- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 20, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton compared politics to a “contact sport” and said she was ready to take whatever her Republican rival Donald Trump throws her at their upcoming presidential debate next week.

“I understand it’s a contact sport,” Mrs. Clinton said on the “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” on Tuesday, regarding the Hofstra University debate on Sept. 26. “I tell you, I am going to do my very best to communicate as clearly and as fearlessly as I can in the face of the insults and the attacks and the bullying and bigotry we’ve seen coming from my opponent.”

“You know, I can take it,” she added. “I can take that kind of stuff.”

Mrs. Clinton, who called into the show, was otherwise taking the day off the campaign trail to prepare for the upcoming debate. Last week, she took three days off the campaign trail after battling a bout of pneumonia.

Mr. Trump, not missing a beat, wrote on Twitter: “Hillary Clinton is taking the day off again, she needs the rest. Sleep well Hillary — see you at the debate!”



With the polls tightening, Monday night’s debate could prove a pivotal moment for either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton to reshape the presidential race. Mr. Trump — whose temperament has been questioned by Mrs. Clinton — needs to prove to the American electorate that he’s presidential, a plausible choice.

Mrs. Clinton, who has been criticized as untrustworthy and secretive, needs to sound relatable and can’t come across as too defensive or scripted.

The New York Times reported that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers are talking to the ghostwriter of Mr. Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal” to seek insights about the candidate’s deepest insecurities, in an effort to needle him to get an inappropriate reaction. They’re also putting together a “personality profile” on Mr. Trump from the advice of psychology experts.

Mr. Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said that report was an act of “psychological warfare” and that Mr. Trump would act respectful. For Mr. Trump’s part, it’s been reported he has an aversion to mock debates, and his style is more freewheeling. He spent part of his Sunday prepping for the debate, and it’s been reported that former Fox News chief Roger Ailes is advising him.

“I believe you can prep too much for those things,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with The New York Times in late August. “It can be dangerous. You can sound scripted or phony — like you’re trying to be someone you’re not.”

Authenticity will be key to Mr. Trump’s success — as will his ability to keep Mrs. Clinton’s team off-guard with his unpredictability.

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