Supporters give Clinton mixed reviews
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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntercept DC bureau chief says Biden picks are 'same people' from Obama years The Hill's 12:30 Report - Third vaccine candidate with 90% efficacy Biden won — so why did Trump's popularity hit its highest point ever? MORE allies said the Democratic nominee “didn't score big points” on Sunday night in the second presidential debate against Republican Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE.

Some allies said Clinton's performance was satisfactory and that she kept calm under pressure as Trump came with some aggressive attacks.


Trump said Clinton had “hate in her heart" and called her the devil during the debate at Washington University in St. Louis. Trump also brought to the audience women who said they were victimized by former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonDow breaks 30,000 for first time as Biden transition ramps up Trump's remaking of the judicial system Voters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen MORE.

Under those circumstances, Clinton supporters said their candidate did what she needed to do in a contentious and ugly debate. 

“She rallied the base, talked in detail about policy, acted presidential, remained calm and shows who is calm under pressure,” said one longtime ally. “But, I honestly don't think it moved the needle much in any direction.”

The ally added that Trump appeared “unhinged” in the first 30 minutes but rebounded for the most part over the final hour and stopped the bleeding of his campaign, on the heels of a 2005 video in which Trump speaks in graphic terms about women. 

Still, some in Clinton’s orbit suggested the second debate might have been a missed opportunity.

“But this was a time she could have completely put him away,” the ally said. “And I'm not sure tonight's performance did that. I think she was fine, more than fine, but he'll live to see another day.”

A Democratic strategist added that Clinton “held up.”

“It was a tough back and forth in the beginning,” the strategist said, adding that “nothing was really bad” for Clinton. 

Still, the strategist added that Clinton's energy “just slacked off” toward the end. 

After the debate, David Gergen, a former presidential adviser, said on CNN that Clinton “was not as good” during the second debate as she was in the first debate and that Trump “did a lot better” than on his first performance.

Still, a CNN-ORC poll of debate watchers on Sunday night say Clinton won the debate 57 percent to 34 percent.

Some Clinton allies say they wish she would have further pinned Trump down on his history with women, particularly on the heels of the 2005 video tape of him speaking on a hot mic with television host Billy Bush.

Trump defended his comments as  “locker-room talk” on Sunday night.

“What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women, what he thinks about women, what he does to women, and he has said that the video doesn't represent who he is, but I think it's clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is,” Clinton said at the debate.