Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump took to the stage on Monday to begin their first-ever presidential debate and have immediately sparred over jobs, taxes, the Islamic State, guns and the former secretary of state’s undisclosed emails, media reports said.
Moderator Leslie Holt of NBC News opened the 90-minute debate at Hofstra University, Long Island, New York, with the first topic, "Achieving Prosperity" where the first question about putting money back into Americans’ pockets and creating jobs was directed to Clinton, CNN reported.
Clinton, the first woman to represent a major US party in the presidential race, mentioned her granddaughter’s birthday, and talked about everything from gender pay gaps, to paid family leave, to presidential temperament.
Trump gave a classic answer about China and Mexico stealing American business and jobs.
"We have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us, we have to stop companies from leaving the United States," he added.
Clinton also called on Trump to apologise to people who have worked on the real estate mogul’s properties who have not been paid in full, Politico reported.
Do "the thousands of people that you have stiffed over the course of your business not deserve some kind of apology from someone who has taken their labour, taken the goods that they’ve produced and then refused to pay them?" Clinton questioned her rival.
"I can only say that I’m certainly relieved that my late father never did business with you."
Trump went on to suggest that he had only taken that route four times, and that he was within his legal rights to do so.
Following Trump’s opening remarks about reducing taxes, Holt asked Clinton to defend her plan to increase taxes.
Clinton quipped she has a feeling she will be blamed for everything by the end of the night.
Regarding taxes, Trump said "I will release my tax returns – against my lawyer’s wishes – when she releases her 33,000 emails that have been deleted."
Clinton responded by saying that there was something "really important, maybe even terrible that he’s trying to hide," Politico reported.
"Maybe he doesn’t want the American public, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid no federal taxes," Clinton said.
Clinton also admitted that she "made a mistake" about her use of a private email server while at the State Department.
Trump went on to blame Clinton for the the rise of the IS by noting the Democrat had laid out some of her plans on her website.
"You’re telling the enemy everything you want to do," Trump said as Clinton shook her head in amusement. "No wonder you’ve been fighting IS your entire adult life."
Moderator Holt brought up the recent fatal police shootings of African-American men and asked about healing along lines of race and racism.
"Unfortunately, race often determines too much," she said, adding "We have to restore trust between communities and the police… everyone should be respected by the law and everyone should respect the law."
Trump said the country needed law and order. "African Americans and Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street you get shot," he added.
Clinton has called for restricted gun control in the US, saying "We’ve got too many military-style weapons on the streets. In a lot of places, our police are outgunned … we need to keep guns out of the hands of those who’d do harm."
The debate is divided into 6 segments with 15 minutes given to each nominee. Two minutes will be allotted to answer a question asked by the moderator, two minutes to reply and the remaining time for the nominees to debate.
This is the 20th US presidential debate and is being organised by the Commission on Presidential Debates.