Clin­ton, Trump vir­tu­ally tied

> Can­di­dates to square off in highly an­tic­i­pated de­bate

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

WASH­ING­TON: The lengthy US pres­i­den­tial cam­paign is ca­reen­ing to­wards a 90-minute show­down to­day, with Demo­crat Hillary Clin­ton and Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump squar­ing off in their first tele­vised de­bate as they sit nearly neck and neck in the polls.

The event, which is ex­pected to be watched – and parsed – by tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, could draw a record num­ber of view­ers when it kicks off at 0100 GMT (9am to­day in Malaysia).

Many Amer­i­cans are un­cer­tain what to ex­pect from the clash, which pits two vastly dif­fer­ent can­di­dates against each other on one tiny stage.

Clin­ton, 68, en­ters the fray as a pol­ished for­mer sec­re­tary of state, who af­ter al­most 40 years of pub­lic ser­vice is very well versed on the is­sues.

Trump, a 70-year-old bil­lion­aire and for­mer re­al­ity TV star, is good on his feet, and un­pre­dictable – more com­fort­able in the lime­light than on is­sues.

As many as 90 mil­lion peo­ple are ex­pected to tune in as the pair face off at Hof­s­tra Univer­sity in New York six weeks be­fore the Nov 8 elec­tion.

The de­bate is be­ing held one day af­ter a Wash­ing­ton Post- ABC News poll re­vealed that Clin­ton’s slim ad­van­tage over Trump from last month has evap­o­rated.

She is tied with Trump at 41% among reg­is­tered vot­ers, with Lib­er­tar­ian can­di­date Gary John­son at 7% and Green Party can­di­date Jill Stein at 2%, ac­cord­ing to the poll.

In a two-way match-up, Trump and Clin­ton were even at 46% of reg­is­tered vot­ers. The sur­vey showed a sta­tis­ti­cal tie among likely vot­ers as well.

Many an­a­lysts say de­bates usu­ally do not win can­di­dates the elec­tion but can well lose it for them. A sin­gle sen­tence or the slight­est slip can do se­ri­ous dam­age.

“I think this thing will be close right up un­til the end,” Clin­ton’s run­ning mate Tim Kaine said.

“We have to make our case ev­ery day. The de­bates are a great way to do that.”

De­bate mind games were also on dis­play as Trump threat­ened to in­vite Gen­nifer Flow­ers ( pix), a for­mer lover of Bill Clin­ton, to watch the high-stakes bat­tle from a front-row seat.

Trump cam­paign man­ager Kellyanne Con­way said it was meant to show the New York bil­lion­aire had ways “to get in­side the head of Hillary Clin­ton” but she told CNN there were no plans to ac­tu­ally in­vite Flow­ers.

Nine per cent of vot­ers by some es­ti­mates still do not know who to cast their bal­lot for, af­ter a long cam­paign in which bit­ter at­tacks have of­ten re­placed talk of sub­stance. – AFP

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