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Summary

  1. Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have tussled in first TV debate
  2. The two candidates clashed repeatedly on tax returns, trade, temperament, emails and stamina
  3. The 90-minute duel in New York could be the most watched debate in TV history, with 100 million viewers
  4. Polls suggest the race has tightened in the past few weeks, with Clinton holding a narrow lead

Live reporting

By Nalina Eggert, Courtney Subramanian, Max Matza and Kevin Ponniah

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Video: Key moments from the first presidential debate

Key moments from the US presidential debate

Listen: Supporters react to the debate

BBC Radio 5 live

Democratic Party politician Kevin De Leon said Hillary Clinton gave a "solid" and "decisive" performance, whereas Republican supporter Shaun McCutcheon said Donald Trump "missed a lot of opportunities to nail it". 

After the first US election TV debate, Clinton and Trump supporters gave their reactions to BBC Radio 5 live.

Fight still on for undecided voters

James Naughtie

Special correspondent, BBC Radio 4 News

In the spin room, Hillary Clinton's chief of communications, Jennifer Palmieri, told me this presidential race was a "true battle for the Republic" in what is a very divided country.

That’s the truth of it: a divided a country indeed, with two candidates who may have delighted their own supporters in this debate and confirmed them in their choice.

The question is what happens with the others - the voters who for one reason or another warm neither to Clinton nor to Trump. What will they do? You would be foolhardy to think that this debate has settled that one.

James Naughtie speaks to Jennifer Palmieri in the aftermath of the debate
BBC
James Naughtie speaks to Jennifer Palmieri in the aftermath of the debate

In pictures

Melania Trump and Bill Clinton
AP
Melania Trump greets Bill Clinton
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump embrace
AP
The debate was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York
A man watches the debate through the window of a pub in Atlanta
AP
A man watches the debate through the window of a pub in Atlanta
Bill and Hillary Clinton greet fans after the debate
AP
The Clintons meet the crowd after the debate
Donald Trump leaves the debate with family
AP
Donald Trump leaves the debate with family

Who won the debate - Anthony Zurcher's take

Our correspondent says the debate was battle between a lawyer and a salesman.

He says Hillary Clinton controlled the debate with "forensic precision", while Donald Trump struggled to stay on course.

The lawyer successfully attacked Trump on his undisclosed tax returns and allegations about Barack Obama's birthplace, while the salesman managed to score some points by targeting her shifting stance on trade deals and long history as part of the political establishment.

But Anthony says that moderator Lester Holt played a key role, and the way he steered the debate favoured Mrs Clinton.

Read more of Anthony's analysis

Who is Lester Holt?

Lester Holt
AP

Candidates swap party colours

Some viewers were a little confused to see Trump wearing a blue tie, the colour commonly associated with the Democratic Party - while Hillary Clinton was in red, associated with the Republican Party.

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While most reaction focused on what the candidates were saying, some Clinton fans praised her sartorial choice.  

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What the rest of the world thinks

People watch live broadcasting of the U.S. presidential debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, at Foreign Correspondents" Club in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016
AP
People tune in at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong

The Associated Press has canvassed views on the debate from around the world.

China

"I personally like Trump's character and the feeling that he's a fighter,'' said Wang Pei, a graduate student in communications studies. "But from today's performance, I think Clinton was more like a mature politician and Trump looked a bit like a misfit in this kind of setting.'' 

Another graduate student, Ge Mengchao, said he thought Mr Trump would be "friendlier" to China because of shared commercial interests between China and the US.

"From the perspective of a businessman, he may take a friendlier approach to China.''  

Australia

Milton Gan, a Sydney-based photographer, said Mr Trump struggled to keep his cool. 

"He started interrupting Clinton, he started interrupting [moderator] Lester [Holt] and he started steamrolling. And you could see he was just getting really irate about everything,'' he said. 

"The most ridiculous thing was at the end when he said he had the better temperament to be president...It was just hilarious.

"But at the same time, underlying all of this is the fact that there's a really serious world leader's position at stake and he's one of the contenders. And it's pretty scary.'' 

But Richard McConochie, who watched the debate in a Canberra pub, said he thought "Trump aced it". 

"He came across as a man who could control himself. They said Trump's ignorant of the issues. I think he proved that he had at least a working handle on most of the stuff he was talking about.''

Japan

Analyst Narushige Michishita took issue with Mr Trump's criticism that US allies were free-riding under the US security umbrella.

While that was somewhat true in the 1970s and 1980s, he said, it was no longer the case today "given what Prime Minister Abe is doing to make Japan much more proactive on defense and security matters, and trying to make Japan more engaged in international security affairs.

"It's like, 'What are you talking about?'"

