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Trump Time Capsule #115: The First Debate

  • Today’s harvest of things that haven’t happened in presidential campaigns before:1.
  • We have served Republican and Democratic Presidents with pride and enthusiasm.
  • We fear the damage that such ineptitude could cause in our closest relationships as well as the succor it might offer our enemies.
  • By contrast, Hillary Clinton’s handling of foreign affairs has consistently sought to advance fundamental U.S.
James Fallows / The Atlantic | September 26, 2016, 11:37 pm

Trump Adviser Roger Stone Claims Clinton Was Placed On An “Oxygen Tank” Immediately After Presidential Debate

  • DAVID KNIGHT (INFOWARS): I noticed that she was very careful to always look to her left.
  • ROGER STONE: Well, David Knight, the best dressed man in all of Austin, Texas, I think you hit it right on the head.
  • STONE: I spoke to a Secret Service agent today by phone who does not want to be identified who tells me that he is virtually certain she has some advanced form of epilepsy.
  • Trump Adviser Roger Stone Lashes Out At “Pathetic” Presidential Debate Moderator Lester Holt: “The Debate Was Two On One”
Media Matters for America / Media Matters | September 26, 2016, 11:33 pm

Clinton Responds To Trump's Characterization Of Black And Hispanic Neighborhoods As 'Hell'

  • After Donald Trump on Monday characterized Black and Latino neighborhoods in America as "Hell," Hillary Clinton called B.S.
  • Well, I've heard Donald say this at his rallies, and it's really unfortunate that he paints such a dire, negative picture of black communities in our country. 
  • Clinton went on to talk about racial and criminal justice, noting how much more likely a black man in America is than a white man to be arrested, charged and incarcerated. 
  • Just watch Trump's facial expressions in the video below as Clinton talks about the practice of racial profiling through "stop-and-frisk," a policy Trump has endorsed. (Kerry Eleveld) / Daily Kos | September 26, 2016, 9:55 pm

Trump Time Capsule #114: Trump Foundation And Taxes

  • Today’s harvest of things that haven’t happened in presidential campaigns before:1.
  • We have served Republican and Democratic Presidents with pride and enthusiasm.
  • We fear the damage that such ineptitude could cause in our closest relationships as well as the succor it might offer our enemies.
  • By contrast, Hillary Clinton’s handling of foreign affairs has consistently sought to advance fundamental U.S.
James Fallows / The Atlantic | September 26, 2016, 8:32 pm

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Presidential" Like He Did In Mexico"]
  • Halperin: “If He Is Simply Calm, And Cool, And Reserved, And Gracious, I Think He Will At Least Tie This Debate”
  • JOHN HEILEMANN (CO-HOST): What do you think that the Republican nominee has to do tonight?
  • The Bar Gets Lower: Media Reinforce Double Standard For Trump Ahead Of First Debate
  • Bloomberg's With All Due Respect Highlights Media's Insistence On Lowering Bar For Trump
Media Matters for America / Media Matters | September 26, 2016, 8:27 pm

Debate Commission Enforces Exclusion By Having Jill Stein Escorted Off Hofstra

  • At a demonstration and press conference outside the university after she was removed, Stein returned and declared, “We have a right to know who we can vote for,” and condemned the debate that will air as a “spectacle” and a “disgrace.” She claimed it would “increase the appetite for the American voter for a true politics of integrity.”
  • An “Occupy The Debates” march and action including supporters took off shortly after.
  • Earlier in the afternoon, according to the Stein campaign, the presidential candidate was on her way to do an interview for MSNBC.
  • The Stein campaign announced it had worked out a plan with Twitter to help her participate in the debate in real time.
Kevin Gosztola / Shadowproof | September 26, 2016, 7:30 pm

Comedian Zach Galifianakis Shows How Insane Gerrymandering Is In A New Documentary Series

  • At first glance, the photos do not support LePage’s assertion that 90 percent of more of Maine’s accused heroin dealers are black and Hispanic, as more than half the photos in the binder appear to be of white people.
  • LePage now says he meant blah blah gobble blah, and no doubt there's still a lot of detail to work out because perhaps Gov.
  • The 21st state Senate District in Fayetteville, North Carolina, was recently struck down as an illegal racial gerrymander
  • A new documentary series called America Divided debuts on the EPIX network this Friday at 9 PM ET, and it delves into the many injustices associated with inequality in America, whether they be political, social, or economic. (Stephen Wolf) / Daily Kos | September 26, 2016, 6:52 pm

Democratic Hopes Of Winning Back The Senate Seem To Be Slipping Away

  • While most of the attention of the political media has been focused on he race for President, Republicans and Democrats are also battling for control of the Senate.
  • Democrats are now facing a tougher road to capturing the Senate majority as the presidential race tightens and Donald Trump is not proving to be the dramatic drag on down-ballot candidates that Republicans once feared.
  • Trump’s resilience and faltering Democratic campaigns in battleground states mean the fight for the Senate has settled into a knuckle-to-knuckle brawl likely to result in a chamber that will be closely divided or potentially even tied.
  • Democrats can still manage to win the four or five seats they need to claim the Senate majority, but the battle has shifted from purple states that Barack Obama twice carried — Ohio and Florida — to Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina, where Obama lost in 2012.
Doug Mataconis / Outside The Beltway | September 26, 2016, 6:22 pm

