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First Clinton, Trump Debate Monday Night; Clinton and Trump's Debate Style; Clinton's Final Day of Debate Prep; How Trump is Prepping for Debate?; Debating 101: What Works? What Doesn't? Aired 8- 9p ET

Aired September 25, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:05] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us for this live special Sunday night edition of "360." We are just 25 hours away from what sure to be a debate like no other.

For the first time, the first female presidential nominee for a major party goes head-to-head with a man who against all odds and with no political experience, took down every Republican in his path.

The first presidential debate of this rollercoaster of an election season is at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow live from New York's Hofstra University.

Over the next hour, we're going to take a look at each candidate's debate style, their preparations. We're going to also hear from both Clinton and Trump campaigns and from our expert panel about what to be watching for tomorrow night.

We begin, though, with how the candidates are getting ready to go head to head on that debate stage.

Our political reporter Sara Murray joins me from outside Trump Tower here in New York.

So how is Donald Trump getting ready for tomorrow? What do we have?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Anderson, he spent most of the day today here in Trump Tower with a number of folks who really have been pivotal in helping him get prepared for these debates.

We saw New Jersey Governor Chris Christie leaving just a couple of hours ago as well as Rudy Giuliani. General Michael Flynn, who's been helping Donald Trump on the foreign policy and national security side. And RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was also here today. He's recently been pitching in on these debate prep efforts.

And this is a candidate who really did not have sort of a deep bench of advisers. He's obviously a first time politician. But we're really starting to see that shape now around these debate preparations.


COOPER: During the primary debates, unpredictability, which certainly one of Donald Trump's biggest assets.

Do you think we expect to see more of that from him tomorrow night? Do we know kind of what version of Trump was going to show up?

MURRAY: Well, I think that's absolutely a huge asset for him. Because it forces Hillary Clinton to prepare for multiple Donald Trumps, for multiple scenarios. And we'll keep -- I think, both candidates on their feet.

Now I don't think this is going to be the same kind of rough and tumble setting that we saw during the Republican primary debates. It's just going to be the two of them on stage. They're going to be forced to go deeper into policy issues that we saw on the Republican primary.

But it's certainly possible, and I think saw that today with Donald Trump tweeting about Gennifer Flowers, who of course had this affair with Bill Clinton back in Arkansas. We saw that Donald Trump can throw things out there to try to get under Hillary Clinton's skin, to try to put her off her game. We'll see how much that actually carries over to the debate stage.


COOPER: And Trump talks a lot about how he is a counter puncher.

Is he going to hit back if attacked tomorrow, or sort of even if not attacked?

MURRAY: Well, this is a difficult balance for him. Because he has managed to turn every attack he lobs into some version of a counter punch, right? But he also know that there are a lot of voters, particularly female voters, particularly in some pivotal suburbs, who have problems with Donald Trump's temperament.

So even if he is going to counter punch against Clinton, I think he and his team are working on into a way to do that effectively. A way to go up against her and paint her as a crooked politician, as someone that you can't trust without making it seem like Donald Trump is sort of dragging everyone into the gutter. And that's a risk for Hillary Clinton, too.

Not a lot of Republicans came off of that debate stage in the primaries looking well after they had traded insults for Donald Trump. So that's something for both of them to think about as we head into tomorrow night.


COOPER: Yes, Sara Murray. Sara, thank you.

Now to how Hillary Clinton is getting ready.

CNN's senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is in Chappaqua, New York.

Jeff, what are you learning?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we are learning that Hillary Clinton has been preparing for this debate and she is making no apology for that. She's been doing it for weeks and weeks with really extensive debate preparations.

What are the questions sort of hanging over all this is who is playing the role of Donald Trump? Well, this weekend we actually learned the answer to that. It is a long-time aide of hers, Philippe Reines. He was an aide in her Senate office and as secretary of state as well.

She described him in her 2014 memoir as someone who is passionate, shrewd and loyal. And the reporters who know him and have work with him over the years, Anderson, I can tell you, he also has a sharp tongue, a temper, and he knows exactly how to push people's buttons, including Secretary Clinton here.

So he was picked by design to get under her skin a little bit, so the aides could watch this happening.

And, Anderson, this has all been underway in practice sessions throughout the weekend, until almost midnight last night at a resort not far from here in Chappaqua but only a few advisers. Her closest inner circle is actually watching this play out.

The rest of her campaign staff back in Brooklyn really is watching from afar. But this is really just her top aides here, helping her for that big night tomorrow.

COOPER: And certainly, the focus on e-mails has dogged her campaign all year. Is she preparing for how to deal with that if it comes up at the debate, if you know?

ZELENY: It almost certainly will come up. This has been hanging over her campaign for so long. And as you know, Anderson, from talking to her so many times, her answer has sometimes been a lawyerly, not necessarily all that plain spoken.

