Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told reporters on Tuesday that she felt "positive" about her performance against Republican Donald Trump in the first presidential debate, while Trump vowed to take his gloves off and "hit her harder" in the next performance next month.
"We had a great, great time last night and I have to say, I was thrilled that I got to lay out some of the middle class economic policies and pro-family policies that I've been talking about throughout this campaign to all the viewers who tuned in," Clinton told reporters aboard her campaign plane.
Clinton and Trump squared off Monday night in front of millions of television viewers for a 90-minute debate that is the first of three scheduled showdowns ahead of the November 8 election. The next debate is October 9.
Initial and incomplete ratings showing more than 80 million people tuned in, putting it on course to set a record for most-viewed presidential debates. The viewership figure of 80.9 million across 12 stations did not yet include figures from public broadcaster PBS and C-SPAN and excluded those who watched online, according to CNN.
The total figure was expected to surpass the viewership of the previous top presidential debate pitting president Jimmy Carter and challenger Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Trump charged that moderator Lester Holt did not go after Clinton hard enough on issues such as her exclusive use of a private email server while secretary of state or the attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
He said he had done well when he was asked "normal" questions about issues rather than his own controversies on Barack Obama's birth certificate and other issues.
"I may hit her harder in certain ways. I really eased up because I didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings," Trump said, after claiming he did not bring up the past infidelities of former president Bill Clinton because their daughter Chelsea was in the audience.
Clinton again dismissed Trump as having a temperament that was unfit for the nation's highest elected office and said he had made repeated untrue charges and claims in a largely negative campaign.
"I'm excited about where we are in this country. He talks down America every chance he gets," she said. "He calls us names. He calls us a third-world country. He talks in such dire and dark terms. That's not who America is. You know, we are the best problem-solvers in the world, our diversity is a strength."
US President Barack Obama echoed Clinton's concerns in a radio interview, saying Trump "doesn't have the preparation, the temperament or the core values of inclusion and making everybody have opportunity that would take our country forward."