(Reuters) Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump will face off for the first time on Monday in a presidential debate that could rank as one of the most watched and highly anticipated political showdowns in U.S. history.

The tight race for the White House and the unpredictable clash in styles between well-known but polarizing foes has generated wide interest in the potentially pivotal encounter, which comes six weeks before the Nov. 8 election.

The size of the television-viewing audience is expected to challenge the presidential debate record of 80 million who watched the 1980 encounter between Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan.

The 90-minute debate will begin at 9 p.m. (0100 GMT on Tuesday) at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island. It is the first of three planned presidential debates.

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