[20:05:05] They want her to -- her advisers believe that she will, you know, give some contrition again tomorrow, but then try and move on beyond that and try not get mired down in the details and the lawyerly facts that she sometimes says when she talks about this. But she also will pivot to transparency. And of course, remind everyone that Donald Trump has not been as transparent, certainly in releasing tax returns, which he simply has not done.

COOPER: What about the whole birther conspiracy? Is she planning on using that against Donald Trump tomorrow night?

ZELENY: Her aides say she will use the birther controversy. And if it's not brought up, she may bring it up herself. That is one of the things that perhaps fires up Democrats, her base, and members of the Obama coalition.

We talked about so often that she is trying to rally them to her side here. The birth certificate is an issue that her campaign and she believes defines Donald Trump. Defines his candidacy. So she will try and use that to amplify this, of course.

And we haven't heard him talk much about this. He's not answered any questions about this since that short statement in Washington a couple weeks ago here. So it would be hard to imagine this not coming up tomorrow night on that stage when they're debating one-on-one for 90 minutes.

COOPER: Yes. And it's going to be incredible and fascinating to watch.

Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, thanks very much.

Coming up, Donald Trump sticks to his primary debate style. The question is how his insults and interruptions would play in a one-on- one contest with Hillary Clinton, who is all about meticulous preparation and talking about her experience.

We'll take a look at two widely different debate styles -- next.


[20:10:10] COOPER: Donald Trump's style carried him through those debates, but this certainly is not Hillary Clinton's first rodeo.

She has years of debate experience, but tomorrow she faces an opponent unlike any she has faced before.

CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash tonight, reports.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton in a debate is all about what she's done.

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Look at what I accomplished in the Senate as Secretary of State.

BASH: Donald Trump, simple sweeping promises.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We will make this country greater than ever before.

BASH: Their primary debate performances helped each get the nomination. But their upcoming face-off is quite different.

BRETT O'DONNELL, REPUBLICAN DEBATE COACH: He tugs at the heart, she tugs at the mind. And the question is whether or not both of them can cross over.

BASH: Brett O'Donnell a long time debate coach for GOP candidates sat down with us to break down their contrasting styles.

TRUMP: I say not in a braggadocios way, I've made billions and billions of dollars dealing with people all over the world.

CLINTON: I was part of a very small group that had to advise the President about whether or not to go after Bin Laden.

O'DONNELL: He talks in these big giant terms. She doesn't tend to do that. And I think that that puts him at an advantage. You know? Because he's -- understands well the dynamic of television.

BASH: The same goes for discussions of policy.

TRUMP: I will build a wall. It will be a great wall. People will not come in unless they come in legally.

CLINTON: There is no need for this rhetoric and demagoguery that still is carried out in the Republican side. You have run out of excuses. Let's move to comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

O'DONNELL: He goes for the heart, talks in very big terms, doesn't demonstrate a deep knowledge of policy. So she has got to up her game on talking to the heart. He has to up his game in talking to the head.


BASH (voice-over): Then there was the alpha candidate tactic Trump used to belittle his GOP primary opponents.

TRUMP: Rand Paul shouldn't even be on this stage.

Don't even worry about it, Little Marco.


First of all, this guy is a choke artist and this guy is a liar.

BASH: He's moniker for Clinton --

TRUMP: Crooked Hillary Clinton.

BASH: -- may not go over so well.

O'DONNELL: He should explain why she is crooked and not just call her a name. If he just calls her a name the entire time, I think that's going to look bad to the public.

BASH: Clinton's quicksand getting her back up.

BASH: It is your Democratic opponent and many Democratic voters who want to see those transcripts. It's not about Republicans --


CLINTON: And, you know --


CLINTON: Let's set the same standard for everybody. When everybody does it, OK, I will do it. But let's set and expect the same standard on tax returns.


O'DONNELL: She is very defensive. And that's a problem.

BASH (on camera): What about if that Hillary Clinton shows up?

O'DONNELL: Yes, yes. If that Hillary Clinton shows up, it's going to be a long night.


COOPER: And Dana joins me now.

The thing is, I mean, one-on-one debate is so much different than a one-on-17 debate.

How much of a challenge, do you think, that poses for Donald Trump?

BASH: It's completely different. He has never done that before. I think the fewest number of opponents that he's had was four. And it is different for lots of reasons, but primarily because part of his M.O. during the primaries was to kind of just be quiet at times where he didn't want to engage in policy. And then he could kind of pick his moments.

He was really brilliant at that. Every moment is going to be his moment during this debate. And so I think what is going to be key, and just in talking to sources who are working with both camps, is the two of them, one-on-one, how each of them is going to avoid taking the others bait.

I mean, sure, there's going to be a lot of policy discussion, a lot of questions about what they would do as president. But so much of it is about temperament and how each of them appears with the other. Even more so for Donald Trump, of course.

But that is going to be something that they're practicing, and it's going to be one of the many fascinating things to watch.

