From Washington University in St. Louis, the second 2016 presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, moderated by ABC News anchor Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, begins at 9 pm ET.
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The first questions at the debate will focus on the 2005 tape which emerged Friday night in which Trump makes vulgar remarks and brags about sexually assaulting women, CNN reports:
While everything is subject to change until air time, an ABC source said — perhaps confirming the obvious — that Trump and Clinton will both be prompted to address the matter.
A coin toss by the Commission on Presidential Debates determined that Clinton will speak first.
While the debates are hosted by the commission, not the television networks, Raddatz and Cooper have been in debate prep with producers from their respective networks.
The gender dynamics — a man and a woman moderating together while another man and woman face off in a town hall format — will be unmissable.
The debate will be in a town hall format, where audience members ask questions which the co-moderators will follow up with questions of their own and try to create interaction between the candidates.
Town halls can be treacherous in ways typical debates are not. The candidates have to interact directly with voters in the audience, showing them respect, paying attention to their questions, and seeking a direct connection obvious to viewers at home. Mrs. Clinton is practiced at these maneuvers. Mr. Trump has a tendency to disappear into his own verbal fog, to ignore the question entirely and to fail to give an actual answer.
And if an audience member drills into sensitive territory — such as the 2005 recording — there is always the danger of an explosive and dismissive response.
…Mrs. Clinton will no doubt arrive in St. Louis equipped with a fresh pail of chum to throw in the waters around Mr. Trump, determined to whip him into a frenzy. She will needle him over revelations of the scale of his tax avoidance. She will cite the array of attacks on him from his own party this weekend. To achieve anything resembling a victory, Mr. Trump will need to turn up his nose and focus on the most compelling parts of his own message: trade, the threat of Islamic militants, and the creation of jobs.
Please let us know your thoughts about the debate in the comments.