Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton start off with a handshake as the two prepare to duel in the first of three presidential debates. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump face off for the first time on Monday in a high stakes presidential debate that could shift the course of the neck-and-neck 2016 campaign for the White House. The highly anticipated clash between the Democratic former secretary of state and Republican real estate tycoon has generated wide interest nationally and internationally six weeks before the Nov. 8 election. Opinion polls show the two candidates in a very tight race, with the latest Reuters/Ipsos polling showing Clinton ahead by 4 percentage points, with 41 percent of likely voters. The 90-minute debate, set to start at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT on Tuesday), could sway undecided and independent voters who have yet to make up their minds as well as voters from both parties who have tuned out the election until now. A second Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday showed half of America's likely voters would rely on the debates to help them make their choice. More than half, 61 percent, were hoping for a civil debate and were not interested in the bitterness shown on the campaign trail. The size of the television-viewing audience is expected to challenge the record of 80 million Americans who watched 1980's encounter between Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan. Some commentators forecast Super Bowl-sized viewership of about 100 million people.