Accusations and personal attacks aside, there was no real substance to the last debate.
Three debates later Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump reaffirmed that the two candidates for the U.S. presidency have no real solutions for the problems facing the average person, showing that their policies would change little in unemployment, homelessness, student debt, continuous U.S. war, police brutality, among other things.
The two battled sharply over the influence of Vladimir Putin on the U.S. electoral campaign, with Clinton calling Trump the Russian president's puppet and Trump arguing that Putin had repeatedly outsmarted Clinton and Obama.
Clinton reiterated the administration's accusation that the Russian government was behind the latest WikiLeaks and hacks of her emails.
"He'd rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence officials that are sworn to protect us," Clinton said.
Trump rejected the idea that he was close to Putin, but suggested he would have a better relationship with Russia’s leader than Clinton. He said that neither Clinton nor Obama know for sure who is behind the leaks.
"He said nice things about me,” Trump said. “He has no respect for her, he has no respect for our president and I’ll tell you what, we’re in very serious trouble."
Clinton responded, ”Well that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president of the United States.”
Trump was hoping to reverse his fading momentum in a U.S. election that opinion polls show is tilting away from him. The New York businessman has been damaged by several accusations he groped women—which he denies—and concerns about his claims the election will be rigged against him.
Trump accused Clinton's campaign of orchestrating the accusations by women who said the businessman made unwanted sexual advances against them.
Trump said all of the stories were "totally false" and suggested Clinton was behind the charges. "I think they either want fame or her campaign did it, and I think it's her campaign," Trump said.
Clinton said the women came forward after Trump said in the last debate he had never made unwanted advances on women. In a 2005 video, Trump was recorded bragging about groping women against their will.
When questioned about his criticism that Clinton is “rigging” the presidential race, Trump refused to say he would accept the outcome of the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election, leaving open the possibility he would challenge the ultimate outcome. "I will tell you at the time, I will keep you in suspense," Trump said.
Clinton responded, "Let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means: He is denigrating, he is talking down our democracy and I, for one, am appalled that someone who is the nominee for one of our two major parties would take that position."
Clinton, a former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady, leads in national polls and in most of the battleground states where the election will likely be decided.
Most recently, he has urged supporters to patrol polling places in inner cities to prevent voter fraud, an action that some fear could lead to violence, or at the very least, tension as people head to the polls on Nov. 8.
Clinton has struggled to get past concerns about transparency raised over her use of a private email server for work communication while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.