There was one candidate who came to Wednesday night’s debate spoiling for a fight, and it wasn’t Donald Trump. A more subdued Trump worked his way through the early part of the debate in Las Vegas by talking policy and avoiding the kinds of over-the-top attacks that have been a dominant feature of his campaign in recent weeks. But, all along, Clinton was poking him. -“He choked and then got into a Twitter war because the Mexican president said we’re not paying for that wall,” she said. rather have a puppet as president of the United States,” she said of Trump. -“Let me translate that, if I can,” she said of Trump’s explanation of his tax plan. -“On the day when I was in the Situation Room monitoring the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was hosting ‘The Celebrity Apprentice,'” she said. -“There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row, and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him,” she said of Trump’s claim that the 2016 election is rigged. Trump, being Trump, offered a quick retort to most of these. “You’re the puppet,” he said after the Putin comment. “You can’t,” he said when she offered to translate his tax plan. “Should have gotten it,” he said of the Emmy. But he didn’t seem to lose his composure, and he didn’t lash out. In the final five minutes of the debate, all of the poking and prodding finally wore him down, and elicited the response Clinton was looking for. She needled him again, suggesting he would figure out a way to avoid paying payroll taxes for Social Security — much like his avoidance of federal income taxes. “Such a nasty woman,” he said. It took 85 minutes to get there, but Clinton’s diligence and subtle sniping had finally created one of probably two signature, unhelpful moments for Trump at the debate (the other: him saying he might not accept the results of the election). A guy who came to the debate clearly hoping to project a more presidential image was again using the kind of language that had to make his campaign advisers wince. This, of course, isn’t a new campaign dynamic. Clinton has telegraphed this strategy since the Democratic National Convention, in which she said Trump was someone who could be easily “baited with a tweet.” And at that convention and ever since, she has successfully baited Trump into all manner of unhelpful decisions and comments — from feuding with the Khan family to her invoking former Miss Universe Alicia Machado at the first debate to getting him to admit he has avoided paying federal income taxes. And each time, it has reinforced Trump’s central vulnerability: That he lacks the temperament to be president. A Washington Post-ABC News poll last week showed 62 percent of people said Trump doesn’t meet that standard. The difference on Wednesday night was that Trump seemed bent on not getting pulled into these kinds of squabbles and making an unwieldy comment the focus of the after-action. But Clinton kept pushing. Eventually, she got the moment she wanted.