IT could go down as one of the most toxic political campaigns in the history of the United States, and today could mark the most venomous of all.
The first US presidential debate is due to start at 11am AEST and run for 90 minutes.
It is expected to reach an audience larger than that of the US Super Bowl.
The NZ Herald reports that the debate's unofficial winner has gone on to take the presidency nine out of 11 times.
Donald Trump is a far more compelling speaker, he is a showman with little regard for facts.
Hillary Clinton is seen as being part of the "establishment" -- a key major party figure, at a time when the major parties are on the nose in the US.
Trump has attempted to position himself as something of an "outsider" despite being a billionaire developer, while Clinton has tried to show her position as one of the people, despite charging thousands to speak at Wall Street functions and having a former president as a husband.
Grab your popcorn, one of these two will soon be the most powerful person in the world.
And don't forget:
12.38PM: FINAL: Will you accept the outcome of this election?
I support our democracy and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but I certainly will support the outcome of this election.
I know Donald's trying very hard to plant doubts about it but I hope the people out there understand this election's really up to you.
It's not about us so much as it is about you and your families and the kind of country and future you want.
So I sure hope you will get out and vote as though your future depended on it because I think it does.
I want to make America great again. We are a nation that is seriously troubled.
We're losing our jobs, people are pouring into our country.
The other day we were deporting 800 people and perhaps they passed the wrong button, they pressed the wrong button or perhaps worse than that, it was corruption.
But these people that we were going to deport for good reason, ended up becoming citizens.
Ended up becoming citizens.
And it was 800 and now it turns out it might be 1,800 and they don't even know.
[HOLT] Will you accept the outcome of the election?
I want to make America great again. I'm going to be able to... , I don't believe Hillary will. The answer is if she wins I will absolutely support her.
Trump said he was fact checking on his website.— Hunter Schwarz (@hunterschwarz) September 27, 2016
Fact check: no he’s not pic.twitter.com/O6EZvcOFOw
12.33PM Trump has said Hillary 'doesn't have presidential look'. What do you mean by that?
Trump has denied the quote, saying she did not have the stamina.
As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates and peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.
She has experience. But bad experience.
12.25PM: Clinton describes a Trump presidency is "number one threat" in the world.
Clinton has called out Trump for his comments on nuclear weapons and that he "did not care" if Japan, South Korea, even Saudi Arabia had nuclear weapons.
"It's been the policy of the US, Democrats and Republicans, to do everything we could to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons
"And in fact his cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons is so deeply troubling, that is the number one threat we face in the world and it becomes particularly threatening if terrorists ever get their hands on any nuclear material.
"So a man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes as far as I think anyone with any sense about this should be concerned."
12.15PM: How will you prevent home-grown attacks by American citizens?
Trump does not say how to prevent them, but says ISIS only exists because US troops were not left in the Middle East.
He also said that if the United States had "taken the oil", then ISIS would have had no revenue.
Clinton said George W Bush decided when troops would leave the US, not Barack Obama.
She said her priority was on securing all the intelligence available to help prevent potential attacks.
"We've got to do everything we can to vacuum up intelligence from Europe, from the Middle East.
"That means we've got towork more closely with our allies.
"And that's something that Donald has been very dismissive of.
"We're working with NATO, the longest military alliance in the history of the world, to really turn ourattention to terrorism."
Trump is denying he supported the United States' war in Iraq. Adjudicator Holt says it is on public record.
From Politifact in June this year: Trump still wrong on his claim that opposed Iraq War ahead of the invasion
LIVE FACT-CHECK: Trump has a muddled record on the war. But he voiced support before the invasion, like many Americans. pic.twitter.com/cF8jKkbCQX— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) September 27, 2016
Clinton has described Trump's career begun in 1973 after being sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination because he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African-Americans.
He was actually sued twice by the Justice Department.
Trump did not deny the claims, but said the case was settled with "no admission of guilt".
11.55AM: On the use of 'stop and frisk' in New York.
Trump: I'd like to respond. I agree, and even people in my party want to give rights to people on watch lists or no-fly lists.
I have the endorsement of the NRA, good people protecting the second amendment. I tend to agree with that quite strongly. I want to bring up that you brought up 'super predator' about young black youths.
I think you've apologized, but it's a terrible thing to say. In NYC, stop and frisk brought 2200 murders to 500. Not that 500 is good, but it came down from 2200. It had a very, very big impact.
Clinton: It's also fair to say, if we talk about mayors, that under the current mayor, crime has continued to drop.
Trump: You're wrong. Murders are up.
Clinton: Feel free to check.
11.49AM: Trump believes "gangs" and "illegal immigrants" are to blame.
After being asked how to heal the race divide in the US, Trump says:
We have gangs roaming the street.
In many cases they are illegally here.
Illegal immigrants have guns and they shoot people.
We have to be strong and we have to be vigilant. We have to know what we're doing.
Right now, our police in many casesare afraid to do anything.
11.45AM: NEXT QUESTION:
The share of Americans who say race relations are bad in this country, the highest it has been in decades.
Race is a big issue in this campaign. One of you will have to brimming a wide and bitter gap.
How do you heel the divide?
We have got to do several things at the same time.
We have to restore trust between communities and the police.
We have to work to make sure that our police are using the best training, the best techniques that they are well prepared to use force, only when necessary.
Everyone should be respected by the law and everyone should respect the law.
Right now that is not the case in a lot of our neighbourhoods.
