- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The pre-debate tradition of handshakes between opposing candidates’ family members has reportedly come to an end at the Hillary Clinton campaign’s request.

The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources, that the Clinton campaign had apparently gained approval of a different entry protocol for Wednesday’s final presidential debate in Las Vegas.

The new arrangement calls for the candidates’ spouses to enter the hall closer to their seats, rather than crossing the room and being forced to greet each other.

That plan could change however, if both sides agree, by the time the debate begins at 9 p.m. EST, The Times noted.

Prior to the Oct. 9 debate in St. Louis, Mr. Trump planned to bring three women who accused Mr. Clinton of sexual abuse into the family seating area, effectively forcing Mr. Clinton to shake their hands as he crossed the room, The Times reported.

But the Commission on Presidential Debates put a stop to that plan moments before the event went live, preventing a potentially embarrassing moment for the former president.

For Wednesday night’s debate, Mr. Trump has invited President Obama’s Kenyan-born half-brother, Malik, and Patricia Smith, the mother of a Benghazi victim, as his guests.

The Clinton campaign said the candidate would be prepared for whatever happens.

“Whatever scorched-earth tactics he has planned for the debate, we will be ready and she will be unfazed,” Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, told The Times.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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