Amid Uproar Over Leaked Trump Tape, Candidates Prepare for Second Debate

Though Clinton faces tough question over leaked quotes from Wall Street speeches, these issues take a backseat in the media to leaked recording of Trump's lewd comments.

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are introduced during the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the first debate in September.Credit: David Goldman, AP Photo
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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will square off Sunday in their second face-to-face debate, with the Republican camp in turmoil over a leaked recording of their nominee making vulgar comments about women.

Tens of millions of viewers are expected to watch the debate on television, eager to see how Trump will handle himself opposite the first woman to lead a major party ticket, after the obscene recording was made public. 

Read more: Beware a Trump Who's Got Nothing Left to Lose | Jewish Trump supporters will forgive Donald's sins on Yom Kippur, but not Hillary's | Trump's new tape scandal could decimate GOP and give Congress to Democrats | Has Trump's stomach-turning, misogynist tape finished his presidential bid? | For Jewish Republicans like me, tapes confirm Trump's perversion of values 

The debate is due to be held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, starting at 9 P.M. (4:00 A.M. Monday in Israel). It is the second of three debates and will follow a town hall format in which half the questions will be posed by "citizen participants" and the other half by two moderators, the Commission on Presidential Debates said.

Follow Haaretz on Twitter for live coverage of the presidential debate

It will be worth tuning in to see whether Trump "finds a heartfelt moment," his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Saturday on CNN.

He is expected to try to communicate that 11-year-old comments made when he was the host of a reality TV show - including about trying to have sex with a married woman, and grabbing women "by the pussy" - matter little in the current campaign.

Trump already told Americans in a videotaped apology that his travels around the country have changed him and that he has been "humbled" by the faith of his supporters.

The pressure for the billionaire to put his campaign back on track, in the face of a near complete collapse of support among top Republicans, has never been greater in his unconventional, controversial bid for the White House.

On Sunday, the Republican candidate struck a defiant tone in the face of criticism for the recording, attacking prominent Republicans and saying on Twitter that he has "tremendous support (except for some Republican leadership).

"So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers - and elections - go down!" Trump tweeted, apparently referring to those Republicans who have withdrawn support for his candidacy in the last two days.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump adviser, warned in appearances on Sunday talk shows that at the debate, Trump would not rule out going on the offensive by bringing up her husband Bill Clinton's past infidelities. 

Interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press," Giuliani said both presidential contenders were flawed but that Trump feels he owes it to his supporters to stay in the race. 

"He obviously feels very bad about what he said, he's apologized for it," Giuliani said. "What he'd like to do is move on to the issues that are facing the American people." 

In a feisty tweet on Saturday Trump said he would "never drop out of the race."

In his apology video he drew a contrast between his behavior and that of Clinton's husband, former president Bill Clinton, who "has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims."

Clinton is herself expected to face tough questions about emails allegedly hacked from the account of her campaign manager that received far less attention when they were leaked Friday, around the same time as the sex-talk-laden recording of Trump.

The emails reveal apparent details of secret speeches she made to bankers, including comments on Wall Street regulation and trade, two major issues in the current presidential campaign.

Trump and other Clinton opponents, including fellow Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders, have criticized her for making the speeches and questioned whether Clinton's relationship with large financial institutions was too cozy.

She has refused to release transcripts of the speeches.

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