Debate watchers react to the second presidential debate, compare Clinton and Trump

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speak during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Photo Credit: AP Photo / Patrick Semansky | Daily Texan Staff

While eating schnitzel and drinking beer, a full-capacity audience reacted Sunday at Scholz Garten to presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton speaking on subjects ranging from a 2005 video of Trump to Obamacare.

Trump and Clinton, the Republican and Democratic nominees, participated in a town hall-style debate on Sunday, only two days after a 2005 video of Trump speaking disrespectfully about women surfaced.  

Trump said the comments he made in the 2005 tape were common language and apologized for it. 

“This was locker room talk,” Trump said. “I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. To the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.”

Clinton said the tape represented Trump’s campaign and his relationship with women. 

“He has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is,” Clinton said. “But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly what he is. Because we’ve seen this throughout the campaign. We have seen him insult women. We’ve seen him rate women on their appearance.”

Kimberly Romero, early childhood to sixth grade education junior, watched the debate from Scholz Garten with a few of her friends from University Democrats. She said Trump attempted to divert debate watchers from the 2005 tape and that Trump has made other comments during the campaign that align with the tape. 

“Maybe, just maybe, if he didn’t come out with all of these other thoughts and opinions throughout this entire campaign process, but everything else he has said through this entire election has just further supported that this is who he is, this is who he has always been,” Romero said.

Besides the tape scandal, Romero said that as an education major, she wishes the candidates had discussed education reform more, specifically the issue of early childhood education.

“I’m an education major so I’m a little bit biased, but I’m a very big activist in education and I really wish they tackled early childhood education a little bit more,” Romero said. “Early childhood education has statistically proven to increase grades all the way to college, so I really wish they had pushed that.”

The watch party’s audience heavily favored the Democratic nominee, often cheering after she spoke. Many of the attendees were sporting Clinton stickers as Clinton volunteers were signing up supporters to volunteer for her campaign in Texas.

Government graduate student Erica Mirabitur said she voted for Clinton in the primary election and plans to do so again in the general election. 

“I think Clinton won,” Mirabitur said. “She was poised and composed and I think Trump was flustered. He provided incoherent arguments. I don’t think he can defend [the tape]. I don’t even know what he could say.”

Agreeing with Romero, Mirabitur said she wished the candidates had discussed education more, but understood the time constraints of the debate. 

“I think they covered what they could have covered,” Mirabitur said. “They could have talked more about education, but I know they only have an hour and a half; I think it was a pretty good scope.”

The last of the three presidential debates will be held at the University of Nevada Las Vegas on Oct. 19 and will be a traditionally moderated debate.