Trust is a serious trouble spot for both presidential candidates. In both cases, a minority of voters finds Donald Trump (at 45%) or Hillary Clinton (36%) honest and trustworthy.
Perhaps their best opportunity to sway voters comes during tonight’s first presidential debate – their first head-to-head TV appearance -- to be broadcast from Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., moderated by NBC News’ Lester Holt. The debate, which begins at 9 p.m. ET, lasts for 90 minutes with no commercial breaks.
Watch CBSN beginning at 7 p.m. ET for coverage of the 2016 presidential debate
When asked what viewers can expect to see in tonight’s matchup, and whether he feels his candidate is ready, Jason Miller, senior communications adviser for the Trump campaign, told “CBS This Morning,” “I think what we will see tonight is Mr. Trump is ready to be commander-in-chief.
“Voters have seen the commercials -- a lot more from Hillary’s side, as $250 million [worth] dumped on Mr. Trump’s head. But they will see the candidates up there at the same time, on the stage together. I think [what] they will see is one candidate is very comfortable in his own skin, is ready to be commander-in-chief, and is going to be a change agent, and he is going to change our country and take us in the right direction. That will be stacked up against Secretary Clinton who will be presenting her vision in a much different direction.”
When anchor Charlie Rose asked what is on the list of things Trump must not do tonight, Miller said, “I think tonight, as long as he talks about his message and he is focused and he is talking about the contrast between the two, the vision he wants to go versus where Hillary wants to go, I think that is going to be a win.”
Addressing expectations, Miller said, “Here is the thing for Mr. Trump coming into tonight: He is not a politician. He hasn’t been doing this for 30 years. … With Secretary Clinton, she will do great in her first answer. We will see her first answer in each of these six sections, she’ll hit a home run -- they’ll have been programmed, they’ll have been polled, tested out. Where Secretary Clinton runs into trouble is the second and third answers where more variables come in and there’s interaction between the candidates; that’s where she runs into trouble.”
“People question whether he has a second and third answer,” said Rose, “that he is not deep in terms of policy. He is primarily deep in terms of a broad statement, like, ‘I’ll build a wall.’”
“It’s Mr. Trump who’s actually laid out a number of policies in this campaign – how to get the economy going, how to stop illegal immigration. He’s the one who actually has the policy,” Miller said. “If you go to his website you’ll see he has laid out very detailed plans … you’ll see tremendous amount of substance. You’ll see a remarkable clarity.”
Anchor Gayle King asked if Trump had practiced with mock debates.
“We have not had someone stand in as a Hillary Clinton,” Miller said. “That’s because Mr. Trump remains very focused on what does he want to talk about in this debate, what does he want to communicate to the American people.”