MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – About 130 million people voted in the last presidential election, and 100 million could watch Monday night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
I’m watching what happens even before the debate begins – particularly the handshake. It’s the first face-to-face meeting before the nominees take their places on stage.
But like everything else in this turbulent campaign, the main focus is on Trump.
Which Trump will show up? The insult-throwing, brash showman? Or the Trump who has tried hard to follow the advice of his campaign to “look more presidential”?
Trump is very likely to exploit Clinton’s main weakness: the feeling voters have that she’s not completely truthful or transparent.
CBS News Political Director John Dickerson told Esme Murphy and me on our Sunday night political show that viewers will make judgments very quickly.
“Expect to see a lot of activity in the first 10 to 15 minutes, both camps know in the modern age with social media, there will be a lot of conversations going on even with the debate going on,” Dickerson said. “In a lot of ways, the conversation can be locked in before the debate is even halfway over.”
The broadcast and cable networks have been promoting this like a prize fight. And it does have that air of unpredictability.
The previous record for a presidential debate was in 1980. Some 80 million people watched President Jimmy Carter debate Ronald Reagan, an election that Carter lost.
If 100 million watch Monday night, that’s slightly less than the M*A*S*H finale in 1983.
You can catch live coverage of the debates on WCCO-TV and on the live stream on the WCCO Facebook page.