(Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
All roads point to Las Vegas' luxurious Wynn Resort and Casino this week for the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2016 election season.
For months, potential voters have heard of Hillary Clinton's email scandal and Bernie Sanders' surreptitious rise atop national polls, but this will be the first time either speaks in front a national audience. CNN released Tuesday night's podium order and placed Clinton at center stage, Sanders to her immediate right, and low-polling Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley to her left.
Longshots Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb, polling fourth and fifth, respectively, bookend the stage. Vice President Joe Biden rumored Oval Office run prompted event organizers to prepare an additional podium as a precaution.
Sanders avoided commenting on controversy surrounding Clinton this summer, but may have to go on the offensive, especially since he is an Independent candidate and has more leeway in criticizing his Democratic opponents.
Clinton will look to address her weaknesses; to prove she is an empathetic figure who doesn't have anything to hide. Clinton's support nationwide is overwhelming, as long as Biden's name isn't placed alongside hers.
Biden, for his part, never indented on participating because he doesn't feel pressure to reach a decision by Oct. 13. Presidential candidacy deadline filings in several state are weeks away, meaning the vice president will make an announcement soon, even it doesn't come before Tuesday debate.
When: Oct. 13, 2015
Where: Wynn Las Vegas
Time: 8:30 p.m. EST
Moderator: Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and Dana Bash
Participants: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee