First presidential debate: Live updates, fact checking

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After a year of trading barbs from the campaign trail, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will finally go head-to-head tonight in the first of three presidential debates.

Television analysts are expecting a huge night ratings-wise. The New York Times estimates viewership could reach around 100 million tonight, making it the most-watched debate of all time, and one of the most watched programs of all-time, overall.

If those numbers pan out, the debate could be a major boon in the polls to either candidate.

The race remains a tight one. According to the latest polling average by Real Clear Politics, Clinton is up just 2.3 percent in the national polls, with most polls giving Clinton a 1 to 7 point lead over Trump in a head-to-head matchup.

However, both candidates are also dealing with high negative ratings.  

In a four-way race with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Clinton’s lead tightens in most of the polls.

Neither Johnson nor Stein garnered enough in the polls to be invited to the first debate, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Latest Updates

9:24 p.m.

Trump continues to interrupt Clinton as she was speaking. On TPP, Trump says Clinton only decided against it because he came out against it. Clinton quips, "Well I know you live in your own little world, Donald."

9:20 p.m.

Trump says he’s all for clean energy but America’s energy policies are a disaster. "Our country is losing so much in terms of energy, in terms of paying off our debt."

9:16 p.m.

Clinton blames 2008 recession on tax cutting and housing bubble. Says Trump rooted for the housing bubble because he could make money. Trump interrupts, "that’s called business, by the way." Clinton says the best way to have a much better country is to go back to the policies that worked.  

9:15 p.m.

How do you bring back the jobs? Trump: Don’t let them leave. If they leave, their products will be taxed in order to be sold in America.  

9:12 p.m.

Clinton likens Trump’s tax cuts to more trickle down economics that don’t help the economy. Says she and Trump have different ideas about economy.

9:07 p.m.

First question goes to Clinton: What makes you a better candidate to put money in the pockets of more Americans?

Clinton says she wants more help for manufacturing, clean energy, small businesses. Talks about raising the minimum wage, equal pay for men and women. She also talks about paid family leave.  

Trump says jobs are fleeing to other countries. "We are losing our good jobs, so many of them."

Regarding child care, Trump says he and Clinton agree on that, though they may disagree on how to do it.

Trump wants to reduce taxes to bring jobs back.

9:05 p.m.

The debate is getting underway now. Moderator Lester Holt of NBC is moderating. He says the questions are his own and the candidates were not informed of them.

8:40 p.m.

Also seen at Hofstra for the debate: Trump supporter and boxing promoter Don King, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.  

8:30 p.m.

Clinton running mate Tim Kaine has taken the stage in Orlando at a debate watch party sponsored by the campaign and by Human Rights Campaign.

LIVE debate fact-checking by Politifact

Live Blog Presidential Debate: LIVE Fact-checks from Politifact

The person running the debate

The moderator for the first debate is Lester Holt of NBC. The CPD says Holt has chosen three themes for this first debate:

  • America’s Direction
  • Achieving Prosperity
  • Securing America

Other than that not much is known about Holt’s debate preparation. It’s also not known whether Holt will fact-check the candidates or whether he will largely leave that up to the candidates.

Janet Brown, the executive director for the CPD, said on CNN this weekend that in the past moderators have largely stayed out of fact-checking.

"I don’t think it’s a good idea to get the moderator into essentially serving as the Encyclopedia Britannica," Brown said.

This is Holt’s first presidential debate as moderator.

Debate prep

Both Clinton and Trump have prepared for the debate in their own way.

Clinton has spent weeks, along with the last few days, preparing for these debates. That includes highlight reels to study body language and expressions to see what it might take to knock Trump, who the Clinton campaign sees as a master debater, off his game.

The campaign says Clinton has practiced with an advisers portraying the two versions of Trump — the unpredictable, say anything, do anything Trump viewers say during the Republican primary debates, and with a more reserved, "presidential" Trump.

Clinton has said she does not know which Trump she will see at the debates and wants to be prepared for both.  

Likewise, the Trump has also been studying Clinton and looking for ways to knock her off her game. Trump’s team, however, say he is not over-preparing for the debates. They want him to focus on his big picture themes and not on policy, believing that the public will not remember the tons of facts.

Trump will look to a quick wit to hit Clinton on attacks without going overboard on belittling her.

Watch parties

Supporters for both candidates are hosting watch parties across the country.

In Orlando, Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine will watch the debate from the Orchid Garden on Church Street, at a party sponsored by the Clinton campaign and the Human Rights Campaign.

This is one of just several stops Kaine made Monday in Florida. Kaine was in Lakeland outside of Tampa this morning, where he spoke about Clinton’s economic agenda.

Trump, meanwhile, will visit Melbourne Tuesday. That event is happening at Orlando Melbourne International Airport at 7 p.m.

Previous Updates

8:15 p.m.

Google Trends is talking about the top trending issues and questions via its @Googletrends Twitter account. These are things people have Googled before the debate.

Among the top trending questions on Hillary Clinton:

  1. What must Trump and Clinton do to win the night?
  2. Why should Hillary not be president?
  3. What time is the Clinton Trump debate?
  4. How tall is Hillary Clinton?
  5. How many debates are there between Clinton and Trump?

Among the top trending questions on Donald Trump:

  1. Why should Donald Trump not be president?
  2. What time is the Clinton Trump debate?
  3. How many debates are there between Clinton and Trump?
  4. Who will win the debate between Hillary and Trump?
  5. Is Donald Trump a Republican?

7:50 p.m.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and running mate Bill Weld held a Facebook Live event ahead of the debate.

7:20 p.m.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein and her running mate were escorted from Hofstra tonight. Stein was on campus for an interview before she was asked to leave.

She is taking part in rallies outside the campus, demanding that the debates be opened for all candidates.

7:15 p.m.

Clinton running mate Tim Kaine is watching the debate from downtown Orlando.

Kaine is joining a Clinton watch party on Church Street. He’ll be joined by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and astronaut Mark Kelly.

The three made a stop at the Pulse nightclub memorial earlier in the day.

Before that, Kaine held a rally in Lakeland.

7:10 p.m.

7 p.m.

Hillary Clinton has invited close supporters, her daughter and Mark Cuban to the debate tonight.

Among the supporters is Anastasia Somoza, a young woman with cerebral palsy who introduced Clinton during her stop in Orlando last week.

Cuban is a perennial Trump antagonist, businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner.

Clinton’s husband is also expected to be at the debate, but it’s not known whether he will watch it in the audience.

Trump, meanwhile, has invited Mark Geist, a survivor of the Benghazi attack. Geist spoke in support of Trump at the Republican National Convention.

Running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is also attending the debate and will act as a surrogate for Trump.

Information from the Associated Press and CNN was used in this report.

Bay News 9 – news

September 26, 2016 |

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