COOPER: Grab the popcorn. Dana Bash, thanks very much.

A lot to discuss with our political panel.

On this table, we've got John King, host of "Inside Politics;" Nia- Malika Henderson, CNN's senior political reporter; Gloria Borger, CNN's chief political analyst; David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Obama and CNN senior political commentator.

Over at this table, Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany; Paul Begala, a senior adviser to a pro-Clinton Super PAC; Tony Schwartz, co-author of Trump's "The Art of the Deal." He's a Trump critic who has advice the Clinton campaign on debate prep. And Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord.

John, let's start out with you. Expectations for tomorrow night. I mean, again, the difference of styles and even the question of kind of what style Donald Trump is going to adapt for this debate is an open one.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. I don't think we know, which Donald Trump is going to show up or how many Donald Trumps will show up. And for that matter, how many Hillary Clinton will show up.

A, the race is very tight. If you look nationally at the race, she is up now two to half three points. That's the same place Romney and Obama were. President Obama was up by two or three points going in to their first debate. But if you go state by state, Trump is in better shape than Mitt Romney was four years ago.

[20:15:07] If you look in Florida, Ohio. If you look at North Carolina. If you look at some of the other battleground states, Trump is either ahead or in better shape than Mitt Romney was when you go state by state even though the race maps up.

As Dana just explained, for Donald Trump, the challenge is professional. You can see it in any poll and the Trump campaign can see this. A lot of voters look at him as temperamental. They're not sure he has the temperament to be commander-in-chief. That they want him in the Oval Office, in the Situation Room on that big night and that he gets the big chance.

He has to look and act like a president. Her challenge is much more personal. The structural part of the race is in her favor, but especially now, if you look especially in key battleground states, Gary Johnson is bleeding Millennials from her. Younger voters and independents, she has a problem. And the candidate not on the stage tomorrow night is actually having the biggest impact on this race when you go state by state.

COOPER: Interesting. Nia, what are you expecting?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think if you're Hillary Clinton, you're going in with a lot of people thinking that you're going to win, right? If you look at that "Washington Post" poll, 44 percent think she's going to win. 34 percent think that Donald Trump will win.

This debate -- her argument all along has been there's just one Donald Trump. There are not many Donald Trump. There's just one Donald Trump, and he singularly unfit to be president because of his temperament and because of his judgment.

I think her challenge is she's got to figure out a way to bring that out of him. She can't just expect that he's going to show up and show that he doesn't have the right temperament. She's got to figure out a way to prosecute a case that not only is an argument for her candidacy, but also, you know, sort of advances the argument that she's been making all along. And I think if you're Donald Trump, you've got to surprise people, right?

I mean, his problem --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does. HENDERSON: He does, but you've got to surprise people on a way that makes him likable. Essentially, says listen, I am fit to be president and I am a professional.

COOPER: But how hard is it, David -- I mean, to prep for a debate when you're not sure of the style of the person you're going to be going up against?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's our first on set and you're thinking, I wonder what it would be like if she were debating Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, would we all be around here?

COOPER: On a Sunday night?


AXELROD: Asked and answered. But I think it's difficult, because I think the worst result for Hillary Clinton out of this debate would be if Trump answered those questions that John King mentioned.

If people left there saying, you know, I think he is a plausible president. I could see him in that office, that would be a real problem for her. Because this is what's keeping those college- educated voters, white, college-educated voters who generally vote more heavily Republican from going Trump's way.

But on the other hand, he could get, you know -- Donald Trump is Donald Trump. He could get right in her grill in a way that he did with his primary opponents and try and unsettle her and make her, you know, integrity and some of these other issues that have been raised front and center. So you have to prepare for both.

COOPER: Well, Gloria, to David's point, if Hillary Clinton needs Donald Trump to be, you know, blustery or whatever or seem unappealing to college educated voters, then it's going to be incumbent on her to kind of get that out of him if he's not automatically there.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I would not be surprised if Hillary Clinton would start and continue to challenge him on specifics and draw it out and say, OK, you want to build a wall? What's it going to cost? What's it -- I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if she tried to let the American public know that he has a lot of interesting policies that he offers, but he hasn't thought them out. He hasn't thought them out.

AXELROD: One of the questions, though, was will she turn to Donald Trump and make those challenges, or will she talk to the American people?

One of the things, if you look at the primary debates, the people who tangled with him --

BORGER: Didn't do well.

AXELROD: Didn't do particularly well.

BORGER: Right. But she's different.

AXELROD: She may take a different, different path.

BORGER: But she's different in a way, too. Because there's a gender dynamic going on here. And so it will be interesting to see whether he attacks her the way he attacked little Marco or, you know, whatever. Right?

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. Stick around. A lot more to discuss, especially with our other panelists, including talk to Bill Clinton's former mistress Gennifer Flowers could have a front row seat tomorrow night -- at tomorrow night's debate, invited by the Trump campaign.

