Near the end of Monday night's first presidential debate, Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed champion counter-puncher, led with his chin when asked by moderator Lester Holt of NBC News what he meant by saying rival Hillary Clinton did not have "a presidential look."
"She doesn't have the look," Trump replied. "She doesn't have the stamina." But as the television split screen captured them standing side-by-side after 90 minutes of intensive verbal combat, Clinton seemed as alert and on her game as he did, despite the bout with pneumonia that had temporarily forced her off the campaign trail.
She pounced on Trump's answer, converting it deftly to cast it in sexist terms. "He tried to switch from looks to stamina," she said, "but this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs." In one phrase, she kept Trump on the defensive as he had been most of the night.
After the opening minutes, in which he presented a deferential and insult-free Donald, Clinton's relentless reminders of the more aggressive and intemperate Donald seemed increasingly to get under his thin skin.