Personally, I felt Clinton won the debate. We'll have to wait and see if swing voters were as impressed as I was.
For undecided Americans and disillusioned millennials tonight, the final lap to the White House has begun and is disappointingly same old same old. Trump needed to look presidential and he did not, but that did not appear to affect his vocal supporters. Clinton seemed more affable than usual but professional and steady as she sounded, I do not think anything she said will have energised her enervated Democratic base with tonight's performance.
Clinton came out looking the elder statesman, but one definitely dialled in to the establishment . Trump supporters are as defiant as ever. The debate was the horse and pony show that had been anticipated. It is unclear if it has shifted existing support levels.
[caption id="attachment_18296" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Democratic US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during the first presidential debate with Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York Reuters
The debate was met by the press club audience with laughter and outrage in equal measure over some of the exchanges. One woman cried out "I am now so depressed." This is a fitting wrap for debate one: the two candidates have the highest disapproval ratings of any candidates since these things started to be polled.
Clinton and Trump trade words over Trump's alleged misogyny. He takes another dig at Rosie O'Donnel. Clinton and Trump agree to respect vote outcome.
Trump admits Clinton has experience but says, "it is bad experience" as Trump supporters cheer in the stands.
Clinton reminds that Nato's common defence clause has "only been invoked once - to defend US after 9/11."
Clinton says, "It is essential that America's word be good," referring to mutual defence treaties, a reference to Trump's isolationism.
[caption id="attachment_18295" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate with Democratic US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York Reuters
Clinton has brilliantly stayed on topic and basically explained the world to Trump and the audience. She digs in over Trump and nuclear weapons. Clinton quips that "someone ruffled by a tweet should be nowhere near the button." Trump says, "it is getting old," she says, "it is good though," and the two now display for the first time the grimaces of this intensely heated and personal presidential race.
Clinton is all smirks. This may cost if her facial expressions come across as condescending. Trump, after failing to prove his point he says, "There is no doubt I have better judgment and temperament than her." He continues, cuts off moderator, and attacks her further. Clinton's "whoo" while smiling draws laughter.
Now Trump is arguing with moderator Lester Holt about whether or not he initially supported Iraq War. He now denies it, but fact checkers say, "the evidence clearly shows he favoured it."
Trump's comments increasingly reveal that his essential and only fall back is to accuse Clinton of being an establishment politician and says, "she is tainted by association to it."
About homegrown terror, Clinton lauds US law enforcement for arresting Rahami - the New Jersey, New York pressure cooker bomber.
Trump says, "it could have been Russia or China or some other country or that person on the 400 pound bed" doing this. Trump's comments are a challenge to follow. Clinton is statesmanlike, following Trump's reference to Isis' tech savviness to a long and well structured discussion on challenging intl terrorism abroad, including killing Baghdadi - a reference to taking out Osama bin Laden.
Clinton parlays question on cyber security into criticism of Trump's close relationship with Putin, saying "Russia and other states have been sponsoring such attacks."
Hillary brings up 1972 law suit against Trump for racial discrimination involving his property development. He says, "That was settled without admission of guilt."
Trump is unrepentant over his role over the birther issue. He claims credit for making President Obama publicise his birth certificate. Clinton pounces: "He started his political activity with the racist lie that the first African American president was not an American citizen."
Trump says, "I've been all over the place" to describe his recent canvassing with African American communities. Most analysts say his reaching out to the African Americans and trying to win white female voters who are concerned about his racially insensitive comments.
[caption id="attachment_18291" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
From left to right, Melania Trump , the wife of Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump, sits with his daughter Ivanka Trump, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and Pence's wife Karen Pence during Trump's first debate against Democratic US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York Reuters
Trump agrees with no fly list comments. He calls the NRA "good people who are protecting the Second Amendment." Trump revisits 'stop and frisk' saying it was effective and continued by Bloomberg. Clinton reiterates need for respect for rights of African American men.
Clinton delves into "need for reform and deeper engagement with African American communities". Clinton wants "stronger gun control" and wants to make it impossible for those on terrorist watch list to buy guns. She explains 'implicit bias' academically and calls for training and assistance for police.
Trump is making disapproving noises, grimacing and fidgeting.