How that all started, and what the Trump campaign is now saying about the possibility, when we continue.


[20:23:18] COOPER: The Clinton-Trump face-off is now just over 24 hours away. While the two candidates preparing for their first debate, Monday night, Trump is still busy on Twitter after the Clinton campaign announced it was inviting Trump critic Mark Cuban to sit in the front row of the debate.

On Saturday, Trump went on the attack posting this, quote, "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."

That would be Gennifer Flowers, who had an affair with Bill Clinton back in the 70s.

This all started when the Clinton campaign announced that Cuban, a Trump critic, also a businessman, a former reality TV star, NBA owner would be at the debate.

Tonight, the Trump campaign is backing down somewhat saying they haven't formally invited Flowers to the debate and they don't expect her to be there as a guest of the campaign.

Back with the panel.

Paul, was it a mistake for the Clinton campaign to even bring up this whole Mark Cuban thing?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, it's fine. He's a celebrity businessman who is for Hillary. That's fine. I think the mistake was Trump reaching so far back in the past.

You know, every election is about the future. And the answer that should be, if you want to make it about my family's past, I want to make it about your family's future, America. Tell the American middle-class. He can do whatever he wants, make these personal attacks, and go back to the past.

COOPER: Do these lines just pop into your head? BEGALA: It's what I do for a living. This is my job. It's a pathetic job that's why I'm trying to do it well.

COOPER: You're sitting up at night, the family and the past.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was what came up when Gennifer Flowers first pop --


COOPER: You've obviously been very critical of Donald Trump. The man you worked very closely with on an "Art of the Deal." So you've studied him. You've seen how he prepared. You've seen how he reads and writes or doesn't.

What do you make of -- of how he -- I mean, I've heard you say he is essentially not capable of preparing for a debate. Is that true?

TONY SCHWARTZ, CO-AUTHOR OF TRUMP'S "THE ART OF THE DEAL." And he's been very clear that he hasn't really prepared for this debate.

COOPER: So you think that's true?


[20:25:00] SCHWARTZ: I think it's true. I think he's incapable of preparing in any serious way. And I think that it's an insult of pretty staggering proportions to the American people that he wouldn't prepare. And especially disturbing that he couldn't prepare -- repair or prepare.

COOPER: When you say he couldn't, I mean -- what just based on what you saw when you were writing, that he just doesn't want to focus on things that don't interest him?

SCHWARTZ: Look, I'm the person on this particular panel tonight who knows Donald Trump. I'm the only one, including the two Trump supporters, who has actually spent significant time with him.

I believe that either one of these two folks would not be for Donald Trump if they knew what I know about him. I believe the problem is, he's an extraordinary effective conman at a particular moment in history. And I feel as if I'm watching a tsunami come toward me. And that tsunami is Donald Trump.

But his supporters -- or potential supporters are standing on the shore, thinking that's just a normal wave. No, it's not. The world will never be the same if Donald Trump is elected president. I've said it before. I'll say it right now.

There is a deep risk that the world as we know it will not survive Donald Trump. That's a very serious concern.

COOPER: Kayleigh? KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If we could, you know, rewind back to 1980, we'd hear some of the same things Tony is saying about Ronald Reagan.

In fact, "Esquire" magazine said anyone who showed up to vote for Ronald Reagan was like a good German voting in Hitler's Germany. You had Carter out there saying that he was engaging in stirrings of hatred and you had --


SCHWARTZ: You don't even know this man.


MCENANY: I know that your only talking point is you don't know this man and I do. But that's not a winning talking point.

SCHWARTZ: I don't have many talking points.

MCENANY: This man has broken through to the American people, and the American people trust him. And a lot of the people like him are enthused about him.

COOPER: So in terms of, Kayleigh, what do you want to hear tomorrow night from Donald Trump? How do you want him to be during this debate? Ideally, how do you think he needs to be?

MCENANY: I think he needs to do exactly what he's been doing on the campaign trail. He's been out there giving policy speech after policy speech. He has attacked Clinton on some things when she deserves being attacked of.

COOPER: But more recently, there kind of more recent iteration of him.

MCENANY: Absolutely. And in fact, the first speech that he gave after he came out with Kellyanne Conway, the campaign manager, when he had that real moment of connection, where he just said, look, I don't say things the right way all the time.

You know, if I hurt someone, I regret that. I think that very -- you know, Donald Trump with humility and Donald Trump measured is the Donald Trump we're going to see. And I think it's the one that will win over the American people, much like Carter -- what Reagan did against Carter.


COOPER: Jeffrey, can Donald Trump do that? I mean, those are teleprompter speeches. Can he do that in an impromptu debate, when he has a candidate who is potentially going to go after him?


Look, what you're going to see tomorrow night on that stage, aside from all the talk that we're having here about specifics, this, that and the other thing, you're going to see a candidate that represents the political establishment of America. The political class.

