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First debate between Clinton, Trump begins

dpa logodpa 26/09/2016

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are facing off for the first time in a presidential debate.

US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have begun their highly anticipated first face-to-face debate.

Clinton was heard asking, "How are you, Donald?" as they took the stage.

The two candidates shook hands after walking onto the stage at Hofstra University in New York.

The 90-minute contest will feature questions about the direction of the country, the economy and national security. The number of viewers could reach 100 million.

Clinton, a Democrat whose political career spans four decades, is widely seen as the better debater. Trump, the Republican who made his name in real estate and reality television, has a bombastic and unpredictable style that could make him a tricky opponent.

The stakes are high as both candidates attempt to improve their standing among voters in the final weeks ahead of the November 8 election.

An opinion poll released on Monday showed a dead heat at the national level. But the presidential election is won state-by-state - especially so-called swing states - and by that measure Clinton still has a slight advantage.

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