The world's media have their say

BBC Monitoring

News from around the globe

Russia

TV channel Rossiya 1 dubbed the debate an "exchange of caustic remarks" where "Russia was one of the key topics". Channel One called it an "uncompromising war of words".

Commentators at the independent Nesavisimaya Gazeta newspaper agree that Mr Trump appeals to Russian sympathisers in the US, who "like his proposal to restrict the access of illegal migrants to the country" and his lack of the "political correctness of which we are sick and tired". 

The debate is trending on Twitter in Russia, where some pro-Kremlin bloggers are hailing Mr Trump's performance.

The Arab world

Leading Arab satellite TV channels are covering the debate prominently, but with differing emphases. 

It is the lead story on Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya, which focuses on "heated arguments" over the economy and unemployment. It highlights a CNN poll saying 62% of viewers thought Mrs Clinton had won the debate. 

Qatar's Al-Jazeera focused on comments on the Middle East. Its Washington correspondent said Mr Trump tried to "hold Clinton responsible for the failure of [US] Middle Eastern policies" and causing "chaos in the region", while Mrs Clinton accused Mr Trump of lacking the skills to be president.

Iran

Iranian state TV focused on the nominees' take on Iran's nuclear issue. The IRINN rolling news channel highlighted Mrs Clinton's remark that US sanctions "brought Iran to the negotiation table" and Mr Trump denunciation of the nuclear deal as "one of the worst historical deals done between two countries".

Listen: The view from the spin room

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

The rival camps were spinning at full tilt in the aftermath of the debates, with Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook calling Donald Trump "unhinged" and Rudy Giuliani describing Clinton as "ignorant". James Naughtie reports from the spin room.

What does that mean? Debate watchers look up lingo

Dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster says "stamina", "temperament" and "braggadocio" are the top trending words on its website after being used in the presidential debate.

Mr Trump used the word braggadocious in the debate. Merriam-Webster says the word is not common enough to feature in its dictionary.

"It is thought to have come from braggadocio (also not a common word today), which is considerably older," it says. 

"This term, which currently means 'the annoying or exaggerated talk of someone who is trying to sound very proud or brave' began to be used in the beginning of the 17th century, at which point it simply referred to a braggart."

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Waking up? Here's what you missed

First presidential debate - Donald Trump points across the stage at Hillary Clinton
AP

The two candidates sparred for 90 minutes in a bitter and acrimonious debate. If you missed it, here are some key points:

  • Trump was forced on the defensive for not releasing his tax returns, with Clinton suggesting he was hiding "something terrible". He said he would release them if Clinton released 33,000 emails that were deleted during an investigation into a private email server she used while secretary of state.
  • On the economy, Trump attacked Clinton for her shifting stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and repeatedly criticised Bill Clinton for approving Nafta while president.
  • He also questioned whether she had the "stamina" to be president. She responded by pointing out she had visited 112 countries as secretary of state.
  • Trump denied ever saying climate change was a hoax and a Chinese conspiracy despite past tweets showing the opposite.
  • Mrs Clinton said Trump had a "long record of engaging in racist behaviour" and said that his questioning of Barack Obama's birthplace had annoyed and bothered the first African American president.
  • African Americans are living "in hell" in the US due to gun violence, Mr Trump said. 

Read our full story.

Listen: Newt Gingrich says Trump 'probably won'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Donald Trump did what he needed to do in the debate, says the former Republican house speaker - he showed himself to be a legitimate contender.

Holt 'did a great job' - Trump

Donald Trump has told CNN that Lester Holt did "a great job" and his questions were "very fair" (even though the Republican nominee did grumble in a tweet that nothing had come up during the debate on emails, the Clinton foundation or Benghazi). Trump's take on the debate moderator is very different from what some conservatives have been saying. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Holt should be "ashamed of himself" and Fox media pundit Howard Kurtz accused him of bias.

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Who won? Depends who you ask...

A CNN/ORC poll has found that 62% of voters who watched the head-to-head thought Clinton came out on top, with just 27% giving the bout to Trump.

This is based on interviews with 521 registered voters chosen as part of a random national sample. But only 26% identified themselves as Republicans while 41% identified themselves as Democrats.

An informal CNBC poll on its website has found 61% of people thought Trump won, while 39% went for Clinton. Trump has tweeted the results, but as CNBC points out, the poll is "not scientific". Anyone, including outside the US, appears to be able to vote.

A post-debate survey by Public Policy Polling of 1,002 debate-watchers found that 51% of national voters thought Clinton won, with 40% choosing Trump and 9% undecided.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
AP

The truth squad

Both candidates were caught fibbing by fact-checkers during the debate. Trump denied Clinton's claim that he had said climate change "is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese". But this 2012 tweet indicates otherwise:

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Clinton, meanwhile, denied saying she had called the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal "the gold standard of trade deals". However, she said in 2012: "This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements..." 