And you're going to see somebody over here who is the candidate put forward by people in this country, who are in open rebellion.

In essence, she is Jeb Bush, as it were. She is every candidate on the Republican side who decided that they were going to represent the establishment. He is the rebellion against that.


COOPER: But he's never been up against another candidate where he's had to give two minute answers and had to go, or be expected to go pretty deep on specific policy issues back and forth.


LORD: But I would suggest that that is the political class obsession. I mean, when we think about that --


SCHWARTZ: The political class obsession --


LORD: Wait, wait, wait. When we think about that Reagan, the two Reagan-Mondale debates and everybody here knows the story, he was so terrible in the first one that those of us who worked for him winced.

And when he got to the second one, it was Roger Ailes who said to him, Mr. President, you're not in all these details. He says you're into themes. That's what got you elected. Relate every single answer to your themes. That's what Donald Trump has to do.


COOPER: Tony, what do you think?

SCHWARTZ: I think the key here is that knowing things actually does matter. And the idea that it will be difficult for Donald Trump to fill two minutes ought to be a source of great concern to people.

I think Hillary's most powerful move is to make Donald Trump defend the indefensible. There are a series of things he said during this campaign, which are fully representative of who he is. The Curiel -- the Judge Curiel, McCain, Putin, knowing more than the generals --

COOPER: The birther issue, I imagine.

SCHWARTZ: The birther issue. She needs to stay relentlessly focused on that so she can pull him out of the capacity to deflect and to move the attention after 16 points to something else.

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: But, Paul, do you think she also needs to kind of -- I mean, I've heard some people talk about her needing to kind of have a broader vision, as well. To not just be against Trump, but also offer something.

BEGALA: Absolutely. That's more important, actually. Trump doesn't need debate prep, Tony. He needs Xanax. He needs horse tranquilizer and they'll give him that. And so he'll go out there.

He went 24 whole minutes with the president of Mexico and didn't say anything racist. Oh, that's impressive. So he'll do that for 90 minutes. He will.

That's not the real challenge. I'm not -- I'm really not as interested in when Trump explodes. If he doesn't during the debate, he will by morning.

SCHWARTZ: Correct.

BEGALA: He can't help himself. I'm really interested in what you raised.

[20:30:00] Hillary has 112,000 words of policy that she has published. Mr. Trump has about 3,000 according to journalistic count. But she needs to connect and do unifying theme. And even more important than that is motive.

The reason people don't trust her is they worry about her motive. Maybe it's a women thing. Maybe it's a Hillary thing. But she needs to show a sense of mission, not ambition, right? That she is in this for the middle-class, and here's why.

If I was working for her, so I can talk to her -- Hillary, here's what I would do. They have a pad, but it's blank. I'd write the word, "Dorothy" and the word, "Charlotte." Dorothy was her mother. Charlotte is her granddaughter. That is the arch of her life.

Her mother had this Dickensian, her childhood. And now she has this golden grandchild who is the most purplish person on earth. I mean, in one human lifetime that arch has worked perfectly for Hillary and her family. She must make it work for your family the same way. That humanizes her. That shows the motive.


AXELROD: On Jeffrey's point, I think he's got the vote of those people who are aching for a political revolution. The question is, whether or not he can get the votes of those normally Republican voters who are troubled by the fact that he doesn't seem to have the temperament or the deep base of knowledge that they expect from a president of the United States.

So I think if he goes in with the attitude that you're suggesting, there is some danger associated with that.

KING: But Jeffrey makes an important point about the climate. Forget the names of the candidates. Forget their history in this campaign. The climate of the country is for change. And Hillary is a Washington insider. She is a known brand. He is a businessman. He's not from Washington. She needs to make him unacceptable, risky, dangerous change.

And she also needs to make the case that I will change things. I will change the pulse point. I will change your life. We'll get better. That's hard for someone who's, A, the same party. Has very rarely keeps the White House after a two-term president. And the country is looking for change. Just like Jeb Bush, she's a known brand.

HENDERSON: Yes. And one of the things, I think, Chris Christie did so well in those debates, he would look at the camera -- look into the camera and talk about real people.

Talk about people he met on the trail. Talk about the Average Joe or Jane, and that's what something, I think, that Donald Trump can do.

I do think -- I was saying that he has to surprise folks. I think if he shows up like he showed up in Mexico, I think that will be a surprise to a lot of people because Hillary Clinton has set Donald Trump up to be this wild man in a debate. And if he doesn't show up that way, I think that's going to be surprising.

BORGER: But, you know, we keep talking about the authentic Hillary Clinton. We don't talk about what's the authentic Donald Trump.

Because if Donald Trump comes out and doesn't lose it and acts like he did with the president of Mexico, is that the real Donald Trump?


COOPER: I think Tony has been pretty --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go over that again.


BORGER: But the burden is somehow more on her to prove that she is actually authentic and real, even though people have watched her for the last how many decades, 30 years at least.

