Former Clinton foe offers debate advice to Donald Trump

The weeks before the Republican convention were filled with gray swans - terror attacks in Europe, cop killings here at home, the F.B.I. director James Comey's rebuke of the Democratic nominee - and not surprisingly they were weeks when Trump sometimes led the polls (by, again, 44-43 or 43-42).

Others say they are still deciding, between two candidates they don't particularly like. In comparison, Clinton's harshness in presenting her litany of sins perpetrated by Trump's most undesirable backers trampled her weak attempt to dilute the remark by acknowledging that other Trump supporters were guilty only of wanting a president who cares about them.

Still, the debates can have an impact on voters still undecided on who should succeed Barack Obama.

What do the candidates need to do to win them over?

To be sure, the nation is sour on Clinton, too. Although some debates were held in the primaries, there were no face-to-face contests between presidential candidates in 1964, 1968 or 1972.

McKinney, a specialist in political debates, said television viewers favor candidates who manage to communicate their vision in a few simple, compelling and memorable phrases. She called for the moderator of the first debate to pose a question directly to Trump about business connections to Russian Federation.

"You need to generate a more emotional connection with voters if you're going to prevail", said communications consultant Carmine Gallo.

"Be yourself and explain what motivates you", the President said in an exclusive interview with ABC News on Friday.

Jill Stein on debates: Let me in!
Winning name recognition nationally has proven hard , with the major party nominees hoarding TV air time and fundraising dollars. In Massachusetts, polls show Clinton with a substantial lead over Trump, and Johnson trailing a distant third.

Such numbers may support Clinton's assessment of Trump's support, but she didn't open any doors to unity with her choice of language.

"It seems like this election both of the candidates have been on a rampage to kind of tattle-tale on each other", said Eliza Judd an18-year-old from Brentwood, who plans to vote in her first presidential election.

During her first run for the presidency, in 2008, Clinton presented herself as a tough, Thatcher-style "iron lady". And in the unlikely event that they do, it won't be for the right reasons.

But it will not be easy for her to wipe away, in a 90-minute debate, an image forged in public opinion over a quarter-century. Gallo asked. "Listen for the sentence or two that she repeats several times in the conversation". Meanwhile, Trump's candidacy has opened up opportunities for Clinton with college-educated voters and suburban white women, groups that appear to be turned off by his rhetoric and lack of foreign policy experience.

In this area, the wealthy populist, former host of a successful television program, enjoys a clear advantage. "He won every debate he was in by saying things no one else would".

"At the end of the day, Hillary Clinton has to be the one to inspire the Obama coalition to turn out, but President Obama can and will help", said Dan Pfieffer, a former Obama senior adviser. To come across that way in his debate with Clinton, he will have to exercise flawless self-control and be prepared in all sorts of ways, from thinking through workable tactics to having persuasive answers to hard questions.

With Trump vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act and Clinton promising to build on it, health insurance stocks could swing if the debate produces a clear victor, Convergex market strategist Nicholas Colas wrote in a note on Friday.

This pattern has continued in the election cycles that have followed, as slips and awkward moments rather than substance provide the media with dominant themes.

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