S/he won! Instant reactions to 2nd presidential debate

Jonathan Oosting, and Melissa Nann Burke

The fireworks started before it began and continued Sunday in the immediate aftermath of the second presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Surrogates, supporters and others were quick to critique the candidates following the combative contest at Washington University in St. Louis, where Clinton and Trump sparred over lewd comments, deleted emails, tax write-offs and more.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who revoked his Trump endorsement Saturday over recently surfaced sexually explicit comments about women the businessman made in 2005, said on Twitter that Clinton appeared to employ a “prevent defense” strategy.

“Donald Trump went for it, and won,” said Calley, a Portland Republican, who later reiterated he was no longer endorsing anyone in the race.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, the Flint Township Democrat who has backed the former secretary of state, praised Clinton’s performance, saying she “just showed us what a POTUS looks like, and I can’t wait to vote for her.”

During the debate, Trump said Clinton would “be in jail” if he becomes president, referring to her use as secretary of state of a personal email server to send unclassified and classified material. Susan Demas of Inside Michigan Politics tweeted “how abnormal and bizarre” it is for something like that to be said during a presidential debate.

Former Rep. John Dingell, the Dearborn Democrat and Clinton supporter, tweeted he thought Trump was holding his microphone “like an Olive Garden breadstick he’s not certain he wants to eat.

After Trump described his 2005 comments as “locker room talk,” Dingell said, “that’s offensive to locker rooms.”

“Only coherent sentence out of his mouth was his description of @HillaryClinton’s hard work & commitment. I couldn't agree more. #ImWithHer”

As the debate got underway, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, said on Twitter, “We’ve become a country that fights over which presidential candidate is less horrible. We can and will do better in 2020.”

Here are other instant reactions from Michigan politicians, parties and organizations:

■Ronna Romney McDaniel, Michigan Republican Party chairwoman: “This debate showcased the different visions for our future. Donald Trump wants to protect and abide by our constitution, Hillary Clinton wants to rewrite it. Donald Trump wants to secure our borders and defeat ISIS; Hillary Clinton refuses to call radical Islamic terror by its name. With our Supreme Court on the line, we cannot afford activist judges who legislate from the bench. We cannot afford further foreign policy failures, and we cannot afford Hillary Clinton’s economic agenda that will further bankrupt our nation and our citizens.

“When it comes to substantive policy issues, this debate could not have outlined more clearly the distinct and different ideas on how to lead our nation. Hillary Clinton has had 30 years and represents the failed status quo. Donald Trump is a proven problem solver who knows what we need to move our nation forward.”

■Brandon Dillon, Michigan Democratic Party Chairman: “Tonight, Hillary Clinton, once again, proved that she is ready to lead this country as the next president of the United States. Donald Trump was not only un-presidential, he appeared to be unhinged, and he again showed that he’s temperamentally unfit to lead.”

“The closer we get to Election Day, the stark contrast between these two individuals becomes more blindingly clear. What we saw with the last two debates is that Donald Trump doesn’t belong on the same stage as Hillary Clinton, let alone in the White House. Hillary Clinton cares about the good of our country and creating a better tomorrow for all Americans. Donald Trump only cares about himself and creating a world where men like him can spend their entire lives taking and getting whatever they want.”

■Linda Lee Tarver, Trump Michigan campaign co-chair: “As an African-American woman, wife, and military mother, tonight’s debate showed me that Donald Trump is the only candidate in the race who can deliver the real change our families desperately need. Mr. Trump’s promise of a stronger America with more jobs, better schools, and safer communities resonated strongly with hard-working families, and stood in stark contrast to Hillary’s special interest and big donor-driven agenda.”

■Ron Bieber, Michigan AFL-CIO president, on Twitter: “Hillary was smart, thoughtful, presidential. She proved she’s ready to lead our nation on Day One. Trump proved again he’s unfit for office.”