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Saturday, September 24, 2016
Gennifer Flowers 'AGREES' to Sit Front Row at First Debate
Socio-Political Commentary ... Aaron Short
When Hillary Clinton takes the podium at Monday night’s first presidential debate, she could be staring down an old romantic rival sitting in the front row.
“Ms. Flowers has agreed to join Donald at the debate,” her personal assistant Judy Stell wrote in an email to Buzzfeed, the website reported Saturday.
The development grew from a Twitter broadside Trump launched earlier that day.
“If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Gennifer Flowers right alongside of him!” he tweeted.
It was a shot at Clinton’s decision to seat Cuban — a frequent Trump critic — in the front row as her guest at the debate at Hofstra University, and a signal that the Republican candidate could use past Clinton scandals as ammunition.
Trump misspelled Flowers’ first name in his original tweet, then sent a corrected version minutes later.
The Trump campaign and Flowers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The spectacle of the buxom blonde lounge singer staring down Hillary Clinton would only draw more people to a debate already expected to attract 100 million viewers. The clash could generate Super Bowl-level ratings, experts had already predicted.
The first of three debates, and coming only six weeks before Election Day, Monday’s contest could be a defining moment in the presidential race.
And it has already become a pop-culture phenomenon.
“It’s a reality TV show equivalent of ‘Who Shot JR’ from ‘Dallas,’” said political consultant Susan Del Percio. “Everyone wants to see what Donald Trump is going to do and how Hillary Clinton will respond. He is setting the tone of the debate.”
But getting ready for their shining moment is no easy task.
“Prepping for a presidential debate from a communications standpoint is one of the hardest things in the world to do,” Democratic consultant Dan Gerstein said. “You have to know your own policies, your opponent’s vulnerabilities, what your message is, and how to play defense.”
Donald Trump’s advisers are worried he’s doing too little to prepare.
Trump has skipped reading policy briefings, eschewed mock debates, and turned away two GOP operatives who offered to help prep him for free, said three sources close to the campaign.
But Trump sees the lack of debate prep as a strength, bring spontaneity and making him more “unpredictable,” a source said.
Trump has been receiving some advice from top advisers, like former mayor Rudy Giuliani, who feeds him potential questions on his campaign plane flights, a source said.
Trump “thinks all he has to do is get four good sound bites and two big hits on her and the public doesn’t care about anything else,” said a source.
Trump has not employed a Hillary Clinton stand-in to simulate his opponent, standard practice in presidential debate prep.
The Trump camp’s biggest worry, sources said, is the GOP candidate being challenged by the former Secretary of State on foreign affairs.
“Substantively he is behind the curve in shocking ways,” the consultant said. “This could be a disaster but then again he’s proven people wrong time and again.”
Meanwhile Clinton has been cramming like a college student hell bent on graduating summa cum laude.
The Democratic candidate cleared much of her schedule last week to huddle with top campaign staff, read policy briefings, and conduct mock debates with Philippe Reines, her former Department of State aide who will portray Trump.
But anticipating Trump’s reactions on the debate stage has proven difficult, Clinton allies say.
“It’s still hard to portray him in that kind of setting,” one former Clinton aide said. “You don’t know what he’s going to do or say. The unpredictability factor looms large.”
Clinton, who trails Trump in several state and national polls, may have more to lose if her performance is underwhelming.
“This is her election to lose and right now she’s in a danger zone,” said Democratic consultant Dan Gerstein. “She needs to avoid getting bogged down in a food fight with Trump.”
If Trump, on the other hand, avoids significant errors and refrains from personal attacks, he could emerge victorious, said one observer.
“I think what you’re going to see is he’s going to stay on the high road all the way through,” said Trump’s New York co-chairman Carl Paladino.