HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Two presidential candidates, scores of political operatives, and thousands of journalists have descended on Hofstra University on Monday for what may be the most watched political debate in history.
As the candidates made final preparations for the 9 p.m. ET showdown, aides began lobbying viewers on what to expect from their candidates, and what to watch out for from their rivals.
Hillary Clinton aides demanded that reporters call out Donald Trump for a series of lies on the stump, and to avoid grading the first-time candidate’s debate performance “on a curve;” the Trump team accused the Democrats of “gaming the refs,” and said they should worry about their own nominee.
“I’m just surprised that a campaign manager would try to lower expectations that dramatically for his own candidate,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on NBC’s Today show.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, also on NBC, said “we don’t want Donald Trump’s lies and distortions to be a distraction,” and added: “What we don’t want to have is some kind of double standard where Donald Trump can get the ‘most improved award,’ but Hillary Clinton is getting judged on the fine points of policy.”