Read more from the BBC's Reality Check.

And here's how PolitiFact has rated the honesty of each candidate's statements this campaign cycle...

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Pranking Hannity

Trump implored viewers during the debate to call Fox New host Sean Hannity, who he insisted would vouch that the Republican nominee had been an early opponent of the Iraq war. Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau made the call on his podcast, Keepin' It 1600. Hannity, an avid Trump supporter, was not amused. 

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5 million tweets

graphic: 5 million tweets, 62% about Trump
BBC

And who were those unlikely debate guests?

people that are actually fit to run a country #UnlikelyDebateGuests

Adele...just to say Hello #UnlikelyDebateGuests

#UnlikelyDebateGuests The person who poisoned the skittles

If you haven't a clue why people are talking about multicoloured sweets...

Donald Trump Jr compares Syrian refugees to Skittles

OMG!

You can see how many flashpoints there were in this epic battle of wits on the faces of these Clinton supporters at a debate-watch party in West Hollywood.

Clinton supporters watch the debate at a bar in West Hollywood, California
AFP
Clinton supporters watch the debate at a bar in West Hollywood, California
AFP
Clinton supporters watch the debate at a bar in West Hollywood, California
AFP

Tight squeeze?

How hard do you reckon they were squeezing each other's hands here?

Are these the faces of two people in bone-crunching pain who won't give in to each other, or were they just being all cordial?

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton before the 26 September debate
EPA

Key moments

To recap, Trump and Clinton have locked horns in the first of three presidential debates. Clinton showed discipline and seemed to get under Trump’s skin by accusing him of stiffing contractors, dodging his federal taxes, being a misogynist and promoting "the racist, birther lie". Trump hit back at Clinton on trade deals, her emails and the Middle East, framing her as a political insider who had achieved nothing after three decades of public life. Some key moments:

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Well, this looks awkward...

Trump took to Twitter to criticise Lester Holt minutes after he left the stage. In the Vine clip below, Trump appears to snub the moderator after the debate ends. Clinton shakes Holt's hand, while Trump seems to wander off, though he did come back round to press the NBC host's flesh.

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Clinton won, say traders

The immediate reaction from financial markets suggests the money-movers think Clinton won. A Citigroup report on the eve of the debate said traders were preparing for volatility on the bullion and forex markets in the event of Trump's election. Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London, said: "A good performance from Mr Trump [tonight] could see market volatility increase, particularly if investors think there is a possibility that he could actually win [the White House]." 

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Now to the spin room...

If you’re just joining us, Trump and Clinton repeatedly clashed over the economy, her emails, his tax returns and their temperament in a feisty 90-minute debate. The clock may be up, but the fun is far from over. The campaign surrogates - and, in fact, Trump himself - are now in the spin room vigorously trying to shape the media narrative for tomorrow’s headlines in favour of their candidate.

Hillary Clinton listens to Donald Trump during the debate
AP
Hillary Clinton listens to Donald Trump during the debate

Snapshots of the debate's end

Trump and Clinton shake on it at end of debate
AP
Trump and Clinton shake on it at end of debate
Hillary and Bill Clinton
AP
Hillary and Bill Clinton at the end of the debate
Donald Trump (C) kisses his wife, Melania Trump, while son, Donald Trump, Jr (L) looks on
Getty Images
Donald Trump (C) kisses his wife, Melania Trump, while son, Donald Trump, Jr (L) looks on

Carmaker 'deletes tweet'

Japanese carmaker Honda has reportedly deleted a misspelled tweet in favour of Clinton. Not clear if it was hacked, or if a drunken intern hijacked the account.

Honda tweet
Twitter
Honda tweet

Beauty queen tweets

The Hispanic model mentioned by Clinton in the debate exchange on misogyny has thanked her on Twitter for the name check. Her name is Alicia Machado. The former Miss Universe says she suffered severe psychological distress after Trump allegedly called her Miss Piggy. Ms Machado, who competed as Miss Venezuela, recently became a US citizen in order to vote in this election. 

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Candidates on cyber warfare

Trump: "I have a son who's 10 years old, he's so good with these computers it's unbelievable."

'Have to get tough on cyber warfare'

Twitter stats are in

Well that was fast!

Twitter's communications team are out with some quick statistics.

Check it out:

What's trending on social media reaction to debate
BBC
What's trending on social media reaction to debate
What's trending on social media reaction to debate
BBC
What's trending on social media reaction to debate
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