US presidential debate: Donald Trump blames Hillary Clinton for rise of Islamic State

This is the 20th US presidential debate and is being organised by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

US presidential debate: Donald Trump blames Hillary Clinton for rise of Islamic State

State of New York: Democrat Hillary Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump took the stage on Monday for their crucial first presidential debate, in what could be the most watched US political event in years.

Sparring over plans for US economy, Clinton accused Trump of peddling "trumped up trickle down" economics in the opening minutes of their first presidential debate, setting a combative tone as the candidates clashed over how to increase US jobs.

Trump gave a classic answer about China and Mexico stealing American business and jobs. He also had his first point of agreement, his unexpected (for the GOP) child leave plan: "I think Hillary and I agree on that, we probably disagree a little bit as it relates to numbers and amounts," he said.

"We have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us, we have to stop companies from leaving the United States," he added.

As the pair tangled over trade, taxes and government regulations in the opening salvos of the 90-minute debate Clinton said, "I know you live in your own reality, but those are not the facts."

Clinton and Donald Trump traded blows on the debate stage Monday over the Democrat`s use of a private email server as secretary of state, and the Republican billionaire`s refusal to release his tax history.

"I will release my tax returns against my lawyer`s wishes when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted," Trump said when pressed on the issue during their crucial first White House debate.

"I have no reason to believe that he`s ever going to release his tax returns, because there`s something he`s hiding," Clinton fired back.

Clinton accused her Republican White House rival of launching his political career by supporting a "racist" theory that questioned Barack Obama`s citizenship.

"He tried to put the whole racist `birther` lie to bed," adding, ""But it can`t be dismissed that easily. He has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen," the Democrat said.

Trump went on to blame Clinton for the the rise of the Islamic State by noting the Democrat had laid out some of her plans on her website.

"You're telling the enemy everything you want to do," Trump said as Clinton shook her head in amusement. "No wonder you've been fighting IS your entire adult life."

Trump said the country needed law and order. "African Americans and Hispanics are living in hell because it's so dangerous. You walk down the street you get shot," he added.

Clinton has called for restricted gun control in the US, saying "We've got too many military-style weapons on the streets. In a lot of places, our police are outgunned … we need to keep guns out of the hands of those who'd do harm."

Moderator Leslie Holt of NBC News opened the 90-minute debate at Hofstra University, Long Island, New York, with the first topic, "Achieving Prosperity", CNN reported. 

The two White House hopefuls, in a virtual dead heat in polls with barely six weeks before the November 8 election, cordially shook hands as they readied for a 90-minute face-off.