Tonight’s second debate wasn’t just different because of its town hall format where undecided voters could pose questions directly to the candidates — it also marked a different debate strategy for Donald Trump.
Tonight Trump interrupted Hillary Clinton 18 times, and she only interrupted him once. But in the first debate, Trump interrupted Clinton 51 times compared to Clinton’s 17 interruptions.
Clinton’s one and only interruption came after Donald Trump blamed her for President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria.
TRUMP: First of all, she's there with the so-called line in the sand.
CLINTON: No, I wasn't. I was gone. I hate to interrupt you but at some point we needed to do some fact checking.
TRUMP: You were in contact with the White House, and, perhaps sadly, Obama probably still listened to you. I don't think he would listen to you very much anymore. …
But, as Politico pointed out, she was not in office then.
While Trump certainly interrupted — and interjected — far more than Clinton, he also interrupted the moderators more tonight than he did in the first debate, which shows a shifting strategy in Trump’s approach that falls more in line with traditional debate decorum.
As for Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper, they interrupted Clinton and Trump roughly the same amount. Trump was interrupted 30 times and Clinton 22 times.
Often when Trump interrupted the moderators it was to dispute the amount of time he’d been given to speak or to chastise them for favoritism. (He interrupted them 14 times in all compared to Clinton’s one interruption of Martha Raddatz.)
But according to CNN, the amount of time each candidate had to speak this evening, was practically even — with Trump slightly edging out Clinton with a minute more of airtime.
The #debate was nearly a draw, in terms of speaking times https://t.co/zgLdzPBBFm pic.twitter.com/XL1iGk38m4— CNN (@CNN) October 10, 2016