COOPER: Where do the expectations game play to all this? Because those who say, well, look, if Donald Trump, you know, that the expectations are so low --


AXELROD: Yes. When a bear dances, no one says, gee, he doesn't pirouette well. They just say, man, the bear can dance. So he comes under the dancing bear rule. If he is reasonably composed and can answer a few questions, he'll get some points for that.

But I have to tell you. I've been through this a number of times. These are the most pressure-ful events one can experience. And the reason that prep is important is because if you are a candidate, you want to kind of know what to expect. And you want to be exposed to all kinds of (INAUDIBLE) so that you can plot out how you're going to deal with it.

He may be the, sui generis, the one guy who has gone through this process who can do it without any of that. But if what Tony says is right, he could be in for a very long night.

BORGER: And we don't know which Donald Trump is going to show up, and Hillary Clinton has to prepare for both Donald Trumps.

LORD: It's the small moments in these debates. The al-Gore size, the Michael Dukakis --


COOPER: What David says is true. I mean, just having been on a couple debate stages, there are few experiences as a reporter that you can have that are as full of tension and pressure. It's like the molecules of the air are charged on that stage. I mean, it's amazing. And when it goes well, it's incredible. But it's a lot of pressure.

MCENANY: But over preparing can also add to that challenge. So if you're trying to be someone you're not -- for instance if Hillary Clinton is trying to present this likable image that breaks through on that metric, then that pressure is added, to be someone you're not. And Donald Trump, being who he is, I think could be the perfect antidote.

LORD: That's a good point. When Tony says he is incapable of doing things because this is who he is, he is who he is and that will come out.



SCHWARTZ: I hope to God it comes out, because --

LORD: I think it has.

SCHWARTZ: What it is, it's a man whose self-interest has been so clear and consistent throughout his career. The one thing we know about Donald Trump is when push comes to shove, if you have $20 in your wallet, he'll go for those $20 to add to his billions.

So the point about Donald Trump is that he is not going to bring to this debate a new Donald Trump. That, I guarantee you. And the absence of the new Donald Trump, Jeff, means we're left with somebody who is clearly ill-prepared to be president of the United States.

[20:35:15] COOPER: We'll see tomorrow tonight.

I want to thank everybody on the panel, especially for coming in on a Sunday. Just ahead, I'll talk to insiders from the Clinton and Trump campaigns about how the candidates may be spending these final hours before the debate.

Also coming up at the top of the hour, the season premier of Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown." It's an excellent one. It's a great show.

President Obama pulls up a plastic chair and shares a beer with Anthony in Vietnam. That's coming up at 9:00 p.m.


COOPER: By all accounts, Hillary Clinton has been prepping intensely for her first face-off with Donald Trump. It's been pretty much her sole focus for the past four days.

Just more than 24 hours from now, it is game on.

Joining me now is Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon.

So, Brian, I know your campaign has been prepping for a debate, couple different versions of Donald Trump, with kind of a subdued version as well as a more combative one.

How much more difficult does that make Secretary Clinton's job tomorrow night, if she's not sure which kind of version she's going to be facing against?

[20:40:04] BRIAN FALLON, HILLARY CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY: Well, look, Anderson, I think by Donald Trump's own telling, he won every primary debate that he was involved in. I think there was a simple reason for that.

He has a history of being a successful television performer. And he sort of charted his moves during those primaries. Picked his spot on a very crowded debate stage. And the entertainment factor is what carried him.

I think in a presidential debate, the stakes are much higher. Much more should be expected of him.

I think his team recognized that. And so I wouldn't be surprised at all if we saw a more subdued Trump, that tries to play, act the role of somebody who can seem presidential.

COOPER: So how does Hillary Clinton deal with that? Because it seems, I mean, clearly, one of her themes is her belief that he does not have the judgment to be president, that he can be thrown off and become irate by a tweet.

So how does she kind of knock him off that?

FALLON: Well, I think that there are two tests that both candidates should be graded by tomorrow. And so when the assessments happen after the debate, I think Donald Trump needs to have done two things in order to qualify for a passing grade. Number one, you have to be clear and detailed about what you want to do as president. Hillary Clinton has put forward policies about how she's going to grow an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. She has detailed plans. She talks about them all the time.

Donald Trump has been in a rush to catch up and tried to issue some policy to seem like a serious candidate. I think there will be exchanges tomorrow night, where there will be an opportunity. He'll be tested about explaining the details of what he wants to do as president.

Secondly, you've got to be straight forward and honest with the American people. We've seen in Donald Trump somebody that lies 70 percent of the time, according to "PolitiFact."

They dubbed him "The Liar of the Year" last year. And just this past weekend, multiple newspaper outlets have published stories documenting lies that he has told over the course of this campaign.

