Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton and Donald TrumpReuters

Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton and her Republican counterpart Donald Trump squared off in the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York on Monday, which was early Tuesday morning in India. 

The first of the three debates of the US presidential election saw quite a few back-and-forths between the former US secretary of state and the billionaire-turned-politician, so much so that debate moderator Lester Holt was turned into a mute spectator at times as the two candidates interrupted each other's speeches. 

Here are 10 highlights of the debate: 

  • On jobs and economy, Clinton says jobs need to be for everyone, and not just those on top. She seemed to have won this round when she pointed out that Trump had rooted for the housing market collapse — Trump's reply to that was: "It's business." — and said she called his economic policy "Trumped-up trickle down."
  • While still on the jobs issue, Clinton cited an architect in the audience who designed a club house for Trump that was immediately put to use, but he was not paid for it. Trump, not contesting that it was put to good use, said "Maybe he didn't do a good job." It begged the question why Trump immediately started using it if it was not a good job.
  • Many people thought that Trump's taxes and Clinton's private email server and deleted emails would crop up, but never together. Trump, however, had other ideas. He said: "I will release my tax returns -- and that's against my lawyers' wishes -- when she releases the 33,000 emails that had been deleted."
  • Clinton apologised over the use of the email servers. Trump saw his chance and punced on it, calling the act "disgraceful."
  • Then the topic of terrorism, and Donald really Trumped — or is it "stumped"? — everyone by telling Clinton: "You have been fighting Isis [the Islamic State group, also known as Isil] all your adult life!" Clinton's reply: "Fact-checkers, get to work!"
  • Trump had another barb on Isis up his sleeve. He said of Clinton: "She tells you how to fight Isis on her website. I don't think Gen Douglas MacArthur would like that too much." He also accused her of revealing her whole strategy to the enemy. 
  • On racial tensions in the US and the Black Lives Matter protests, Clinton said: "Everyone should be respected by the law and everyone should respect the law." Trump, meanwhile, said the police should get back the right to stop and frisk suspicious individuals, something that has been ruled unconstitutional in some places. Holt had to point out that what he was asking for was called racial profiling.
  • Ever the businessman — although the jury is out on how good he is — Trump used the US presidential debate as a platform to promote an upcoming hotel of his on Pennsylvania avenue. "We're just opening up on Pennsylvania Avenue, right next to the White House. So if I don't get there one way I'm going to get to Pennsylvania Avenue another," he said.
  • So who is ready to be president? Clinton, apparently, when she said: "I think Donald just criticised me for preparing for this debate. And yes I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president."
  • Probably the true balance of power became evident when Clinton baited Trump: "I have a feeling by the end of this evening I will be blamed for everything that ever happened." Trump shot back: "Why not?" Clinton had an answer to that one as well: "Why not. Just join the debate by saying more crazy things."