The first 2016 presidential debate is only a week-and-a-half away, and people are wondering what it will be like. Gamblers have money on Sept. 26 to be the most watched debate in history.


You can also bet on whether a moderator will ask about Benghazi.

And, will Donald Trump use the term “Crooked Hillary.”

But the big question should be, will Trump continue the style that slew 16 GOP opponents in the primaries? Or will he “pivot” to being “presidential,” and throw everybody off?

We’ve found a few articles about how Trump and Hillary Clinton are preparing for their first face-off, so we thought we’d share. Most of the articles say, basically, the same thing: Hillary is “cramming,” and Trump is relaxing, as Time says.

While Clinton reportedly toils over heavy briefing books, Trump is taking leisurely lunches at his New Jersey golf course. On Sunday, he was enjoying bacon cheeseburgers and ice-cold Coca-Colas with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes. . .

“She feels like it is a proving ground, that this is a job interview. I think she will approach the debate with a great deal of seriousness and a sense of purpose, and also keenly aware that Donald Trump is capable of anything,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon told the Post. . .

Trump, on the other hand, is more concerned with showmanship. He hopes to take down Clinton with his usual zingers and controversial insults (see: “Crooked Hillary”), reported the Post.

“Not only does he want 100 million viewers, he wants to be a showstopper at the Roman Colosseum, the main event at WrestleMania,” Sam Nunberg, a former Trump advisor, told the Post. “He’s going to love this, eat it up and take her on. For Hillary to go in and think she’ll be professional and wonky, or give a long lecture, that’ll play against her.”

If you go to the article above, you’ll find a link at “zingers” that leads to a New York Times piece, entitled, “The 258 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List.” It’s an interesting read.

U.S. News and World Report says Trump is breaking with tradition.

He has been especially resistant to his advisers’ suggestions that he take part in mock debates with a Clinton stand-in. . .

Assuming he sticks to his guns, Trump would be breaking with long-standing debate preparation tradition. For example, his Republican predecessor, Mitt Romney, started preparing for his debates in June and ended up conducting 16 mock debates, including five in a three-day intensive “debate camp” in the run-up to the first debate in early October. . .

Trump thinks the debates will turn “on the authenticity, boldness and leadership that the nominees demonstrate onstage.”

One thing Trump may be overlooking is that it’s quite a different thing to debate on a crowded stage, instead of one-on-one.

Trump hasn’t yet participated in a one-on-one; he would often fade for extended stretches during the Republican primary debates while his opponents knifed each other around him. But in a one-on-one he’ll have nowhere to hide his (manifest) deficiencies when it comes to his grasp of policy (especially if the moderators are prepared to cite chapter and verse when they ask him about his previous positions on issues and he claims never to have voiced them).

To Trump, it’s all about personality, and he’s probably right. In 1960, people who listened on the radio thought Richard Nixon beat John F. Kennedy in their debate, but those who watched on TV liked the relaxed and well-tanned JFK a lot more than the sallow, serious, apparently unshaven RMN. More recently, George W. Bush easily disposed of Al Gore and John Kerry—both of whom seemed like they were made of wood.

But in addition to cramming facts, Hillary is trying to figure out how to “get to” Trump.

Hillary Clinton’s advisers are talking to Donald J. Trump’s ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal,” seeking insights about Mr. Trump’s deepest insecurities as they devise strategies to needle and undermine him in four weeks at the first presidential debate, the most anticipated in a generation.

Her team is also getting advice from psychology experts to help create a personality profile of Mr. Trump to gauge how he may respond to attacks and deal with a woman as his sole adversary on the debate stage. . .

The Clinton camp believes that Mr. Trump is most insecure about his intelligence, his net worth and his image as a successful businessman, and those are the areas they are working with Mrs. Clinton to target.

But Hillary is vulnerable, too, according to CNN.

Publicly, Clinton’s aides have worked to lower expectations ahead of the first debate, amid concerns that Clinton could be rattled by Trump going after her on subjects like her use of a private email server as secretary of State or her husband’s marital infidelities.

“For all his lack of substance, Trump’s showmanship, as ex-TV star, makes him a formidable debate foe. He thrashed his rivals in GOP debates,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted last week.

While the Trump camp agrees that they should just “let Trump be Trump,” veteran GOP operatives are dubious.

Brett O’Donnell, regarded as one of the GOP’s best debate coaches, said that when Manafort was still chairman of the Trump campaign, he asked whether O’Donnell would assist their candidate, but those talks quickly dissolved. O’Donnell said Trump should be preparing rigorously.

He thinks he won all the primary debates, O‘Donnell said. But he picked his spots, beat up on a candidate and then evaporated for a while and stayed out of the substance. He’s not going to be able to hide like that with just the two of them on stage. He can’t just name-call her and have a wrestling match for 90 minutes.

However, veteran GOP operatives have never seen anyone like Donald Trump, according to Fox News.

“He’s the unpredictable X factor,” campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on “Fox News Sunday” about Trump and his unconventional debate style. . .”

“He’s an unconventional candidate,” Conway said. “And he’s not going to prepare the way Hillary does, which is . . . locking her in a room and cramming her head with all those binders and getting the Hollywood types that she raised gazillions of dollars with in fundraisers.”

And, of course, the jokes have already begun, according to Business Insider.

Seth Meyers says Donald Trump has a dubious advantage entering the presidential debates against Hillary Clinton: The public has low expectations for the real-estate mogul. . . “Basically, as long as he doesn’t walk onstage, take a whiz on the side of the podium, and make up a story about how Hillary robbed him at gunpoint, he will exceed expectations.”

We’ll give you several other angles to the debates in the next week or so. Stay tuned.

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Goethe Behr is a Contributing Editor and Moderator at Election Central. He started out posting during the 2008 election, became more active during 2012, and very active in 2016. He has been a political junkie since the 1950s and enjoys adding a historical perspective.

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