"Politico" said that he lied every three minutes that he was on the stump last week. So I think that it will be on Lester Holt, the moderator, tomorrow night as well as all the commentators that judge the debate in the hours afterwards, to really grade him and put the pressure on him to be accountable for the lies that he's been telling if he repeats them tomorrow night at the debate stage.

COOPER: Do you think -- is it incumbent on Hillary Clinton to also play a role as a fact checker, essentially?

FALLON: I think she'll certainly do that, when he tries to distort her record.

You know, he likes to go around saying that she supports open borders and wants to get rid of the Second Amendment. That has been debunked multiples times.

About himself, he likes to say that he was against the intervention in Iraq. He was against the intervention in Libya. Both those things are false. If any of those things come up in the debate tomorrow night, Hillary Clinton will do her part.

When you have somebody that is lying every three minutes according to "Politico," if she only fact checked tomorrow, she wouldn't be able to make the affirmative case, which his very important.

So that's why it's also the role of the moderator to make sure that there is an adherence to the truth from both candidates, and that's why that needs to be factored into any grading of Donald Trump's performance.

COOPER: Brian Fallon, appreciate you being on tonight. Thank you.

Donald Trump has said he believes you can over prep for debates. Mock debates, complete with podiums, are not his thing. We're told he's been preparing his way with the help of formal and informal advisers. Joining me now is Senator Jeff Sessions. Chairman of Donald Trump's National Security Advisory Committee.

Senator, thanks for being with us.


COOPER: Can you give us any insight to how Donald Trump is prepping for this -- on the eve of this first debate?

SESSIONS: Well, one thing he does is he's thinking about it. And he's been thinking about it for some time. He knows the key issues. He's able to focus on what's important to the American people. And I believe he's been formulating in his own mind how he's going to handle a lot of these questions for weeks now.

COOPER: What about in terms of mock debates, you know, stand ins. Anything like that. Do you know? Has he actually been doing it?

SESSIONS: I don't believe he is doing any mock debates. I hated those myself. I've never like to do that. But he -- I think he's going to focus on what the key issues are. And he's going to endeavour to -- to show to the American people that, you are right, American people. We are on the wrong track as a nation by 3-1 margin. Polls show that.

Hillary Clinton will continue in that fashion. I'm going to bring change. You are right, American people. This trade policy had not worked for us. You're right, the immigration flow is excessive. It's pulling down wages and hurting our country. You're right, we've got to do better about terrorism.

When he stays on those issues, he's going to win the hearts and minds of the American people, I think.

COOPER: Are you concerned about, though, the level of specificity which he can get into? I mean, that's been one of the frequent criticisms of him, certainly by those who do not like him.

SESSIONS: Well, look, Hillary Clinton is really good at this. She is one of the most effective spinners. She's got an answer to every question that will come up. That's what she does. She is a wordsmith, a talker, a speech maker.

Donald Trump is a builder, a doer, a person who wants to achieve things for America.


COOPER: But can he really get -- I guess the question is --

SESSIONS: She will be good at that.

COOPER: Can he get into specifics of, you know, how much the wall will cost, how long it will take? I mean, some of the specifics to which he hasn't really gotten into up till now?

[20:45:05] SESSIONS: Well, he knows a lot more about building things than Hillary Clinton, that's for sure.

And, yes, I think you'll have an answer for that. But nobody expects him to know all the details of every policy agency in this government. And she will probably attempt to show that he does not know some of those things.

But I don't think it'll bother the American people any more than it did with Ronald Reagan.

If his heart is right and if his vision for America is correct, his vision for the future that will make their wages go up instead of down, I think that'll make -- that's the thing they're going to be looking for.

COOPER: Senator Sessions, I appreciate you being on. Thank you very much.

SESSIONS: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, why chimpanzees could hold clues about how tomorrow's debate might go. It's just one of the fascinating insights that experts share with veteran journalist James Fallows in his cover story for "The Atlantic."

We'll talk to Mr. Salas, coming up.


COOPER: In a little more than 24 hours, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will take their places behind identical podiums, just a couple of arm's lengths apart.

The debate will last 90 minutes. It's what they say, how they say it will, of course, be scrutinized so will their body language from the moment they greet each other.

Presumably, they will shake hands, though, who knows given the surprises we have seen in this election.

James Fallows, former presidential speech writer for Jimmy Carter and long time national correspondent for "The Atlantic," has written a really fascinating cover story in the October issue.

Who will win the debates and the election? He talked to politicians, operatives, experts on persuasion about what we might see tomorrow night.

I spoke to him recently.


COOPER: Your article is so fascinating. I urge anyone who has not read it to read it. JAMES FALLOWS, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTIC: Thank you.

COOPER: Essentially, I mean, you say you are looking at past debates. Really the best way to watch debate is with the sound off.

As a future moderator, I'm not going to take that as an offense. But Why?

FALLOWS: And I'll listen to the sound when you're doing it.

It is because it's a really strange surreal situation almost because the questions as you will see are about content and the answers are about NATO and tax policy and all that.

