World

US election debate: Who do world media think emerged the winner?

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Image caption European papers agree Mrs Clinton won the debate

Media around the world think Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton emerged ahead from the first TV debate of the US presidential election campaign, but failed to land a knockout blow on her Republican rival Donald Trump.

'Bout of the century'

European pundits agree that Mrs Clinton had the better night, but that it is still too early to write off Donald Trump.

Gilles Paris, the Washington correspondent of France's centre-right daily Le Monde, says Mrs Clinton "dominated the first debate" and "frequently put her Republican opponent on the defensive", in particular over his stance on the Iraq war and President Obama's birth certificate.

He says Mr Trump had "some success" in putting over his points about protectionism and America's "declining role" in the world, and warns Clinton supporters that Republican challenger Mitt Romney was widely thought to have won the first debate in 2012, only to go on to lose the election.

The conservative Figaro daily agrees that Mrs Clinton "dominated Trump" in the debate, "defending her arguments with the assurance of a lawyer and attacking Trump like a prosecutor".

Washington correspondent Philippe Gelie says she "scored significant points" in the key battle to establish presidential credibility and win over undecided voters, but still "failed to land a knockout blow in the bout of the century".

Image copyright Liberation
Image caption French newspaper Liberation's article asks "Who won?"

Frederic Autran of the left-wing Liberation daily says that, although Mrs Clinton was better prepared for the debate, Mr Trump failed to "make any massive mistakes".

He doesn't believe either will have won over many undecided voters, leaving the "American people the main losers for having to choose between the most unpopular candidates in history".

'Protectionist fury'

In Germany, the centre-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger thinks Mr Trump had the "wind taken out of his sails" by the "more presidential" Hillary Clinton.

He "floundered" over her questions about his tax returns, stance on the Iraq war, and the controversy over President Obama's citizenship, but "did have his strengths in the protectionist fury with which he reached out to white voters over the loss of manufacturing jobs".

Mr Frankenberger says the Democrats cannot yet assume they have regained the momentum to propel them back into the White House.

Image copyright Der Tagesspiegel
Image caption Der Tagesspiegel promises "Everything about the Duel" on their website

Matthias Kolb, in Washington for the centre-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung, repeats the received wisdom that "Trump lost, but Clinton didn't win".

The Democrat's "self-control and pointed jibes made Donald Trump fall apart", but he is aware of her "great weaknesses - in particular public trust - and is preparing his counter-attack," the correspondent writes, seeing a likelihood of "low blows" as the campaign develops.

'Low blows'

In Italy, Giuseppe Sarcina of Corriere della Sera also picks up on low blows, noting that Mr Trump avoided them in this first debate, opting instead to "circle round three or four points - stopping jobs going abroad, tax cuts, business incentives, and cutting red tape".

He says that the "surprise was Mrs Clinton adopting the more aggressive tone", "setting the agenda", and attacking Mr Trump over his tax returns and comments on race.

Spanish commentators agree that Mrs Clinton had the better night - the conservative ABC daily's Manuel Erice Oronoz says her "preparedness beat Trump's improvisation", but repeat the broad impression that neither candidate will have won over undecided voters.

Certainly for Marc Bassets in centrist El Pais, both candidates continue to "excite more rejection than support" .

Image copyright Zvezda TV
Image caption Russian Army TV accuses CNN of faking the poll result

Russian media give the debate top billing, and independent pundits generally say Mrs Clinton had the better of the debate.

Pavel Demidov of the RBC business site says: "Trump failed to come across as a serious presidential candidate, but the Democrats should not drop their guard... as the next debate may be far more difficult for Clinton than the first."

But the major pro-Kremlin TV channels are mainly interested in what the candidates had to say about Russia, with Rossiya 1 saying it was "one of the key topics".

The Defence Ministry's Zvezda TV goes as far as to suggest that CNN's poll "forged Clinton's victory over Trump", a point echoed by pro-government bloggers on Twitter.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The debate was popular on Chinese social media

The US debate has been a major talking point in China, as shown by a graphic on the official Sina Weibo microblog. It shows a spike in traffic during the debate, with 11,000 active users watching and reading news stories via the site.

The #USElection hashtag has also been one of the most used on mobile devices in the last 24 hours.

Official TV channels are divided over the candidates.

CCTV thinks Mrs Clinton "did slightly better", but Phoenix TV in Hong Kong says "feelings are conflicted" among America's "less intelligent swing voters" who feel that Trump "represents human nature".

'Chaos in the region'

In the Middle East, the leading Arab satellite TV channels covered the debate prominently, but with differing emphases.

The lead story on Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya focused on the "heated arguments" over the economy and unemployment, and highlighted the CNN poll saying 52% of viewers thought Mrs Clinton has won the debate.

But Qatar's Al-Jazeera was more interested in the Middle East.

Its Washington correspondent said Mr Trump tried to "hold Clinton responsible for the failure of Middle Eastern policies" and causing "chaos in the region", while Mrs Clinton accused Mr Trump of lacking the skills to be president.

Iranian state TV was most interested in the candidates' take on the Iranian nuclear deal.

The IRINN rolling news channel highlighted Mrs Clinton's remark that US sanctions "brought Iran to the negotiation table", and Mr Trump's condemnation of "one of the worst historical deals done between two countries".

Image copyright Yisrael Hayom
Image caption Israeli newspaper Yisrael Hayom's spread on the debate declared it a "Confrontation"

The debate was big news in Israel too. Chemi Shalev, the US editor of the leftwing daily Haaretz, gives "match points, if not a knockout" to Mrs Clinton in a "fine piece of TV".

But he warns that "Trump supporters have already been indoctrinated with the view that he won, or the media was biased".

Other observers are less impressed.

Boaz Bismuth in conservative Yisrael Hayom dubs the debate "half-hearted", and centrist Yedioth Aharanoth's website concurs that the debate "will be more remembered for its minor clashes".

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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