“After two historically acrid debates, Mrs. Clinton finally got the policy discussion she had craved”

After two historically acrid debates, Mrs. Clinton finally got the policy discussion she had craved. But in between expounding on her proposals to make college affordable and to raise the minimum wage, she savaged Mr. Trump’s career, his finances and his sensitivities, portraying him as a lightweight with the temperament of a spoiled child.

On his experience: “On the day when I was in the Situation Room monitoring the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was hosting ‘The Celebrity Apprentice,’” Mrs. Clinton said.

On his charitable giving, compared with the work of the Clinton Foundation: “I’d be happy to compare what we do with the Trump Foundation, which took money from other people and bought a six-foot portrait of Donald,” Mrs. Clinton said witheringly.

“I mean, who does that?” she added.

On Mr. Trump’s famed negotiating skills: “He went to Mexico. He had a meeting with the Mexican president,” Mrs. Clinton said bitingly. “He choked and then got into a Twitter war because the Mexican president said, ‘We’re not paying for that wall.’”

Mr. Trump struggled to keep pace. “Excuse me,” he complained. “My turn,” he stomped.

“The one thing you have over me is experience,” Mr. Trump said at one point.

And yet it seemed clear through this last confrontation that there was a gap in knowledge, or at least in command of the material that candidates seeking to be president are expected to master.

“Take a look at the Start-Up they signed,” Mr. Trump said at one point, apparently referring to the Start nuclear arms reduction treaty.

Pressed on immigration, Mrs. Clinton detailed her plan to overhaul the current system, identifying a daughter of undocumented parents who feared they would be deported. Mr. Trump’s response seemed far less certain: After reiterating his plan to build a wall on the Mexican border, he summoned a line straight out of a Hollywood western. “We have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out,” he said.

Asked about a 2008 Supreme Court decision on gun control, District of Columbia v. Heller, Mr. Trump displayed a loose command of the subject, focusing his answer on Mrs. Clinton’s emotions after the ruling. “Hillary was extremely upset, extremely angry,” he said.

Amy Chozick and Michael Barbaro, “Hillary Clinton, Mocking and Taunting in Debate, Turns the Tormentor”, The New York Times (20 October 2016) [http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/20/us/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump.html]