Eyewitness News political analyst weighs in ahead of second Presidential debate

WATCH: Eyewitness News Political Analyst Joe Fleming discusses the big takeaways from the debate »
WATCH: Eyewitness News Political Analyst Joe Fleming discusses the big takeaways from the debate »

ST. LOUIS, M.O. (WPRI) – The stakes couldn’t be higher as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton take the stage Sunday for the second Presidential debate.

After dominating news headlines all weekend long, Donald Trump is limping toward this critical presidential debate against Hillary Clinton absent the backing of a growing group of Republican leaders.

This debate’s format is town hall style where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will take questions from both the moderators, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz, as well as undecided voters in the audience.

“It’s going to be a little big harder for Donald Trump to get his message in because he needs to address the question that people ask,” says Eyewitness News political analyst Joe Fleming.

Trump insists he will “never” abandon his White House bid despite calls for him to step aside after his vulgar descriptions of sexual advances on women were revealed.

“I would assume Trump is going to take his shots at Clinton tonight,” says Fleming. “He’ll try to get her at the defensive [but] the problem is he’s starting off on the defensive and it’s going to be very much more difficult for him to turn the debate around.”

Despite a strong first debate performance by Clinton, Fleming says the democratic nominee will face a continuing challenge of connecting with voters.

“Try to look friendly; try to come across very genuine to the voters of the country,” says Fleming. “Stay level keel and basically what she did last time which was needling Donald Trump and as the debate went on it went under Donald Trump’s skin.”

Trump’s task in Sunday’s faceoff is enormous, and perhaps insurmountable. Even before the recording of his remarks were made public, the businessman was lagging behind Clinton after an undisciplined first debate and struggling to overcome deep skepticism among women about his temperament and qualifications to be commander in chief.

Trump has hinted he may turn the debate into a referendum on Clinton’s marriage, namely her husband’s extramarital affairs and her treatment of the women who were involved.

Includes reports from the Associated Press.