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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Edward Helmore

Hillary Clinton: waste of Biden’s debate time to rebut Trump ‘nonsense’

a woman in a dress speaks into a microphone
Hillary Clinton speaks at the Tony awards in New York on 16 June 2024. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Hillary Clinton has said it would be a “waste of time” for Joe Biden to attempt to refute Donald Trump’s contentions in Thursday’s presidential debate because “it’s nearly impossible to identify what his arguments even are”.

The former secretary of state wrote in a New York Times opinion piece that Trump “starts with nonsense and then digresses into blather”.

“This has gotten only worse in the years since we debated,” she said.

Clinton debated Trump while unsuccessfully running for the White House against him in 2016 – and she had also debated Biden during a presidential primary eight years earlier.

Trump was later accused of speaking over Clinton and looming over her in a way that she later described as “really weird”.

Clinton predicted in her op-ed that Trump’s strategies would “fall flat” if Biden “is as direct and forceful as he was” during his State of the Union address in March.

Referring to Trump, she added: “Expectations for him are so low that if he doesn’t literally light himself on fire on Thursday evening, some will say he was downright presidential.”

Clinton advised debate-watchers to focus on three things: how each candidate talks about people, whether they “focus on the fundamentals”, and on the choice between “chaos and competence”.

Referring to Trump’s recent conviction in the New York criminal prosecution involving hush money paid to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels, Clinton said the choice between “a convicted criminal out for revenge and a president who delivers results” was “easy” regardless of the debate’s outcome.

Clinton’s comments come as both main political parties are attempting to talk down expectations of a decisive political clash. They also arrived on the same day that she announced a new memoir – Something Lost, Something Gained – set to be published seven weeks ahead of November’s vote.

Clinton said she will offer a “warning to all American voters”, along with “her unvarnished views on politics, democracy, the threats we face, and the future within our reach”.

Subjects the 76-year-old former US secretary of state is said to address include her reflections on marriage, friendships with other former first ladies, and, according to the publisher Simon & Schuster’s editor-in-chief, Priscilla Painton, moving “past her dream of being president”.

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