for me. There ae so many issues that could have fallen into those (ph) particular categories.

We didn't America (ph), didn't hear that she's for late-term abortion, sex- selective abortion. And you can find that they're killing (ph) the baby and then.

KELLY: Really do called (ph) social issues in the debate (ph).

CONWAY: Right, and that she -- she was absolutely against gay marriage in 2008 and emphatically so, the first time she lost president and this time, when she still lose president, she changed her mind completely. There wasn't much on the border.

And I think, frankly, her very amnesty-like open borders policy on immigration, what would she really do with Syrian refugees, they have -- they're very different on that issue. But that's not failing so much as -- of anybody on the debate stage so much as just the limited time.

KELLY: Yes. The -- he was taking heat just a moment ago for interrupting her. You know, she was saying things with which she disagreed. And he would pipe in saying, not true or whatever.

It -- they weren't -- you know, a was sort of a back and forth. Was that a mistake or was that fair game?

CONWAY: It's fair to defend yourself. And I think sometimes, when you're in a situation like that, you're just so shocked that somebody would lie and try to spin it in such a way in real time in front of tens of  millions of people, Megyn, he feels the only way to defend yourself is your natural reaction.

Remember, he's not a politician. And so Hillary Clinton has participated in 34 primary debates. Let me just repeat that -- 34 primary debates.  It's a remarkable number.

KELLY: He said all those primary debates.

CONWAY: She's in fact.

KELLY: .and said, he won everyone.

CONWAY: He did as a non-politician (ph). He's a practiced -- she's a practiced politician and so he never asked me as a pollster (ph) what word do I use, which way should I look, what tie should I wear. And today, we don't have this conversation.

KELLY: Soif he interrupts you (ph).

CONWAY: And I respect that. No, by the way, he -- he -- I'm sorry to interrupting you.

KELLY: No, no, no, no, go for it.

CONWAY: .that wasn't nice but it wasn't sort of a (ph) -- no, here is what I want to get out. He was saying not true and no, that's or this is how it was or that's a fact.

And instead of interrupting, know what she was doing, she was rolling her eyes. She was very glib. And sometime, she had a very smirk on her.

KELLY: Last question. Why did he say that he never called climate change a hoax when he has many times and suggests that he didn't suggest it was for China's benefit because he did?

CONWAY: Well, I think what he's saying is as a presidential candidate, where he's really studied these issues and talking (ph) with experts, he has said very clearly that he believes.

KELLY: He said it recently. He said that -- that climate change is a hoax and -- and suggested that it was (ph) to China's benefit.

CONWAY: I can tell you what he does say often that that is not what he (ph) said.


KELLY: No, I'm telling you that's what he (ph) says. So why did it he deny it?

CONWAY: He thinks -- doesn't make it mean (ph) -- he's just saying -- he has said that so many scientists are exaggerating it because they're paid to do so. But he also has been very clear.

They're very different on climate change.


CONWAY: It's probably a really great line demarcation for them because.

KELLY: They are. But I'm trying -- you're suggesting that, you know, she lies and -- and you know, I think the conclusion of most people is all these politicians lie. We just have to find out which of the lies and which are.


CONWAY: Megyn, he's not a politician.

KELLY: Well, he is now.


CONWAY: Well, yes, but think -- think about it, but in the newest ABC News, Washington Post poll, Megyn, more -- more Americans think that she's not honest and trustworthy than him.


CONWAY: .by a pretty significant margin. And I think part of is because.


CONWAY: .she's had the record that is now going to be scoured.

KELLY: Thank you very much for being here.

CONWAY: .and tried (ph).  

KELLY: A very busy night. Thank you. Appreciate it.

So what are the other things that we heard from debate observers? And you heard this from a couple of our guests earlier, is that Lester Holt pressed to Donald Trump harder than he did Hillary Clinton.

Here is an example from our sighting.


HOLT: Mr. Trump, a lot of these are judgment questions. You had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion. What makes your.


TRUMP: I did not support a war in Iraq.

HOLT: .in 2002.

TRUMP: That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her because she -- frankly, I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.

HOLT: My question is since you supported it, then why is your -- why is your judgment.


TRUMP: Just do (ph) -- would you like to hear? I was against the war.  Wait a minute, I was against the war in Iraq, just so you put it out. And I can.


HOLT: The record shows otherwise but why is -- why was -- is your judgment any.

TRUMP: .the record does not show -- the record shows that I'm right. When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very lightly, first time anyone has asked me that, I said very lightly, I don't know, maybe, who knows, essentially.

KELLY: Streaming now, Fox and Friends co-host Tucker Carlson and former White House deputy press secretary under President Obama, Bill Burton.

Great to see you both.

Tucker, what do you think?

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Hi, Megyn. Well, I mean, I think Trump won because he didn't melt down. I mean, it was a -- it was a low threshold.  I mean, does he know what kind of details to know as he talked about himself too much?

Of course, he does. On the other hand, I mean, the basic point is he didn't invade Iraq. He didn't kill Qaddafi. He didn't take the housing market or bail out the banks or think of quantitative easing.

He's not part of the unfolding disaster that we've watched for the past generation. And she is. And he made that point again and again.

That's kind of all he needed to do. He is winning, by the way, in the polls. We're pretending he's not. He is. And so if he continues not to screw up, he will win. That's my view.

KELLY: Bill?

BILL BURTON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I agree with Tucker that, you know, politicians, they're (ph) created (ph) on a curve and the bar was very low for Donald Trump. But the problem is that he was a disaster tonight.

You know, I thought that Hillary Clinton did well but listening to Kellyanne talk about the debate just reinforced the fact that they also thought it was a disaster. You just look at those guys walking out of a tunnel, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in their campaigns, virtually was waltzing (ph) out.

