With a tight election on the line, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hilary Clinton faced off on Monday at their first presidential debate, a battle emergedg as the most hotly anticipated moment in modern US political history.
More than 100 million American, an audience revaling that of the Super Bowl, had been glued to televisions, smart phones and social media when the rivals riped off the gloves.
The two US presidential candidates have clashed over jobs, terrorism and race in the first presidential debate.
The attacks turned personal as Republican Donald Trump accused his rival Hillary Clinton of not having the right temperament to be president. He said she did not have the stamina to be president, to which she replied that she visited 112 countries as secretary of state.
Meanwhile, Mrs Clinton baited Mr Trump by pointing out that he refuses to release his tax returns.
“I have a feeling that by the end of this evening, I’m going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened,” Mrs Clinton quipped when prompted to respond after one of Mr Trump’s attacks.
“Why not?” Mr Trump interrupted.
“Yeah, why not,” she answered. “You know, just join the debate by saying more crazy things.”
“You’ve been fighting Isis [Islamic State group] your entire adult life,” Mr Trump mocked
In a wider assault on his treatment of women, she repeated an assertion that he has called women “pigs, slobs and dogs”, focusing on Mr Trump’s long-held belief that President Barack Obama was born outside the US, a position he finally reversed two weeks ago.
Mr Trump was later thrown on the defensive by moderator Lester Holt for not disclosing his tax returns.
He claimed he was under a “routine audit” and would release the document once the audit was finished.
Mrs Clinton made a brief response to Mr Trump’s attacks about her use of a private email server – which has haunted her on the campaign trail. She said there were no excuses for the “mistake” and that she takes responsibility for it.
The debate was the first of three between the two candidates, and the American voters go to the polls on 8 November.