Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton walks past during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016. / AFP / Paul J. Richards
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It was a presidential debate, wounded animal edition. Bleeding supporters and running out of time, Donald Trump fought and clawed his way through his second debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton. The performance was a vivid display of what has made Trump an unstoppable force in American politics for 15 months.Clinton met Trump's wrath with dismissive smiles and eye rolls.When the conversation turned to taxes, Washington politics or Clinton's handling of classified email as Secretary of State, Trump was able to land punches and build momentum.Trump was unapologetic about his own tax record.For debate watchers not primed for the battle by conservative radio and media, it was hard to see what new – on either policy or personal trust – Trump presented. In some respects, Trump's target audience was not average voters but Republican Party leaders, who are in the remarkable position of deliberating whether to continue spending money and time trying to elect their own nominee. It's unclear whether Trump's performance helped on that front – although no more GOP officials publicly disavowed him in the immediate aftermath of the debate.
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