But if we think back at the debates, the once that made a difference, it never has anything to do with policy. It's how people carry themselves. Do they already taken aback? Do they seem confident or they seem tense or whatever. So --

COOPER: You use the example in your article of Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle.


LLOYD BENTSEN: Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.


COOPER: Bentsen used the line, "You are no Jack Kennedy." And the image of Quayle sort of looking kind of stunned and small permeated his future, really.

FALLOWS: Yes, that's stuck with him. Even now, he was a much more capable guy than that image suggested but that was an image that stuck with him.

Another case during the primaries was when Rick Perry --


RICK PERRY: And what's the third one there?


FALLOWS: When he forgot which was the third department who's going to eliminate it. It wasn't so much that he forgot. It's that he showed that he forgot. He looked stricken in that way.

COOPER: And it sort of impacts them throughout the rest of the debate. Whereas, you used the example, I think, of Ronald Reagan going to -- against Jimmy Carter just sort of casually, jokingly saying there you go again.



COOPER: And the image of Reagan was just kind of happy-go-lucky, he brushed right by and Jimmy Carter kind of looked, I think, just peevish in your article.

FALLOWS: Yes. And sort of beset. And I was working for Jimmy Carter until relatively soon before that. I've read him on the first debate when he won against Gerald Ford, but not the time in Reagan. And the image about Carter was that he was sort of too small for the mounting up tensions at that time. And so you had this at ease Reagan and this tense looking Carter.

Some political scientist will say that's not what turned the election, but it certainly felt like that.

COOPER: How do you think this idea of how you respond to something almost as being more important than what you are saying for a lot of viewers?

How do you think that plays to Donald Trump and to Hillary Clinton?

FALLOWS: I think it has the potential to be more important now than ever before just because this is unprecedented in every way. There's never been a figure like Trump in this position in our history.

And so you have every contrast in just a more stark way than for a man versus woman. Somebody with a lot of experience. Somebody with no experience in public life. Somebody who is very controlled even to a fault and somebody who is not controlled. And somebody -- in Trump's case who sort of thrives on the attack and how that will work out when it's a woman of his same generation, the first woman ever there face- to-face with him. That's going to be very dramatic.

COOPER: You also in your article you talked to Jane Goodall, who, you know, best known for her work with chimpanzees in Tanzania.

What does Jane Goodall have to reflect on presidential politics?

FALLOWS: Well, the joy of the magazine life is all in the reporting as opposed to writing. So via my wife who had met Jane Goodall, it's that this might be a way to understand the dominance ritual.

Donald Trump exhibited to the whole --

COOPER: Chimpanzees are male dominating in size.

FALLOWS: Yes, exactly. So Jane Goodall is among the chimps for a long time. He's famous that way. She said that his rituals of intimidating his -- not just arguing, but intimidating his colleagues. They were like these dominant chimps.

She saw -- they made a lot of noise. They made their opponents cower. And when you start looking at the Republican primaries to that light against, you know, little Marco and low-energy Jeb, she said it was just like the chimps.

COOPER: That's really fascinating.

Also in your article, you write about that at the first Republican debate, what Donald Trump said, his language was run through a reading difficulty analyzer which match a fourth grade level, but that's really not it. But it was actually very effective for him. That's not an insult and that it was actually kind of powerful.

FALLOWS: So the language, sort of high end persuasion and communication, presidential speeches, advertisement is usually the 6th or 7th grade level. You know, clear and simple. The Bible is very clear and simple. You know, in the beginning and it was good and things like that.

Donald Trump takes us to an extreme. And I think during the primary debates, he just -- would say over and over again, we don't win anymore, we just lose. We're going to win with Trump. We're going to build a wall. It will be great.

And the next step up, nobody with this simple discourse has even been on this sort of general election stage before. And we will see if he can pull it off for two minutes.


COOPER: James Fallow's article is the cover story of "The Atlantic," this month. It's a great read. I recommend it.

A reminder the debate starts at 9:00 p.m. on Monday night. You can watch it right here, of course, on CNN.

We'll have complete coverage running up to the debate and a lot of analysis afterwards.

Tonight, of course, the big night here on CNN. A reminder at the top of the hour, just minutes away, don't miss the season premier of Anthony Bourdain, "Parts Unknown."

In this new episode, President Obama joins Anthony in Hanoi for a crash course in Vietnamese dining.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Let's stay tuned to CNN throughout the evening.

The first presidential debate of this tumultuous election season now just 24 hours away. All day tomorrow. We'll be live from Hofstra University. The site of that debate.

Clinton and Trump, of course, going head-to-head for the first time. Well, it could be an explosive evening. Stay with us for that.

How the candidates are getting ready. And, of course, the debate itself 9:00 p.m. Eastern is when it starts tomorrow night, right here on CNN.

Right now, stay tuned for the season premier of Anthony Bourdain, "PARTS UNKNOWN."