Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump clashed repeatedly over economy, tax cuts, the Islamic State (IS) and racism on Monday night during the highly anticipated first presidential debate.
Moderator Leslie Holt of NBC News opened the 90-minute debate at Hofstra University, Long Island, New York, the first of three debates.
Clinton started the debate by asking Trump: "How are you, Donald?" as the crowd cheered.
The first question about putting money back into Americans' pockets and creating jobs was directed to the former secretary of state and she started her speech by defending the idea to create "an economy for all" and stressed that she intends to do so "by having the wealthy pay their fair share", EFE news reported.
"I also want to see more companies do profit sharing. If you help create the profits, you should be able to share in them, not just the executives at the top," and stressed that "the central question in this election is really what kind of country we want to be in."
Clinton insisted she would work to achieve equal pay between men and women, paid paternity leave and debt-free college.
Clinton accused her rival for being one of the real estate tycoons who benefited from the economic crisis that hit the country in 2008.
Trump conceded the point saying "It's called business".
Trump went on to say that China and Mexico were "stealing" American business and jobs.
"We have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us, we have to stop companies from leaving the United States," he said, reiterating his proposal to impose taxes on companies that move from the US to other countries and then seek to sell their products in the US.
The magnate reiterated his rejection of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that came into force in 1994, which he considered the "the worst thing" for the manufacturing industry in the US.
One of the longest exchanges came not on tax policy - but Trump's refusal to release his taxes, breaking decades of precedent for presidential candidates.
"Why won't he release his tax returns?" Clinton asked, adding "Maybe he is not as rich as he says he is. Maybe he is not as charitable as he claims to be. Maybe he doesn't want the American people to know that he has paid nothing in federal taxes," CNN reported.
Trump responded by saying that he would release his taxes when Clinton made public 33,000 emails that were deleted from her private email server while she served as the secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
She admitted that it was a "mistake" to use the private server.
When the debate turned to racial issues and crime, Clinton said that it was important for police to work together with local communities to restore trust.
Trump accused Clinton of refusing to say the phrase "law and order" and bemoaned the state of inner cities. He said that African-Americans and Hispanics were "living in hell".
Clinton rebuked Trump for painting "such a dire picture" of black communities.
Trump also blamed Clinton for the the rise of the IS by noting the Democrat had laid out some of her plans on her website.
"You're telling the enemy everything you want to do," Trump said as Clinton shook her head in amusement. "No wonder you've been fighting IS your entire adult life."
However, one of the most powerful moments of the debate came when the conversation focused on the "birther" issue following Trump's recent acknowledgment that President Barack Obama was born in the US -- a fact that has been evident for years.
Clinton blasted Trump for perpetuating a "racist lie".
Trump hit back noting Clinton's tough critiques of Obama during their bitter 2008 primary battle.
"You treated him with terrible disrespect and I watch the way you talk now about how lovely everything is, ... it doesn't work that way," he said.
Moderator Holt in the final question of the night asked both Trump and Clinton if they would accept the will of the voters on Election Day, NBC News reported.
Clinton said, "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but I certainly will support the outcome of this election."
Trump pointed that he would "want to make America great again. We are a nation that is seriously troubled ... If she wins, I will absolutely support it."
According to the latest CNN Poll of Polls released on Monday showed Clinton and Trump neck-and-neck 44 per cent to 42 per cent.
The audience included the nominees' families. Hillary's husband and former US President Bill Clinton and Trump's wife Melania shook hands while they entered the varsity's David S. Mack auditorium.
This was the 20th US presidential debate and was organised by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a non-governmental organisation.
Here are the highlights of the debate:
- If Clinton wins, I will absolutely support her: Trump
- Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But I will certainly support the outcome of this election: Hillary
- "Hillary has experience, but it's bad experience," Trump he adds.
- "She doesn’t have the stamina to be the President," Trump takes a jibe at Hillary.
- Hillary hits back, "A man who gets provoked by a tweet should not have his hands anywhere near nuclear codes."
