National media have dug up evidence of some of his bad and bizarre behavior, including agreeing with an interviewer that his daughter Ivanka was a 'piece of ass'. Photograph: (Getty)
Ahead of the debate, Trump is facing hostility after the release of a recording wherein he boasts about committing sexual assault
After damaging footage of him making lewd remarks surfaced, wherein he boasted about committing sexual assault, the stakes are high for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and he needs to put up a strong debate performance against Hillary clinton today.
Trump, speaking on the set of Days of our lives from 2005, was on tape saying saying:
"I moved on her like a b*itch, but I couldn't get there. And she was married...I did try and f*ck her. She was married...just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything...grab them by the p***y. You can do anything."
The list of high-profile Republicans walking away from their endorsement of their candidate, or distancing themselves further, is growing by the day.
It's in this atmosphere that the two candidates face off in their second debate ahead of Election Day, starting 9 PM local time at Washington University in St Louis. The debate will be in a town hall format where they will take questions from the audience.
With national media digging up evidence of his misogynistic behaviour, Trump is sure to face questions on treatment of women, but Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine has suggested that she intends to stick to basic issues like economy and national security.
"If Donald wants to talk about something other than what voters want to talk about, that's his choice," Kaine said on CNN's State of the Union show. "But I suspect that Hillary Clinton is going to talk about the things that voters really care about."
Even a winning performance by Trump, however, seems unlikely to mend the fissures he has opened in the Republican party, alarmed about the scandal's fallout in other down-ballot races.
The New York Times has reported that by late Saturday 36 Republican members of Congress and governors had disavowed Trump's candidacy.
The debate will not be easy for Clinton either as she might have to face questions on a WikiLeaks disclosure of excerpts from private speeches she gave to major banks in 2013 and 2014.
Although not as damaging as the Trump tape, the excerpts do show that she had expressed views in favour of open trade and self-regulation of the Wall Street, which are at odds with her position as a candidate.
John Podesta, a Clinton adviser from whose email account the excerpts were hacked, has said that they were taken out of context.
"They are not diametrically opposed," he said on Fox News on Sunday. "Again, you can pull a few words out of context, but what he said on this campaign trail is she'll be tough on Wall Street. That's exactly what she'll do."
(WION with inputs from AFP)