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Clinton campaign: Not fact-checking Trump during debate will give him ‘unfair advantage’

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump smiles as he listens to a reporters question to Geno's Steaks, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Philadelphia. (Associated Press Photo/ Evan Vucci)
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A top adviser to Hillary Clinton said on Friday that if the moderator of Monday's presidential debate fails to fact-check Donald Trump in real time, he will be giving Trump an "unfair advantage."

The comments come as Clinton's campaign tries to get ahead of the expectations game before the first matchup between the two candidates by setting a high bar for Trump, especially when it comes to the truth.

Clinton is also expected to do the fact checking if moderator, NBC News's Lester Holt falls short, Clinton's communications director Jennifer Palmieri said.

"For the moderator to let lies like that that come out of his mouth at this debate to go unchallenged would give Donald Trump an unfair advantage," Palmieri said during a conference call with reporters. "We do believe it is the role of the moderator . . . to call out those lies and to do that in real time.

"[Clinton] will respond when he misrepresents her own record, but given the historic nature of how much Donald Trump lies, it cannot be only on her."

Trump vs. Clinton: A debate fact-check cheat sheet

Trump has suggested that he doesn't think fact checking should be part of the moderator's role.

The Clinton campaign released an 18-page-long list of falsehoods Trump has told and a shorter list of "Seven Deadly Lies" that Trump repeats most often and is likely to repeat on Monday night at the Hofstra University debate.

Among the "seven deadly lies" are Trump's claim that he opposed the Iraq War from the beginning, his claims about Clinton's position on refugees entering America, and his claim that he will make Mexico pay for a border wall.

"Debates are about how each candidate will lay out their visions for America, not making things up," Palmieri said. "Donald Trump has shown a clear pattern of repeating provably false lies, hoping that nobody will correct him.

"Any candidate who tells this many lies clearly can’t win a debate on the merits," she added.

To fact-check or not to fact-check? That is the moderators’ question.

Palmieri said that the campaign has not been in direct communication with Holt about how they hope he will moderate the debate. But the campaign has calculated that they should proactively encourage journalists and the public to hold Trump to account for widely debunked statements.

"We think there are the referees, which is often viewed as the press, but the real referee is the voters," Palmieri said.

Clinton has been devoting a significant amount of time to preparing for the debate, according to Palmieri. Those preparations have kept her out of sight for several days.

Palmieri would not reveal more detail about Clinton's strategy for rehearsing, but she did say that only one person is playing Trump in a mock debate.