Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are getting ready for Monday night's first presidential debate pretty much exactly the way you'd expect. Clinton is working with a cadre of experts and analysts and Democratic veterans to get ready to go toe-to-toe with Trump, while Trump is all but ready to go in flying by the seat of his pants.
For Clinton, it will be important to be on the offense and unnerve Trump by calling him out on his unreleased tax returns, lies, and to get a rise out of him by questioning things like his net worth. "Mrs. Clinton has concluded that catching Mr. Trump in a lie during the debate is not enough to beat him: She needs the huge television audience to see him as temperamentally unfit for the presidency, and that she has the power to unhinge him," The New York Times reports based on conversations with her allies.
Trump, who hasn't had much of an attention span for preparing for the debates, is being urged to focus on the big picture and not be provoked by Clinton calling him out on lies. "His advisers see it as a waste of time to try to fill his head with facts and figures," The New York Times writes. "Instead, they want him to practice staying focused on big-picture themes (jobs, terrorism, protecting the homeland and closing borders, 'Make America Great Again') rather than picking fights on side issues or taking the bait from Mrs. Clinton."
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Clinton is spending most of the weekend practicing how to react if Trump insults her or picks at her over issues of trustworthiness or even her husband's past infidelities. Trump has waved off traditional debate preparation even as his advisers worry he's not getting the practice he needs.
Still, Clinton has a tendency to look stiff on stage and is preparing to fend off stereotypes by rehearsing how she can interrupt Trump and push him in a way that optically looks good. She also could get unnerved if repeatedly attacked on her trustworthiness and character. Trump, on the other hand, can be blatantly rude and insulting, which "could be grating during a 90-minute one-on-one debate."
Read an entire breakdown of Trump and Clinton's strengths, vulnerabilities, preparations, strategies, and mock debates at The New York Times.
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