If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for the first 2016 presidential debate since earlier this spring when it became evident that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would win their respective party’s nomination. That day, my friends, is now upon us. Trump and Clinton will be debating tonight at 9pm ET on every TV channel you can find. I’ve embedded a live stream below so you watch the debate right here as well.
Monday, September 26, 2016
First Presidential Debate from Hofstra University
Air Time: 9pm ET (8pm CT, 7pm MT, 6pm PT, basically live in whatever 9pm ET is equivalent to in your time zone)
Candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Moderator: Lester Holt of NBC News
Report on the debate rule making process from NBC News:
When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton face off for their first debate on Monday, a strict set of rules are designed to govern the event. Besides the candidates themselves, however, virtually no one actually knows what the rules say.
It’s a curious tradition in general election debates: The candidates’ top strategists negotiate written rules and keep them a closely guarded secret.
Those rules range from the trivial, such as how the candidates enter the room, to potentially pivotal restrictions on whether the moderator should correct false statements by the candidates.
And while the Commission on Presidential Debates on Sunday morning announced some details about the basic timing of the debates, many potential other rules on big controversies are still unknown or undisclosed.
I really don’t know what to expect tonight. From most reports, it appears that Hillary Clinton has been doing mock debates for weeks now, gaming out every possible topic and how to battle with Trump and not get knocked off her message. This makes sense as Hillary is a planner, and is very strong at staying on message, especially on the debate stage.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, has not participated in any mock debates if reports are to be believed. Trump is leaning toward his strategy that worked during the primary which is to build up his knowledge on the topics, and then go with his off-the-cuff instincts on how to handle attacks during the debate.
CNN offers a preview of what we might expect:
During the long Republican primary, there was no telling which Trump would show up to a debate.
Sometimes it was the combative and hostile Trump — quick to throw punches and go after his opponents with personal attacks. Other times, it was an uncharacteristically subdued Trump, content to disappear from the spotlight for long stretches of time and let his competitors command the stage and attack one another.
“We are preparing for different Trumps that might show up,” Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri told reporters last week. “He may be aggressive or he may lay back and that’s hard to game out.”
No one understands Clinton’s debating chops better than President Barack Obama, who faced off against her numerous times in the 2008 election.
Obama’s advice to Clinton for Monday? “Be yourself and explain what motivates you,” the President told ABC’s Robin Roberts last week. “I think there’s a reason why we haven’t had a woman president before, and so she’s having to break down some barriers. There’s a level of mistrust and a caricature of her that just doesn’t jibe with who I know.”
So far in this campaign, Clinton has struggled to do precisely that, and appearing unguarded and likeable — fairly or not — has been one of her biggest political challenges.
It’s going to be a remarkable evening in political and television broadcast history if the viewership holds up to expectations. Some analysts predict as many as 100 million viewers which would rival most Super Bowl broadcasts.
As always, we will have the full debate video posted after it airs in case you miss it.