Originally, the presidential debate commission said it wasn’t going to release the topics of the debates ahead of time, so that the candidates would have to “think on their feet.” But the commission is sort of a wholly-owned subsidiary of the major party campaigns, so they want to make sure the candidates can “bone up” on the topic—to avoid an “Aleppo moment,” such as the one that has hounded Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.


So almost a full week ahead of the event, we now know what they’ll be debating, according to Breitbart.

The topics will include America’s Direction, Achieving Prosperity, and Securing America, in that order. The commission noted that these topics could change due to world and domestic events.

The Monday, September 26 debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY will consist of six 15-minute time segments. Each of the topics will receive two 15-minute segments during the 90-minute, commercial-free program.

From those topics, we can guess that the debate will focus on domestic issues. However, “securing America” could lead to questions of external threats. But Romper says that could change.

According to Politico, the topics are expected to include “America’s Direction,” “Achieve Prosperity” and “Securing America.” But, these talking points could change, depending on news developments leading up to the debate.

Just as this election season has been completely unpredictable, no one really knows what to expect of the presidential candidates while they debate on the stage of the university’s lecture hall. “It’s clear that there’s no love between them,” Fahrenkopf told NPR on Monday. “And how they will present themselves to the American people is anyone’s guess.”. . .

After the commission announced the topics, some on social media noted that they found the topics to be too vague and might provide the candidates with opportunities to stray off topic:

Wow. The presidential debate topics are….vague.
— Nathaniel Walters (@atheisthusker) September 19, 2016

@JakeSherman Wow some really specific topics on the list, candidates will not be able to go off topic with that kind of specificity
— Taylor Ham Takes (@taylorhamtakes) September 19, 2016

The outcome of the debate on Monday, Sept. 26 — which is date of the anniversary of the first televised presidential debate between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960 — is really anyone’s guess. And while the eventual discourse may end up touching on other relevant and topical issues for voters, outside of the list, hopefully the political argument will answer many of the most pressing questions Americans need to know.

NPR adds a few details.

Fahrenkopf says there will be an audience, divided between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump supporters, with tickets also available for the commission and Hofstra University.

Like the country, Fahrenkopf says he doesn’t fully know what to expect at the debate. “It’s clear that there’s no love between them,” he said. “And how they will present themselves to the American people is anyone’s guess.”

There will be no commercial breaks, and Fahrenkopf said Clinton and Trump will stand at lecterns for the first debate. Two other presidential debates and a vice presidential debate have also been scheduled.

The Hill says national security will probably take front stage.

The debate in New York will come a week after authorities took custody of a man believed to be behind explosions in New York and New Jersey over the weekend, raising the issue of terrorism in the presidential race as the White House contenders exchange jabs over national security.

Trump’s campaign on Monday argued “the only thing we can expect from a Hillary Clinton presidency is more attacks on our homeland and more innocent Americans being hurt and killed.”

A campaign aide argued the decision to remove U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 “created the vacuum that led to the founding of ISIS.”

The retort came after Clinton argued that terrorists had invoked Trump’s rhetoric in an attempt to turn the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) into a religious war.

“We know that a lot of rhetoric we’ve heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular ISIS, because they’re looking to make this into a war against Islam rather than a war against jihadists,” Clinton said.

“Violent terrorists, people whose number in the tens of thousands, not tens of millions, they want to use that to recruit more fighters to turn this into a religious conflict,” she added.

The 90-minute debate next Monday will have six 15-minute segments, with two segments focusing on each topic, providing Trump and Clinton at least 30 minutes of debate time focused on national security.

IndianExpress quotes Trump as saying he doesn’t plan on focusing on Hillary’s marriage.

In an interview to Fox News, Trump first praised Holt and quickly added that he is a democrat.

“I have respect for Lester. Lester is a professional, but we’ll see what happens. By the way, Lester is a Democrat. It’s a phony system. They are all Democrats,” Trump said.

Trump warned that he would be raising the issue of Hillary and Bill Clinton’s marriage if the former Secretary of State raised the issue of women around him.

“I don’t think I’m looking to do that Bill. I don’t know what I’m going to do that exactly. It depends on what level she hits you with, if she’s fair, if it’s unfair, but certainly I’m not looking to do that,” Trump said.

Deadline notes that is not what Trump has been saying.

Debate organizers are “gaming the system” with Democratic moderators who will savage him to spare themselves the kind of criticism Matt Lauer got for his moderation of NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum, Donald Trump tells FNC’s Bill O’Reilly tonight.

“By the way, Lester is a Democrat. It’s a phony system. They are all Democrats. It’s a very unfair system.”. . .

“I’m not okay with Anderson Cooper, because I think he treats me very unfairly at CNN,” Trump said of the second debate moderator. He did not seem to have an opinion on ABC’s Martha Raddatz, who is co-moderating the second, town-hall style debate with Cooper.

Cooper, says Trump, is “very unfair on CNN. I think CNN – they call it the Clinton News Network. That’s why the ratings aren’t doing very well because who’s going to watch that?”

Let the games begin.

Related: Full Details of the First Presidential Debate on Sept. 26

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