Clinton, Trump go head to head in high stakes presidential debate

Updated: 2016-09-27 08:42


Clinton, Trump go head to head in high stakes presidential debate

Fen Dougharty, 15, poses outside Hofstra University, the site of the September 26 first presidential debate between US Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, in Hempstead, New York, US, September 26, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]


Clinton, 68, and Trump, 70, have regularly exchanged sharp insults at a distance, raising the prospect of a fiery grudge match. Trump refers to Clinton as "Crooked Hillary" and has called for her jailing for the email controversy. Clinton denounces Trump as temperamentally unfit for the White House.

Trump dominated the crowded Republican debates with rapid-fire attacks on his rivals but has no experience in a one-on-one debate setting that requires more prolonged discussion of issues.

Clinton has participated in many one-on-one debates on the national stage: with Obama during her unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign and with US Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic nominating race earlier this year.

Clinton's camp has done its best to raise the bar for Trump, and in television interviews on Monday both campaigns tried to frame expectations.

"What we don't want to have is some sort of double standard where Donald Trump can get the most-improved award, but Hillary Clinton ... is getting judged on the fine points of policy," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told NBC News, calling Trump "an entertainer."

Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Clinton's vast experience was unlikely to translate onto the debate stage, where Trump held an advantage.

"He's not going to be robotic and scripted," she said separately on NBC.

The role of moderator Lester Holt of NBC News also came under scrutiny before the debate, with the Clinton campaign and her Democratic supporters urging him to correct Trump if he makes false claims.

Trump also has tried to influence Holt and moderators of the other showdowns with Clinton, saying the candidates should be the ones to correct the record.


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