Donald Trump was pretty pleased with his performance against Hillary Clinton at Monday's debate, even though scientific polls—not the easily manipulated online polls that Trump is citing—show most Americans pick Clinton as the clear victor. Even some of his own campaign advisers don't feel he was on point enough during the head-to-head, though they're framing it as "missed opportunities" rather than total failure. And so the strategy for Oct. 9's debate is reportedly getting an overhaul, with more role-playing practice, facts study, and even rehearsing how to move around the stage for the town-hall-style event, per the New York Times. What these advisers, who spoke anonymously to the paper, are worried about, however, is whether Trump will agree to this prep. Complicating things: Some say he actually was drilled on how to combat Clinton on certain issues and that he just chose not to.
Others point the finger at Trump's extremely busy schedule in the days before the debate and too many people (up to a dozen, some with not much political acumen) giving him conflicting suggestions. Sources say his debate training was "unconventional," with Trump unable to concentrate during more traditional sessions and preferring to simply dish with advisers rather than have mock debates. Trump himself told Fox News he found it hard to segue into some of those challenges against Clinton on the debate stage, such as the subject of Benghazi. Trump's pulling back—he stopped attacking Clinton and even grew "subdued" as the debate proceeded—has got to change the next time around, frustrated aides say. Instead, he has to set Clinton's vulnerabilities in his sights and stick to his plan for the whole night. "It clearly looked like he ran out of gas after 30 minutes [in the New York debate], and that came through loud and clear," a senior political strategist tells the Times.