Will Clinton's debate performance help stop her slide in polls?


U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves as she arrives for a meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a hotel in New York, U.S. September 25, 2016. 

Carlos Barria/REUTERS

Last Updated Sep 26, 2016 9:01 AM EDT

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump polished their diplomatic credentials on the eve of the debate. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held separate meetings with the presidential candidates in New York City, discussing Israel’s security.

The Clinton camp considers Monday night’s debate so pivotal that Clinton did just two public events all of last week, while Trump did nine, reports CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes. 

Clinton spent most of her weekend at home and at a nearby hotel, practicing with a small group of confidants, including campaign chairman John Podesta, debate guru Ron Klain, and her longtime press aide Philippe Reines, whose occasionally combative style made him a natural choice to play Trump.

Clinton has studied Trump’s 11 primary debates to see how opponents knocked him off stride. Her campaign is also trying to get under his skin by releasing a list of what they call the “seven deadly lies” he might tell tonight -- like his claim that he opposed the Iraq War from the beginning or that he’ll get Mexico to pay for a border wall.

On “Face the Nation,” Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine argued Trump needs to be held to the same standard as Clinton when it comes to specifics.

“I think the great virtue of these debates is, you get 90 minutes to look at people and really see whether there’s depth, whether there’s substance and whether there is candor and truthfulness in what they say,” Kaine said.

It’s a familiar format for Clinton who has now participated in 26 primary debates. She needs a performance that will stop her slide in the polls.

The latest CBS News Battleground Tracker shows her lead has shrunk from 12 points to eight in Virginia and is down to one point in Colorado, two states where her campaign was so confident a month and a half ago they stopped airing TV ads.

That’s why Clinton aides say her job Monday is not to land a couple zingers or one liners, but to convince a wide swath of voters that trump lacks detailed proposals and is easily provoked. To that end, she might bring up his admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin or even question whether Trump is worth as much as he says he is.