The Republican National Committee is trying to increase pressure on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton ahead of Monday’s first presidential debate.
Clinton’s poor health — she collapsed during the 9/11 memorial ceremony and was dragged into a van by staff, her doctor says she was diagnosed with pneumonia — relaxed campaign schedule, and “debate reflexes” as a career politician running for president for a quarter of a century put intense pressure on her to exceed all expectations, RNC Chief Strategist and Communications Director Sean Spicer said in a statement:
[T]he pressure is squarely on Hillary Clinton to live up to her reputation as a talented debater at a time when millions of undecided voters will be glued to their screens.
For Clinton, high expectations stem from ample experience. Clinton is a career politician who has spent years sharpening her debate reflexes and beefing up on public policy. Donald Trump is new to the format. Aside from the primary debates (which have lower levels of attention focused on them and many more participants), Trump’s lack of formal, political, one-on-one debate experience gives Clinton a significant advantage.
The leftist media have repeatedly crowed about Clinton’s superior debating skills:
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon described Clinton’s approach in seeing the debate stage as a “proving ground.” Chief Strategist Joel Benenson echoed Fallon by declaring of Trump, “I don’t think he can go toe to toe with her,” and speculated Clinton “will come out on top.” Not to be outdone, Clinton surrogate Ed Rendell said she held her own on many occasions in 2008 against Obama, who he called “probably the greatest debater in public speaking, in politics, in our lifetime.”
The optimism in the Clinton camp is shared in the media as well, where there is almost unanimous agreement Clinton is an adept debater. Dana Bash, Chris Matthews, and Chris Hayes note how “seasoned” she is, and more pundits than we can count (including John Heilemann, Wolf Blitzer, and Mark Shields) laud her talent, experience and debate skills.”
Yet this gives the blunt, plain-speaking Trump the advantage, the RNC says:
Trump hasn’t been running for president for 24 years; he’s spent his career as a successful businessman. Few are expecting the same level of polish from a verbal gunslinger whose rhetorical strength is speaking to the heart – and the gut – of the American people.
Aside from the Super Bowl, the first debate has very high potential to be the most watched television event of the year. With so much riding on this moment and a wealth of experience working in her favor, Hillary Clinton has no excuse not to turn in a near-flawless performance.
Online polls taken after GOP primary debates declared Trump the winner of every single one.
Clinton has held few events in the days leading up to the first presidential debate, which will take place on Monday at 9 PM EST. Both candidates must stand for 90 minutes before the audience, under hot stage lights.