At this point in the ugly 2016 presidential campaign, is Hillary Clinton capable of saying anything nice to Donald Trump? Yes, and we've got it on tape. 

"Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald," she said in answer to the last question at Sunday's debate (an audience member asked the candidates to say something they liked about each other).

Trump can do it, too: "She doesn't quit. She doesn't give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She's a fighter."

It was a heartwarming moment -- perhaps the only one -- in an otherwise brutal night. 

The events of the days, hours and even minutes leading up to the second presidential debate forecasted an ugly evening for Clinton and Trump. 

Trump was expected to address a 2005 recording of him making lewd comments about women. As a preview of how low the debate might go, just minutes before, he held a press conference where he appeared on stage with three women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct. It was a shocking moment for a presidential nominee. 

At the actual debate, the candidates declined to shake hands as they took the stage.

Trump was asked to defend his statements about groping and kissing women without consent. He brushed it off as "locker room talk" that he's "certainly...not proud of." When he attempted to pivot to terrorism and ISIS, he was pressed by moderator Anderson Cooper about whether he actually did the things he boasted of in the tapes. After several deflections ("I have great respect for women"), only when interrupted by Cooper did he finally say, "No, I have not."

Soon after, he attempted to turn the attention to President Bill Clinton, whose past with women, Trump said, is "far worse" than his own. "I think it's disgraceful, and I think she should be ashamed of herself, if you want to know the truth," he said.

Clinton returned fire: "You know, with prior Republican nominees for president, I disagreed with them on politics, policies, principles, but I never questioned their fitness to serve. Donald Trump is different," she said.

At times, the inner-workings of the Trump campaign and influence of advisers like Breitbart's Steve Bannon and strategist Roger Stone became apparent.

Trump said that if elected he will instruct his attorney general to get a special prosecutor to "look into [Clinton's] situation." When Clinton quipped "it's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country," Trump snapped back, "Because you'd be in jail." He also accused Clinton of originating the birther movement (she didn't) and said the Second Amendment is "under siege" by people like her. He appeared to admit to avoiding paying personal federal income taxes, using the $916 million loss revealed in his 1995 tax returns uncovered by The New York Times. "Of course I do," he said, subsequently adding that many of Clinton's donors and backers, including Warren Buffett and George Soros, do, too. These are all sentiments that would fit seamlessly into a story on, the right wing website Bannon used to run.

Moderator Martha Raddatz had a particularly heated exchange with Trump as he attempted to pivot away from a question on whether he still supports a ban on Muslims entering the United States. He said the proposal has "morphed into an extreme vetting from certain areas of the world" without clarifying exactly what that means. "Why did it morph into that," she said, as he protested over her interruption. "Answer the question."

His response: "Why don't you interrupt her? You interrupt me all the time."

When he did attempt to answer the question, it was not with much substance. Moments later, Trump went on to insist he was always against the Iraq war (he was not, and Clinton challenged him on it) and then Clinton gave a rambling response to a question, bizarrely invoking Abraham Lincoln. 

The second presidential debate was not a good moment for American politics. But the final words of the night -- when the candidates complimented each other, some of the only civil words spoken all weekend -- left viewers with at least some positive feeling to take into the final month of the election.