11.42AM: After being called out on declaring himself bankrupt four times, Clinton calls into question his business acumen.
Trump responds conceding that he has used the laws "a small number of times" to benefit his business.
He describes his assets as among the best in the world.
"...On occasion, four times, we used certain laws that are there and when secretary
"Clinton talks about people that didn't get paid, first of all, they did get paid a lot but taking advantage of the laws of the nation.
"If you want to change the laws, you have been there a long time, change the laws. I take advantage of the laws of the nation."
11.33AM: Trump is asked why he won't release his tax statements.
He says he will once a tax audit is complete.
Adjudicator Lester Holt says the Internal Revenue Service has said there is no need to keep the tax returns secret.
Trump dodged the question, saying Clinton ought to release deleted emails.
Clinton claims he has something to hide, referring to a tax return he made while attempting to secure a casino licence.
It showed he paid no federal tax.
Trump said that makes him "smart".
Clinton says using a personal email server was a "mistake".
"That makes me smart," Trump says, referring to not paying taxes.— Alan Rappeport (@arappeport) September 27, 2016
On the question of why tax cuts are needed on the wealthy.
They will expand their companies, Trump said.
"It is great for the middle class, it is great for the companies to expand."
Taxes are forcing the country's largest companies to leave.
Clinton responds, describing the Trump loophole, which she said is a group of tax changes that would directly benefit his family.
"I don't think top down works in America," Clinton said.
"I think building the middle class, investing in the middle class, making college debt-free so more young people can get an education, helping people refinance their debt from college at a lower rate.
"Those are the kinds of things that will boost the economy."
Clinton plays the ace up her sleeve. She tells the debate that she has converted her website to a "real-time" fact checker on Trump.
Trump is targeting Bill Clinton's record on signing the NAFTA deal: "The worst trade deal signed in this country".
He is now aiming at her on the Trans-Pacific Partnerships.
The debate has now begun a yelling match.
Trump tells Clinton she supported the trade deal until he attacked it.
"You said it was the finest deal you have ever seen, then you heard what I said and you were against it."
Clinton tells Trump he "lives in his own reality".
Trump attempts to put Clinton off balance, mentioning her by name then saying,
"Is that OK? I want you to be very happy."
11.07AM: Hillary Clinton begins by saying it is her granddaughter's birthday before diving deep into the economy. raising the national minimum wage, closing corporate loopholes and making the country's largest companies to "pay their way".
She greeted Trump and told him it was "good to be with you".
"Our jobs are fleeing the country. You look at what China is doing to our country by devaluing our product.
"They're using our country as a piggybank to rebuild China and other countries are doing the same thing."
Trump says America must stop jobs "being stolen from us".
He vows to reduce taxes from 35% to 15%.
That's going to be a job creator, he said.
"It's going to be a beautiful thing."
The kind of plan that Donald has put forth would be trickled down economics all over again.
It would be the most extreme version, the biggest tax cuts for the top per cent of the people in this country than we have ever had.
I call it Trumped up trickle down.
Clinton then targets Trump's background, saying he borrowed "$14 million" from his father, compared to her own father who ran a drapery business.
Her focus is on the middle class.
11AM: Debate begins with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump shaking hands. Hillary in red, Trump in blue.
10.56AM: Former President Bill Clinton, Melania Trump and Trump's children have now walked out and joined the audience.
Wall Street tumbles as US Presidential debate looms large
WALL Street fell ahead of the first US presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
"Wall Street favours Hillary at this point because she is a known commodity. Trump is a wild card," Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma, told Reuters.
"But I don't think it's too late for Wall Street to warm up to Trump."
In 2.54pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.84 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index slid 0.82 per cent. In 2.39pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 0.85 per cent.
Half of America's likely voters will rely on the presidential debates to help them make their choice between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November 8 election, according to Reuters, citing a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday.
A Bloomberg poll on Monday showed the two candidates were at 46 per cent each in a direct election.
And with third-party candidates added to the mix, Trump was leading Clinton 43 to 41 per cent.
Slides in shares of JPMorgan Chase and those of Goldman Sachs, down 2.5 per cent each, led the drop in the Dow.
Banks fell on both sides of the Atlantic. Shares of Deutsche Bank sank to a record, closing 7.5 per cent lower, amid speculation Germany's largest lender would need to raise capital to settle claims in a dispute with the US Department of Justice, which is seeking US$14 billion.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had ruled out state aid to Deutsche Bank, the country's magazine Focus reported on the weekend. The bank on Monday said it did not seek help and did not need a capital increase, according to media reports.
"The drama around Deutsche Bank puts the European financial sector in the spotlight once again,"Michael Woischneck, senior equities manager at Lampe Asset Management in Dusseldorf, Germany, told Bloomberg.
"It makes you wonder what the situation is like at other banks with significant capital-markets activities. We're also entering a quarter with a lot of political event risks, and I'd expect big swings in volatility."
Meanwhile, investors are eyeing the latest merger and acquisition news.
The Walt Disney is working with a financial adviser to evaluate a possible bid for Twitter, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. After receiving interest in discussing a deal, Twitter has started a process to evaluate a potential sale.
Salesforce.com is also considering a bid, working with Bank of America on the process, Bloomberg reported, citing other people, who declined to be named because the matter is private.
Twitter shares traded 1.1 per cent stronger as of 3.04pm in New York, while those of Walt Disney fell 1.7 per cent, and Salesforce.com shares traded 0.1 per cent weaker.