Joe Biden (left) and President Trump (right) are facing off in Cleveland for the first presidential debate. Photos: Alex Wong (of Biden) and David Hume Kennerly (of Trump)/Getty Images

President Trump will try to break Joe Biden's composure by going after his son Hunter and other family members in tonight's first presidential debate — a campaign source tells Axios "nothing will be off the table" — while Biden plans to stick to the economy, coronavirus and new revelations about how Trump avoided paying taxes.

Driving the news: Biden and Trump are set to debate at 9pm ET at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and it will be moderated by Fox News' Chris Wallace.

The big picture: Most voters' minds are already made up and early voting already has begun, so it's not clear how much of an impact this year's debates will have on balloting.

  • But questions about absentee ballot rejection rates, turnout, litigation — and the history of Trump's narrow 2016 Electoral College win — are keeping the stakes high.

What we're hearing: Democrats want Biden to be the adult in the room, focus on the issues and show viewers the sense of leadership that Democrats say the country is craving right now.

  • That may be easier said than done given Biden's history of getting defensive and flustered when his family is attacked. Biden's senior advisers want him to do everything he can to ignore Trump's anticipated jabs.

But Trump has his own plans. “Expect the president to prosecute the case against Joe Biden partly by using his son Hunter and brother James as his cudgels," a campaign source told Axios. "Nothing will be off the table and the president has dove into all of their activities.”

  • Asked by reporters how Biden would respond to attacks about Hunter, senior adviser Symone Sanders said, "Voters don’t want to hear President Trump rehash attacks about Vice President Biden and his family."
  • Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told reporters, "We're not gonna play this game. This is an incredibly serious moment for our country, and the American people need a serious president who can get us out of this mess that we're in because of Donald Trump."

Biden's campaign released his 2019 tax returns hours before the debate, in an effort to contrast his own history with revelations from an in-depth New York Times investigative report on Trump's tax returns — and to argue Biden is better for the working class.

  • A Fox News poll released last week showed Biden leading by 1 percentage point with Ohio voters, but Trump leading by 5 on who voters trust to handle the economy.

Go deeper: See Kamala Harris and Biden's tax returns

Go deeper

What Matters 2020

The missed opportunities for 2020 and beyond

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jason Armond (Los Angeles Times), Noam Galai, Jabin Botsford (The Washington Post), Alex Wong/Getty Images

As the 2020 presidential campaign draws to a close, President Trump and Joe Biden have focused little on some of the most sweeping trends that will outlive the fights of the moment.

Why it matters: Both have engaged on some issues, like climate change and China, on their own terms, and Biden has addressed themes like economic inequality that work to his advantage. But others have gone largely unmentioned — a missed opportunity to address big shifts that are changing the country.

New Hampshire paper backs Biden in first Democratic endorsement in over 100 years

Photo: Jim Watson, Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The New Hampshire Union Leader, the conservative-leaning Manchester-based newspaper, endorsed Joe Biden for president on Sunday.

Why it matters: It's the first time the paper has endorsed a Democrat for president in over 100 years, after it broke from more than a century of backing Republicans to endorse libertarian Gary Johnson over President Trump in 2016.

SurveyMonkey poll: Trump improves, but not enough

Trump and Biden during the final debate. Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

President Trump's final debate performance exceeded Americans' expectations, but it wasn't enough to shift the dynamics that left him trailing Joe Biden across most measures, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

What they're saying: "Liar" was the word used most by debate watchers to describe Trump's performance, followed by "lies," "strong," "presidential" and "childish." "Presidential" was the word used most to describe Biden's performance, followed by "liar," "weak," "expected" and "honest."