Donald Trump was angry, you know, having a tough conversation. Look, he has to find a path to 270 electoral votes. It does not go through the kind of crazy intemperate rantings that you saw tonight only loosely associated with that.

KELLY: Well, notwithstanding what you characterized as Trump, you know, he -- he is surging right now, Bill. And Colorado's within one.


KELLY: .and Pennsylvania is within two, and Florida and Ohio are tight as could be. North Carolina is tight again. I mean, he's surging.

BURTON: Yes, look, this is a close race. It was always going to be a close race. And I think that Hillary Clinton's numbers are artificially low because I don't think millennials are not going to support her at the numbers where they are.

I think that the African-American and Latino votes can be higher than it currently shows in the polls. But for Donald Trump, he had a special issue that he had to attend to tonight and that's find the college-educated, suburban voters that he needs in order to actually lock in some of those states.

Donald Trump may be moving ahead but there is not very many places where he is above 45, 46 percent. You've got to get to 50. And for him to push past shows final percentage points, he has to be a person that he showed tonight, he cannot be.

KELLY: Tucker, it's always fun to blame the moderators. I've been there.  I thought Lester Holt did a fine job.


KELLY: What did you think?

CARLSON: YES, whatever. I mean, you know, we know who he's voting for. I don't think it really matters. What -- what matters is.

KELLY: Bringing endorsement.

CARLSON: .registered Republicans -- did Trump mean more (ph)? Who cares?  I mean -- and Trump I think wisely didn't whine about it because when you whine about that stuff, you try and weaken (ph), he gets that.

I'm sure it annoyed him but whatever. The point is he had to convince the whatever -- the middle of the undecideds who aren't really actually undecided because they never are, they're hoping for permission to vote for the -- the insurgent against the incumbent. It's a changed election.

So you want more of the same when you want change.


CARLSON: Most people want change. They're afraid of Trump. They think he's too volatile. So if he can convince them that he's basically not crazy, he wins, which is why he's winning.

Look at the numbers.

KELLY: It's great to see you both. Thanks, guys. Up next, Judge Napolitano and Dana Perino (ph) on what was not said tonight.  



HOLT: Don't Americans have a right to know if there are any conflicts of interest?

TRUMP: I don't mind releasing -- I'm under a routine audit. And it'll be released. And as soon as the audit's finished, it'll be released.

HOLT: The IRS says.

TRUMP: Excuse me.

HOLT: .that audit of your taxes -- you're perfectly free to release your taxes during an audit. And so the question, does the public's right to know outweigh your personal.

TRUMP: Well, I told you, I will release them as soon as the audit -- look, I've been under audit almost for 15 years. I will release my tax returns against my lawyer's wishes when she releases her 33,000 emails that have been deleted.

As soon as she releases them, I will release. I will release my tax returns.


KELLY: That was Mr. Trump, both taking a hit and scoring a point when he turned the issue from his tax returns to Mrs. Clinton's emails. Dana Perino is with me now.

She's co-host of "The Five," and former White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush, and Judge Andrew Napolitano is a Fox News senior judicial analyst.

Great to see you both. So let me start with you, Dana while you're here.  How did you think it went?

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, I think that if you were at home and you were undecided, you might have said, oh, I still don't know. So the second debate becomes really important.

I don't think that Trump expanded his base in any way. He probably didn't lose any supporters. I do think she did something that she needed to do, which is that she shored up wobbly Democrats.

We know that Democrats have been pretty unenthusiastic about her candidacy.  They're not really sure. They don't really like her.

She was not Bernie Sanders. She's not a President Obama. But tonight, I think that she was able to say, look, I'm here, I'm helping. I'm ready and I'm here to fight for you.

KELLY: She certainly didn't look near-death as some of her detractors should not (ph) have us believe.

Judge, all the time we have spent discussing this email issue and the immunity deals and the -- Director Comey and it was like -- it was like it -- it barely was there.

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: You know, I could tell you five times that she lied under oath. I could tell you about FBI agents who believe their hands were tied, intelligence assets who think Americans died because she failed to retain national security secrets.

She -- he didn't go anywhere. He didn't mention any of that. I thought she clobbered him, that it wasn't even close because these debates are won or lost, not on debating points but by general impressions.

The impression was she controlled the ball. He was on the defensive. And he utterly failed to address her singular weakness, which is the perception that she is unworthy of trust.

KELLY: Wow. Well, it's interesting because he had all that Comey, you know, he has that back and forth with Director Comey and Trey Gowdy to -- to outline the number of falsehoods that were delivered to the FBI.


KELLY: And -- but it does require a homework to deliver that kind of thing, Judge.

NAPOLITANO: I don't think he was prepared. And since I know some of the people that were preparing him, I think some of their ideas probably went in one of his ear -- ears and out the other.

And he thought he could win this debate the way he won the -- the primary debates. She was poised, charming, intelligent and for the first time, likable.

KELLY: For the first time.

So what do they do now, Dana?

PERINO: I think that the Hillary Clinton campaign tomorrow morning will say, they are seizing back the initiatives. They realized that they had a terrible September.

But they are going into October with the -- with the wind behind their back. And Donald Trump's team will say, he obviously is fit to be commander-in-chief.

He did not disqualify himself and that, yes, who cares about debates because establishment politicians and hacks can do really great in debates.  It doesn't really matter.

And I thought you made a very good point that she spent all the money for no reason.

KELLY: Great to see you.

You, too, Judge. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


KELLY: Trump told CNN he thinks Lester Holt did a great job, was very fair. Who do you think won tonight's presidential debate? Go to and on Twitter @megynkelly.

Let me know what you think. Thanks for watching, everyone. This is "The Kelly File."

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