Cast your vote: Who won the final presidential debate between Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton?

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LAS VEGAS -- Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump struck a more sober tone Wednesday after two brutal debates, largely sticking to substance and keeping personal slights to a minimum during their final face-to-face showdown.

The debate in Las Vegas began on a frosty note as the candidates once again abandoned the tradition of shaking each other's hands at the outset. And there were moments of serious clashes, including over Trump's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Republican nominee's immigration positions.

"We have some bad hombres here and we're gonna get them out," Trump said.

But overall, the first 30 minutes of the debate were dominated with exchanges over substantive policy issues harkening back to previous election cycles that lacked the drama and bitter personal battles of 2016. Clinton and Trump had a serious exchange, for instance, about the Supreme Court and gun rights.

Clinton said the court should "stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of powerful corporations and the wealthy."

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Trump said that the Supreme Court is "what it is all about" and rebuked liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for recent remarks in which she criticized him, before apologizing. He warned that if Clinton was President, she would gut Americans' Second Amendment right to bear arms.

"If my opponent should win this race, which I don't think will happen," Trump said, the Second Amendment will be a "small replica of what we have now."

Clinton denied that she opposes the Second Amendment but called for firearms legislation that included comprehensive background checks, and efforts to close the so-called gunshow loophole.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

The candidates also clashed over abortion rights with Clinton insisting she would defend Planned Parenthood and the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade.

Clinton firmly stated the standard liberal position on abortion -- perhaps with an eye on the women voters who are favoring her strongly over her opponent.

"I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v Wade, and I will defend womens' rights to make their own health care decisions," Clinton said, bringing up a previous remark by Trump when he said that women should be punished for getting an abortion.

Trump hit back saying she would allow late-term abortions.

"You can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the 9th month," Trump said.

Clinton accused Trump of adopting "scare rhetoric" on the issue.

Final presidential debate in Las Vegas

Final presidential debate in Las Vegas

Heated clash over Putin

The debate became more heated Clinton and Trump furiously clashed over Russia, with the Democratic nominee blasting her foe as a "puppet" of Putin. Clinton directly called on Trump to condemn what she said was a Russian effort to use cyber attacks to influence the election in her opponent's favor.

Trump replied that Putin had no respect for Clinton or President Barack Obama.

"That's because he would rather have a puppet as President of the United States," Clinton said, implying that Putin wanted Trump to win the election.

"No puppet. You are the puppet," Trump said.

Trump said he had never met Putin but allowed that the Russian leader had said nice things about him, and said it would be good if Washington and Moscow worked together to fight ISIS.

But he added: "This is not my best friend."

Clinton is seeking to consolidate her strong position, knowing that a winning performance could help close out Trump. But she is facing a barrage of new attacks following an avalanche of hacked emails released over the past week from WikiLeaks. She is bracing for a ferocious counterattack from a foe who has proven in past debates that there's no line he won't cross.

Since the second presidential debate, Trump has faced a string of accusations of sexual assault, all of which he has branded as lies. He also made an accusation that no candidate in modern times has dared to level -- that the election is rigged against him.

The GOP nominee has repeatedly lashed out at House Speaker Paul Ryan, whom he believes is not giving him the support he deserves. As a result, Trump has declared himself "unshackled" and intends to close out his campaign free from an obligation to toe the Republican line.

He's said that Clinton should be forced to take a drug test before their final debate clash, and doubled down on his vow to put her in jail if he is elected.

Losing his cool

Trump seemed to lose his cool as the debate went on, harshly criticizing Clinton and occasionally getting testy with the debate moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News. The debate began to take a turn when Trump and Clinton clashed over the Republican nominee's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Clinton blasted Trump as a "puppet" of Putin and directly called on him to condemn what she said was a Russian effort to use cyber attacks to influence the election in her opponent's favor.

Trump replied that Putin had no respect for Clinton or President Barack Obama.

"That's because he would rather have a puppet as President of the United States," Clinton said, implying that Putin wanted Trump to win the election.

"No puppet. You are the puppet," Trump said.

Trump said he had never met Putin but allowed that the Russian leader had said nice things about him, and said it would be good if Washington and Moscow worked together to fight ISIS.

But he added: "This is not my best friend."

Clinton and Trump also bitterly sparred over the theme of who is qualified to be President. Wallace pressed Trump on why so many women had come forward to accuse him of sexual assault if the allegations were not true.

Trump said the claims had been "largely debunked."

"I think they want either fame or her campaign did it," Trump said, referring to the women that came forward after he said at the last debate he had never been abusive to any women.

Clinton noted that Trump had implied at several rallies that he could not have made inappropriate advances to the women because they were not sufficiently attractive.

Trump wrongly denied that he had ever made such a remark.

"Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity and their self worth," Clinton said.

Treatment of women

Clinton said that Trump's treatment of women was part of pattern of behavior that saw him insult a disabled reporter, go after the parents of a fallen Muslim soldier and an American judge of Mexican descent.

She said such tactics were in line with a divisive and very "dangerous vision of our country."

The tone of the debate -- unusually substantial at the start -- never recovered once the atmosphere became charged. As the event wound down, Clinton said that under her economic plan, her and Trump's payroll taxes would go up to ensure the solvency of Social Security -- unless her rival could figure out a way to avoid paying taxes.

"Such a nasty woman," Trump interjected.

14 comments

  • Edith

    Wow saw the voter tape from okeefe. Dems really are lying and cheating and scorching their way to win at any cost.

    • Kelly Clark

      I would like to know how she is ahead in any poll? Am proud to be a deplorable as long as she does not gain the presidency.

  • Peter

    The problem with our country was on display with the debate. No matter which of the candidates win the american people lose. You have a will do anything liar in Hillary and a dirty old man in Donald. Amazing that this is the best our country has to offer. It does show how politicians and to big to fail business have continued to grow at the cost of the american people.

  • Rockie Springer

    how is it all other polls show Trump by over 90%, yet this poll does not?? Wait, this is a Clinton News Network controlled poll. It does not matter who you chose. CNN chooses for you.

  • Susan King Miller

    If you made this “survey” so you can only vote once, I am willing to bet the results would be substantially different. Trump won last nights debate by a landslide and hopefully he will do the same at the election.

  • Always Outspoken

    Don’t trust any of the surveys – they can (and often ARE) manipulated or falsified.

    Just make sure you VOTE on election day. That’s the only poll that really counts.

  • billy

    This is just like the campaign stops. Trumps overflowing, crooked clintons empty.
    All the comments are pro trump, yet crooked is winning the polls…

  • Amanda

    Some nasty chick in WI smeared some peanut butter on some cars thinking it was a Trump rally only to find out it was a club meeting of sorts. Liberal Clintonista feminist low lifes will stop at nothing, like the apostates of hell to help Billary the butcher. So Wrong and biased!

  • Jim

    I just watch Trump, I just listen to Trump, I just see Trump, and wonder how anyone can deny that Trump says and does things to amaze any sane person, like he did to John McCain, Families of soldiers, people of race, women, the list goes on and on. Yet his followers blame the media? They should blame Edison for inventing recording, and whoever invented recording tape. Can’t take back what one sees and hears. As an outsider to the political system, he will be devoured by the system. It will make him look twice as bad as he looks now. They will laugh at him, as will most of us do watching Saturday night live!!

Comments are closed.

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