The final 2016 presidential debate
Bill Clinton narrowly avoided a potentially humiliating confrontation on live television at the second presidential debate, with three women who have accused him of sexual assault invited to the event by Donald Trump's camp. The plot for the women to cross paths with Clinton during opening handshakes was thought up by Trump and his closest aides, but thwarted at the last minute at the insistence of the Commission on Presidential Debates.
For the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton's campaign doesn't want to take any more chances. The campaign has "apparently gained approval of a different protocol for the entry of the candidates' spouses and families into the debate hall," The New York Times reports:
The new arrangement calls for the candidates' spouses to enter the hall closer to their seats, rather than crossing the room, and each other's paths.
That would avoid any potential for confrontations, given Mr. Trump's penchant for dramatic stunts.
On Tuesday, an aide to Mrs. Clinton declined to comment on the change, and aides to Mr. Trump did not respond to an email seeking comment.
It is possible, of course, that further negotiations could result in a different arrangement, if both sides agree, by the time the debate begins at 9 p.m. Eastern. [The New York Times]
Barring any arrangement made in the next several hours, there will be no handshake between the opposing candidates' families. "If I had my druthers, I would say you should — in the best interest of the American people and comity — go out and shake hands," Frank Fahrenkopf, the co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, told CNN. "But I don't dictate that. They have the right to do what they want to do."
Clinton and Trump did not shake hands ahead of the last presidential debate, but did so after the town hall-style event concluded. There is still a question of how the candidates will greet each other Wednesday evening.