PHOENIX — Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump take the stage Monday night before a worldwide audience for the first presidential debate in Hempstead, New York.
More than 100 million viewers were expected to tune in, possibly the largest debate audience ever.
Valley political expert Stan Barnes said that was an enormous amount of pressure on each nominee. The candidates were virtually tied in the polls with millions of voters still on the fence.
“It’s all about how they carry themselves, if they look confident with style without being flustered, if they don’t wilt under pressure,” Barnes said. “That’s going to be more important than the words they use.”
Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer told CNN on Monday morning she was looking forward to the debate and that she expected Trump “to be Trump. He’ll be earnest and honest and connect with people.”
Brewer has been in New York since Saturday campaigning for Trump.
Barnes said it was unusual for a presidential debate to move the needle but this debate could do just that.
“Both of them have the burden of appearing to be the adult who looks like the future leader of the free world.
“That’s not easy for either of them given the difficulties of the issue baggage they carry. It’s going to be hard to be poised and use the right words and show composure.
“There’s so much pressure. They’re both experienced people and have done incredible things but this is the big arena with a worldwide spotlight and I can’t imagine the pressure they will be under.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM will carry the debate live starting at 6 p.m.