Candidates prepare to face off in first presidential debate

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They?ve been sparring from a distance for months, but in less than 24 hours, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton square off face-to-face for the first time. (WLS)

They've been sparring from a distance for months, but in less than 24 hours, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton square off face-to-face for the first time.

The first presidential debate is one of most highly anticipated presidential debates of all time, estimated to attract as many as 100 million people.

The debate takes place Monday night in Hampstead, New York on the campus of Hofstra University, and some college students from the Chicago area will have a front row seat.

Priya Gupta, a Naperville native, will be an usher at the debate. The marketing major at Hofstra University said she is proud the debate will put her college at the center of the political universe.

"I'm pumped!" said Gupta. "I'm more than pumped. I think all of us are. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Freshman Colette Kramer of St. Charles was one of the student volunteers selected to help credential guests.

"I feel really honored to be a part of it," said Kramer. "There's a lot of patriotic feeling to it."

Monday night's debate will mark the third consecutive general election campaign in which Hofstra University has hosted a presidential debate.

"Everybody just says yes and we make it happen," said Richard Himelfarb, political science professor at the school. "We've made it happen now three times in a row."

This year's first debate was scheduled for Ohio's Wright State University, but the school backed out last July amid worries of cost and security.

"Donald Trump adds an element of uncertainty," said Himelfarb. "There's a wild card element that anything can happen in this debate."

The candidates have held individual private meetings with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but no public events as they have been preparing for the debates.

The debate takes place Monday night at 8 p.m. Central Time.

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politicspresidential debate
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