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The first presidential debate involving Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump takes place tonight over 90 minutes from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

The debate will overlap with a Monday Night Football game, but a lot of viewer interest is expected, as the two candidates vie for votes six weeks ahead of the Nov. 8 election. The expectation here is that ratings will be high.

Forget Trump's former "The Apprentice" television show, this will be real reality TV.

There will be lots of debate parties in Iowa, Siouxland and nationally. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe will be at Clinton's campaign office in Sioux City to speak with people as the debate runs.

Here are four things to consider as the debate takes place.

(1) Will Trump go off? I heard a lot of speculation on Sunday morning national news shows that Trump will be pushed by Clinton and he could have a strong reaction. An expectation is that Clinton will poke the bear time and again to elicit a Trump response. Can he resist having a strong visceral comeback?

(2) Over preparation. The candidates are going through a lot of debate prep. They are having stand-ins for their opponents and going through many mock debate questions. No doubt Clinton and Trump each have in mind a few key barbs they want to get off and ideally land as a takeaway line of the night.

But there is a risk of being over prepared and, as a result, coming off as scripted and stiff. It pays to be loose and nimble on the fly during a debate.

(3) Social media immediacy. Americans who watch the debate won't just be sharing observations with others in their living rooms, they will quickly punch those thoughts out on social media, including in real time on Twitter.

Republican strategist Steven Schmidt on Sunday said the days of the campaigns holding forth after the debate in spin rooms is a quaint practice that really won't work in today's world. Schmidt speculated that which candidate "wins" the debate could be widely aired on Twitter halfway through the event.

(4) Body language. How the two candidates speak and perform on the stump is well known after months of campaign appearances. Trump in particular can be real demonstrative in body language to augment what he is saying. Clinton too might be doing some eye-rolls and the like during the debate.

College linguists could have a hay day going beyond the words spoken and getting into the body language. This would be a fascinating debate to view with the sound off, to see how the two perform in the eyes of observers.

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County and education reporter

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