She mansplained him. “Let me translate that if I can,” Hillary Clinton said dryly after Donald J. Trump talked up his tax plan.
She interrupted him. When Mr. Trump boasted of the gilded Las Vegas hotel that bears his name, Mrs. Clinton leaned into her microphone. “Made with Chinese steel,” she quipped with a smile.
She mocked him. After Mr. Trump said President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had “no respect” for her, Mrs. Clinton slyly posited why Mr. Putin seemingly preferred Mr. Trump: “He’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States,” she said.
In the third and final presidential debate, Mrs. Clinton outmaneuvered Mr. Trump with a surprising new approach: his.
Flipping the script, she turned herself into his relentless tormentor, condescending to him repeatedly and deploying some of his own trademark tactics against him.
The relatively subdued and largely defanged Republican nominee who showed up onstage at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, was a different figure from the candidate America has watched for the past 16 months.
Mr. Trump was, for much of the night, oddly calm and composed. He minimized his name-calling. His interruptions were relatively rare for him.
In a debate that his allies had predicted would represent 90 minutes of scorched-earth verbal warfare, Mr. Trump seemed deserted by his most bellicose instincts.
He repeatedly gave up chances to respond to pointed taunts from Mrs. Clinton, who dominated the confrontation from its opening moments, needling and baiting him over and over.
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]