Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic Hillary Clinton faced off for the first time in what could be considered the most-watched presidential debate in US history.
A record 100 million people are expected to watch the first television debate between Trump and Clinton, starting at 9pm local time (01:00 GMT) in New York.
Opinion polls show the two candidates in a very tight race, with the latest Reuters/Ipsos polling showing Clinton ahead by 4 percentage points, with 41 percent of likely voters.
The size of the television-viewing audience is expected to challenge the record of 80 million Americans who watched 1980’s encounter between Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan. Some commentators forecast Super Bowl-sized viewership of about 100 million people.
On the Middle East:
Trump accused his rival Clinton of leaving a trail of chaos in the Middle East during her tenure as secretary of state, in a fiery presidential debate Monday.
“You look at the Middle East, it's a total mess, under your direction, to a large extent,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, Clinton said the Iran nuclear deal, which she was a part of the negotiating team, showed her strengths in diplomacy. She went on to criticize Trump for saying he would blow Iranian ships out of the water.
While Trump blamed both Obama and Clinton for the rise of ISIS, Clinton said Trump had “no plan.”
After greeting each other with a handshake and a smile, the two opponents went on the attack, with Clinton calling the New York businessman’s tax policies “Trumped-up trickle-down” economics and Trump accusing the former secretary of state of being “all talk, no action.”
Each accused the other of distortions and falsehoods and urged viewers to check their websites for the facts. She called him Donald, and he called her Secretary Clinton
“I have a feeling I’m going to be blamed for everything,” said Clinton, the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major US political party.
“Why not?” Trump retorted.
As the debate opened, they put forward competing visions for the U. economy.
“The kind of plan that Donald has put forth would be trickle-down economics all over again. And in fact it would be the most extreme version, the biggest tax cuts for the top percents of the people in this country that we’ve ever had,” Clinton said. “I call it Trumped-up trickle-down, because that’s exactly what it would be.”
Trump, a real estate tycoon and former reality television star who has never held elective office, criticized Clinton for her trade policies and said she would approve a controversial trade deal with Asian countries despite opposing it as a candidate.
“You were totally in favor of it, then you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, ‘Well, I can’t win that debate,’ but you know that if you did win, you would approve that,” he said.
(With Reuters)SHOW MORE