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How Hillary Clinton Can Counter Trump’s Debate Strategy


Yesterday, I posted something about Donald Trump’s likely debate strategy – lie, lie, and lie again, knowing that it would fall to Hillary Clinton to correct him, now that moderators have decided against challenging lies.

Forcing Clinton to do the job means she will have nearly no time to talk about what she believes, what she wants to do, or to launch attacks on Trump.

So, how can Hillary Clinton combat that strategy?

First, set up a website, where her staff will post clips, links, etc, refuting any Trump lie, in real time.

Let’s call it (available, right now!).

Instead of going tit-for-tat, and wasting time, Hillary should just refer viewers to the site, occasionally, when she catches a Trump lie.

For instance, Trump says something to the effect of him never calling for an outright ban on Muslims entering the United States, that Hillary Clinton is calling for a 550% increase in Syrian refugees, and that there was a pay-to-play situation with the Saudis and the Clinton Foundation.

Instead of responding:

“First of all, Donald Trump did call for a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States, in 2015.  As far as the 550 percent number, that has been debunked a number of times.  As far as the Clinton Foundation, it does great work around the world, and has been supported by a great number of people. But there has never, ever, been anything that points to a pay-to-play scenario, least of all with the Saudis…”

Just simply say:

“I counted three complete lies in what Donald just said. Anyone out there can go to right now and see for themselves.”

That shaves precious seconds off her retort, leaving her more time in the 30 seconds allotted to her for rebuttals.

Now, I used the word “occasionally,” above. Given the amount of times Trump will lie, it would get insane for her to mention the site every single time.  Insane and annoying.

So, in other instances, just note the lies he told, without going into it, and punt to the moderators.  Force them to do their jobs, or look limp.

Using another example.  Trump says he opposed the Iraq war from the start.

Instead of refuting it, citing Howard Stern, the timeline of when he changed his position, etc, just say:

“Donald Trump did support the war, but I’ll leave it up to [Lester Holt/Martha Raddatz/Chris Wallace] to confirm that….”

And then move to offense and go after Trump, or, state your proactive plan on terror, etc.

Either the moderators will say something, or they won’t, and people will at least walk away knowing that Trump wasn’t getting properly scrutinized.

Overall, Trump’s strategy will be fairly simple.  Just get Hillary to spend her time refuting things.

Hillary’s strategy to combat that is equally simple – don’t.  Push that job to a live updating website, and to the moderators.

Then use your time to hit the talking points that you know work, and test well.

Author: Eric Schmeltzer

That progressive guy. Very different from that Progressive Girl (aka "Flo"). Also an independent PR consultant.

5 thoughts on “How Hillary Clinton Can Counter Trump’s Debate Strategy

  1. While I see the logic of your idea I have a feeling its snarkyness, and Hillary’s likability problem, would offend more people than it would please. I really think all she has to do is appear intelligent and presidential and the stark contrast with Trump will be evident. He’ll take himself down with his boiler plate racism and jingoism. And if he doesn’t? There’s nothing that she can do that will change the cancer of a country enamored of a reality TV star.


  2. I’ve been wondering when a writer would come up with a plan: something like “You are no Jack Kennedy.” Something to stop Trump in his tracks, cause apoplexy. I think you are on the right track. I dream of a yellow fact- checking banner on screen.


  3. I love your idea. How likely is that the Clinton campaign will do something like this?


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