By Matthew Rusling
St. Louis, United States, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump needs to pivot to jobs and the economy in order to win Sunday night's presidential debate, a Trump delegate told Xinhua on Sunday.
The tapes, from an interview several years back with radio shock jock Howard Stern, as well as off-camera moments years ago on the set of TV show Access Hollywood, have caused shockwaves in the U.S. media and outrage among Trump's critics.
"Trump must give an honest, forthright, contrite apology and reiterate the fact that he is a changed man, as opposed to the time when the comments were made," Ralph Winnie, an alternate Trump delegate during the primaries for the state of Hawaii, told Xinhua in an interview.
The tapes include Trump's lewd remarks that being famous allowed him to "kiss any woman," and about grabbing women's genitals. The backlash has been so severe that high-ranking Republicans are backing away from the brash billionaire. Trump has issued a defiant apology and even his wife Melania blasted the comments as "unacceptable and offensive."
Trump also needs to "warn that more stuff may come out about his past...to distract the American people about the true problems facing America, such as jobs, the economy, and national security, (but he should add that) he is a changed man," Winnie said.
"Trump should indicate that running for president and connecting with the American people is the most humbling and inspirational experience a person can have," he said.
After apologizing, Trump needs to show discipline and stay on message in the most crucial debate so far against rival Hillary Clinton, Winnie said.
Trump's advisors have sat him down and told him the mistakes that he made during the first debate, which was that he didn't go after Clinton on the Clinton Foundation and the emails, Winnie said.
Winnie was referring to the multiple scandals and allegations of corruption that have dogged Clinton in recent years, especially the past year.
Those include an alleged pay-for-play scheme in which high rolling donors to the Clinton Foundation - a charity organization - were supposedly given special access to Clinton while she was secretary of state under President Barack Obama. In the United States, this is considered a major conflict of interest, and critics have blasted Clinton for what they call criminal behavior.
Scandals also include Clinton's questionable use of a personal email account and personal server while conducting business as secretary of state. Critics said she played hard and fast with U.S. national security.
While Trump's campaign has promoted the narrative of a corrupt Clinton, the New York billionaire failed to use these issues against Clinton in the Sept. 26 debate.
"He's going to hit her very hard," Winnie said, referring to team Trump's plans for how the candidate will engage Clinton on the debate stage on Sunday. "He'll try and put her on the defensive."
Trump is going to reenforce the negative perception that Clinton is a political hack who's corrupt, who's involved in scandals, Winnie said.
Trump has to show he's an acceptable alternative to Clinton, he said. "And that's what he's looking to do - to have a solid debate performance, get her on the defensive, really highlight the strong issue of corruption and also the economy," he said.
But given the recent release of the tapes, Trump may well have an uphill climb in Sunday's debate, and analysts said he will be on the defensive, despite the need to play offense.
Trump is likely to stick with the strategy of hammering Clinton, but Clinton now has the advantage after the release of the tapes, analysts said.
But experts said the tape will be difficult to defend for Trump, and it will be difficult to change the subject for him without seeming to be dismissive of the issue.
Moreover, Trump may have a difficult time controlling the direction of the debate, since the town hall format allows the audience to ask questions.
Winnie said Trump's VP pick Mike Pence set a good example for Trump by winning the debate with Clinton's running mate Senator Tim Kaine earlier this week.
Pence remained calm and cool while debating Kaine. This is much needed in the Trump performance Sunday night, given not only the tapes, but also Trump's recent trivial social media war with a former Miss Universe, which did not help him with voters.
"What Trump has to do is stay focused on the issues," Winnie said.