Politics

Fear and loathing as Clinton, Trump square off 1 last time in Vegas

A pedestrian walks past the site for the third presidential debate between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's long and acrimonious battle for the White House is speeding toward the end, with the candidates taking the debate stage Wednesday night for one final prime-time showdown. For Trump, the debate is perhaps his last opportunity to turn around a race that appears to have slipped away from him. The last in a trio of presidential debates, Wednesday's contest in Las Vegas comes just under three weeks from Election Day and with early voting already underway in more than 30 states. At least 2.1 million voters have cast ballots already. The candidates will be asked about the economy, immigration, the Supreme Court, foreign flashpoints and their fitness to be president.

This is our final shot, folks.

Trump at a Colorado rally on Tuesday

Trump has leaned on an increasingly brazen strategy in the campaign's closing weeks, including peddling charges that the election will be rigged. His own campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, seemed to undercut that argument Wednesday by saying she didn't believe there was widespread voter fraud. Trump is bringing President Obama's half-brother, Trump supporter Malik Obama, as his debate guest alongside others including Sarah Palin. Clinton is bringing billionaire and frequent Trump critic Mark Cuban, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabar and Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, one of the former secretary of state's highest-profile Republican backers. Republicans desperately hope Trump can close the campaign by focusing on Clinton's weaknesses, a strategy some privately concede may not be enough at this point for him to win but could help GOP Senate candidates salvage their races.

Summarized by
Moderated by Fox News journalist Chris Wallace, the event begins at 9 p.m. EDT, before a televised audience expected to top 50 million.

6.5%

CLINTON LEAD

National polling average

Trump's predatory comments about women and a flood of sexual assault accusations have deepened his unpopularity with women and limited his pathways to victory. His supporters remain intensely loyal, but there are few signs he's attracting the new backers he desperately needs.

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