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HAMMOND — Although many polls say it’s a dead heat between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, some Hammond High students say there’s no contest.

After watching Monday night’s presidential debate between Clinton and Trump, the students said Clinton was poised and eloquent and Trump acted the bully, interrupting Clinton and failing to answer moderator Lester Holt’s questions. They said some of Trump’s responses were just muddled and didn’t make sense.

Hammond High senior Rafael Garcia said his class has been talking about the election and the campaign since school started this fall.

“Some of the stuff that Trump says affects me in that it makes me angry because some of the things he says are so ignorant,” Garcia said. “I think he says stuff for attention.”

Advanced Placement Government teacher Carlton Glassford invited his students to a pizza party Monday night to watch the debate.

Billed as the greatest political show, Trump’s rhetoric has taken center stage, marked by name-calling and unpredictable comments.

The debacle over Clinton’s private email server during her time as secretary of state has followed her throughout the campaign, and her responses have been measured.

Glassford’s students just completed studying the U.S. Constitution and the three branches of government — the executive, legislative and judicial.

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This is the first debate between Clinton and Trump. Some of the students in Glassford’s class are eligible to vote, and are looking forward to the Nov. 8 election.

Glassford and the students agreed that Trump made a valid point when he said the U.S. should be able to negotiate better trade deals because the country has the upper hand.

But senior Amber Peterson called Trump a liar.

“He will say anything to get people to pay attention to him,” she said. “He says he wants to make America great again, but what that really means is that he wants to make sure that whites remain on top and all other races are subservient.”

Senior Erika Ramos, 18, gave Clinton a point when she referred to the “great speech” made by first lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention, a subtle dig at Melania Trump’s speech during the Republican Convention.

Senior Adriana Garcia said Clinton appeals to the middle class, and Trump was repeatedly rude and attempted to belittle Clinton.

Prior to the debate, Marie Eisenstein, an associate professor of political science at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, predicted that each candidate would exhibit a different style.

“Clinton is the more polished and practiced debater. Trump is more spontaneous,” Eisenstein said. “Each candidate should play to their strengths. For example, Trump should not try to compete with Clinton on policy detail or professional debate demeanor, he should focus on his practical common-sense delivery of ideas because that is what has resonated with voters so far. Clinton should not try to be as spontaneous as Trump as it does not suit her practiced demeanor that augments her national-level experience.”

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Southlake County Reporter

Carmen is an award-winning journalist who has worked at The Times newspaper for 20 years. Before that she also had stints at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., The Post-Tribune and The News Dispatch in Michigan City.