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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden sends 'best wishes' to Clinton following hospitalization The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE and Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE are taking vastly different approaches to the first presidential debate, according to a report in The New York Times.
Trump is eschewing full-length debate prep in favor of focusing on finding Clinton’s weak spots by watching old debate footage, while Clinton is pouring over pages of briefing books in four intensive days of debate prep.
The Republican nominee isn’t focusing much on fine-tuning policy, the report says, because he doesn’t believe that voters prioritize the nitty-gritty of policy. His aides instead want him to paint with a broad brush, touting his signature campaign themes that have won him legions of supporters.
Some of his aides worry that Trump may get bored during the event and that he doesn’t understand how difficult staying sharp for 90 minutes will be.
Off-the-record Trump advisor: "Frankly we're almost 100% sure he's gonna just drop trow and moon Hillary. We're terrified."— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) September 23, 2016
So they are imploring him to stay laser focused on his Democratic opponent in order to find and exploit any weakness. To defeat Clinton, his circle wants Trump to skip unnecessary fights with the moderator, avoid reacting defensively to her attacks and deflect any tough questions back onto safe ground.
He’s spent the preparations with his close advisers, including campaign CEO and former Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. Key confidantes and surrogates such as Rudy Giuliani, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, as well as advisers Stephen Miller, Jason Miller and son-in-law Jared Kushner, have also taken part.
Former Fox News chief Roger Ailes is also advising Trump on the debates and sending him memos but has skipped the last two debate sessions, according to the Times.
On the other side of the aisle, Clinton is reportedly throwing herself into debate prep, scripting out answers with her team and holding at least one mock debate.
She’s also mindful of Trump’s unpredictability — as The Hill reported this week, she’s preparing for whatever persona Trump may throw her way, including aggressive or below-the-belt attacks.
Clinton reportedly won’t be satisfied calling out Trump for stretching the truth. She wants to prosecute the case that he’s temperamentally unfit for office and unhinged, two key campaign messages.
And she’ll have a seasoned veteran in her corner — her husband, former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBill Clinton on the mend after infection lands him in hospital Biden sends 'best wishes' to Clinton following hospitalization Appeals court allows Texas abortion law to stand MORE, who has reportedly upped his participation in her preparations.
She’ll also be joined by her tight circle of experienced aides, including debate coaches Ron Klain and Karen Dunn, as well as top campaign advisers Joel Benenson, Mandy Grunwald, Jim Margolis, John Podesta and Jennifer Palmieri. Veteran Washington lawyer Robert Barnett, who represents many top political figures in book negotiations, will also be on hand, the Times added.