- Deal with Iran is one of the worst deals in the history. The pact could lead to nuclear problems: Donald Trump
- Donald Trump's cavalier attitude on nuclear weapons is so deeply troubling: Hillary
- I have a much better judgment and temperament than Hillary: Trump
- Trump says that media has propagated that I was in favour of war. I was against the Iraq war.
- We need to work with Muslim communities at home and abroad, not alienate them: Hillary
- We have intensify the air strikes against the IS, says HIllary.
- "IS could not have formed if we had taken the oil," he adds.
- Blaming Obama's administration policies for the formation of IS, Donald says, "Clinton, Obama created power vacuum in Iraq, helping IS."
- We will defend our country. And the Russians need to know that: Hillary on cyber warfare.
- I think we need to go after Baghdadi. We’ve got to defeat IS: Hillary
- Do not know if Russia hacked DNC, could be others: Trump
- Trump inviting Russia to hack was 'unacceptable': Hillary
- We have to be very, very tough on cyber security. Look what IS is doing with the internet," Trump
- Cyber security or warfare will be one of the biggest challenges facing the next President: Hillary
- Trump replies, "You treated Obama with terrible disrespect and I watch the way you talk now about how lovely everything is. Doesn't work that way."
- Barack Obama is a man of great dignity and I could tell how much it bothered him, says Hillary. He went high despite Donald’s attempts to bring him down, she adds.
- I did a great service to the country. I was the one who got him (Obama) to produce his birth certificate, says Donald Trump
- Trump's 'racist birther lie' cannot be dismissed so easily, he has long record of engaging in racist behaviour: Hillary
- US' first Black President (Obama) was in fact an American.Trump only has one reason for refusing to admit it: Hillary
- I've prepared to be a President and that's a good thing: Hillary
- Would spend more money to retrain police officers on racial bias: Hillary
- We have to have a system, can’t just talk about law and order: Hillary
- Both Hillary and Donald agree on blocking guns for those on no-fly list
- She added that Donald paints dire, negative picture of black communities in the US.
- Hillary replies, "Gus should be taken away from people who shouldn't have them."
- "We need to have 'law & order'. We have gangs roaming the streets; many are illegal immigrants," he says.
- "African-Americans and Hispanics are living in hell...African-American community is decimated by crimes," Trump raises issue of racial attacks,
- "Clinton is a typical politician. All talks, no action," says Trump
- "That was not a mistake. Done purposefully," says Trump.
- "I am not going to make any excuse. I admit... I made a mistake," replies Hillary.
- "I will make my tax returns public when she releases her e-mails," Trump hits back on Hillary's e-mail controversy.
- "Why doesn't Trump make his tax returns public?" asks Hillary. Reports show Trump owes millions to Wall St, foreign banks, she added.
- Hillary says, "Trickle down model doesn’t work in the US. Cutting taxes on the rich doesn’t work"
- Donald cuts in. "You haven’t done this in 30-25 years," he says.
- Trade is not the only challenge in our economy, says Hillary. I know how to create new jobs
- US energy policy is a disaster, says Trump.
- We can step up and confront climate change, save our planet, and invest in clean energy. Or, we can do nothing: Hillary
- Replying back, Hillary talks of he economical crisis in 2008. She says the US has recovered from the crisis and the country cannot go back to the policies that triggered the mess.
- Trump counters Hillary, asks what the policymakers, including Hillary, had been doing to improve the American economy.
- Rejecting Trump's model to retain jobs, she says, "I want to invest in you (Americans),".
- Hillary counters Trump... she says, "Donald Trump's plan will lead to trickle-down economics all over again.. I call it 'trumped-up trickle down."
- We have to stop the jobs leaving...I will be reducing taxes, says Donald. This will bring new jobs and stop countries from stealing our jobs, he says.
- Thousands of jobs are leaving the US...that cannot happen, says Donald Trump
- We have to build an economy that works for everyone, not just for those at the top, says Hillary Clinton
- The debate starts off as Trump and Hillary enter the studio and they smile and shake hands.
US Campaign 2016: First Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump begins— ANI (@ANI) September 27, 2016