About North Carolina and Chicago, Trump says he is connected these places, "I have investments there"
Trump says "over 4,000 [were] killed in Chicago since Obama came to power. We have gangs ... we have illegal immigrants." Trump wants Stop and Frisk, but moderator reminds him that the Giuliani era practice was ruled unconstitutional.
Trump takes a harder line: "We need law and order in the country."
Now comes 'race relations'. Clinton goes first: "Rebuild trust, respect the law, build awareness among police about use of force. Reform requires cross community effort. The gun epidemic is the leading cause of death among young African Americans."
[caption id="attachment_18290" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
From left to right, Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile, businessman Vernon Jordan, former President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton watch the first presidential debate between Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York Reuters
Trump responds to all of the questions about his business by saying he is "doing well" and then responds to accusations that he has built his fortune on the backs of small business by saying he uses the laws of the land to run things. Essentially admitting to using loopholes to delay payments and play hardball with Trump International contractors.
Trump calls US "a third world country" because Clinton and politicians have "squandered " public money. Clinton shoots back, "Maybe it is because you haven't paid federal income taxes."
But Trump claims not to be "braggadocious" about his supposed final successes, though he is still not committing to releasing his returns.
Trump supporters clap and whistle over comment on 33,000 emails. Clinton apologises and takes responsibility for the email fiasco.
Trump asked to release tax returns. He says he will after his audit. "I will release the audit after she releases her 33,000 emails." Clinton reminds public that for 43 years all candidates have released their return. She then strikes hard about the possible reasons that he has not released his tax returns.
Trump is coming across like he is a truculent child: "This country is being ripped off by every other country."
Trump calls her a typical politician. His comments on economy are again centred on accusations but not on his own plan.
Clinton is looking composed. Smiling. Charming.
Clinton: "I have a feeling I am going to be blamed for everything". He says "Why not?"
Trump is getting increasingly incoherent. As he tries to speak for Clinton's policies instead of explaining his own.
Classic Trump again: "No matter you've been fighting Isis most of your adult life" he says as he tries to switch to foreign policy.
Classic Trump: "I am going to cut taxes bigly"
Classic Trump time! Interruptions. "Excuse me." Bullying. You live in your own reality, she tells Trump. When he says "you have no plan," she says, "I do I have a book you can go buy it and read it."
Trump mentions Michigan and Ohio and the loss of jobs- a reach out to the white working class that makes up his support base.
"Donald Trump believes climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese" Peels of laughter in the press club.
[caption id="attachment_18289" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York Reuters
Hillary accuses Trump of profiting from housing crisis. Trump replies: "That's called business."
After a standard response from, Hillary has landed the first punch, saying "we can't have a Trumped up economy."
Hillary has made reference to Trump's inherited wealth; he's taken the bait and said his father had given him a small loan to start out. Trump offers no way to bring jobs back.
First up the economy. The candidates have been asked about what they will do to create jobs.
Last week, celebrated pollster John Zogby told me that it was as yet unclear how the current dead heat would play out. He said the debates would make a major impact on the electorate's perceptions of the two candidates. But Geoffrey Skelley at the University of Virginia's Centre for Politics and associate editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, a highly regarded polling website, isn't convinced that the debates will shift opinion as much as others have predicted. Skelley does feel that engaging the millennial generation is crucial to winning the elections for both candidates.
It's on! Both the candidates take stage.
[caption id="attachment_18288" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump shakes hands with Democratic US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at the start of their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York Reuters
Things are getting heated already..
The mood is infectious. I asked Floyd Ciruli, a Colorado pollster, if he was expecting the cage fight that the networks had been hyping all week, or candidates would strive to be restrained. He told me, he expected the exchange to get heated.
Michael Moore puts it best...
In a wood panelled building inside a quaint two-storey building surrounded by steel and glass high-rises, Denver's journalists are congregating. The mood here inside the Denver Press Club is gregarious and high-spirited, not just because the premises are served by not one but two bars, but because tonight's show is universally regarded as the most entertaining - and important - event to take place in recent history. The event, we have come together to watch, is the first of the Clinton-Trump presidential debates and it is expected that up of 100 million viewers will tune in to watch as the two major party candidates engage in the first of the 2016 US Presidential Debate.