Live Coverage Of The First Presidential Debate

Watch Jon Voight's Bizarre Interview On Why He Supports Trump

  • JAKE TAPPER (HOST): What he said was, "Hillary Clinton started it-- Hillary Clinton and her campaign started it, I ended it."
  • NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): A lot of people are going to be tuning in [to the presidential debate].
  • CAVUTO: Why don't so many of your colleagues John, why don't so many of your colleagues -- and I know you and I have discussed this in the past -- they don't see that same Donald Trump and many of them are putting out these ads now saying it would be horrible if he ever becomes president.
  • CAVUTO: Alright, well Hillary Clinton people, they disagree with that John --
Media Matters for America / Media Matters | September 26, 2016, 5:22 pm

Midday Open Thread: Join Us Tonight For Debate Coverage; Kirk Douglas On Der Fuehrer And Der Donnie

  • Scott Walker sold Wisconsin out to the highest bidders, by Mark E Andersen
  • Why corporate special interests created modern libertarianism, by David Akadjian
  • Five questions for Adanjesús Marín of Make the Road PA, a leading Latino group in the Keystone State, by Kerry Eleveld
  • Trump wants to destroy democracy by dismantling the Bill of Rights, by Denise Oliver Velez (Meteor Blades) / Daily Kos | September 26, 2016, 3:47 pm

FBI: Murder Rate Up Over 10% Due To Increased Killings Of Black Men

  • The increases in murders were concentrated in the inner-cities, specifically Baltimore, Washington DC, Chicago, Houston, and Milwaukee.
  • According to the data, over 900 more black men were murdered in 2015 than 2014, their deaths mostly the result of gun violence.
  • But some FBI officials such as Director James Comey have gone beyond blaming bad local governance to claim that Black Lives Matter and a general anti-police attitude have led to more killings because law enforcement has become more cautious in pursuing criminal investigations.
  • The Obama years have not been particularly kind to African-Americans, especially young black men.
Dan Wright / Shadowproof | September 26, 2016, 3:21 pm

Watching Tonight’s Debate Guide For Cord Cutters

  • If you’re among that growing group of people who have cut the cord to their cable television provider, there are still ways to catch the debate if you’re so inclined.
  • YouTube will likely be among the most popular sites, and you can watch their live-stream below, or at the YouTube home page:
  • You’ll even be able to watch a virtual reality version of the debate if you have the proper equipment, but I cannot be held responsible for any trauma or nausea that a virtual reality experience might induce.
  • Finally, if you’re truly old-fashioned it sounds like most major news and talk radio stations will be airing the debate live on radio as well.
Doug Mataconis / Outside The Beltway | September 26, 2016, 3:17 pm

How Trump Lowered Expectations For The First Debate

It’s well-established that Donald Trump’s campaign doesn’t do most of the things a traditional political team does. There’s scarcely any policy, weak fundraising, and no ground game. But in one classic area of political positioning, the Trump team has proven it is historically great at one classic tactic: expectations setting.

With a few hours to go before the first presidential debate, it’s hard to see what the Republican nominee could do to avoid the meeting being judged at least a tie. Through a combination of months of campaigning, leaks about his debate prep, and aggressive working of the referees, Trump has set expectations so low that it’s hard to imagine how he finishes the debate without getting positive reviews from mainstream commentators.

At The Washington Post, James Hohmann rounds up a few glaring examples: A Politico reporter saying, “If he does passably, we’ll all say he won”; The New York Times’ Yamiche Alcindor saying, “A lot of people are going to look at Donald Trump and think, ‘Hey, if he can even get out a good sentence and show off his experience, then he's doing well’”; NPR saddling Clinton with “the burden of high expectations.” Andrew Kaczynski spotted this moment on MSNBC:

The point here is not that any of these particular people or sources are sinning; it’s about the general picture.

And it’s a picture that the Trump campaign has carefully painted over the course of the last few weeks and months.

Beginning in August, Trump effectively threatened to skip the debates. He argued that it was improper that one of them was scheduled against an NFL game and claimed falsely that the NFL had asked him to get it changed. He also said he wanted to see who the moderators were and what the rules were. Industry insiders speculated that the final slate of moderators was chosen in part to placate Trump.

If so, it worked, sort of. Trump agreed to debate but kept up his attack. For example, he derided NBC’s Lester Holt, the moderator of Monday’s debate, in an interview with Bill O’Reilly. “Look, it's a phony system,” he said. “Lester is a Democrat. I mean, they are all Democrats. Okay? It's a very unfair system.”

Trump was wrong: Holt is a registered Republican. Asked about this on Monday, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway offered the novel defense that her boss wasn’t lying; he was simply shooting off at the mouth when he had no idea what he was talking about. “I don’t know that he knew what Lester Holt’s voter registration was,” she said. “He didn’t lie. A lie would mean that he knew the man’s party registration.”

After Matt Lauer failed, during a forum earlier this month, to point out that Trump was lying about opposing the Iraq War, progressives began pushing for debate moderators to fact-check in real time. Trump aides rallied against that idea, and on Sunday, Janet Brown, the executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, sided with them. “I don't think it's a good idea to get the moderator into essentially serving as the Encyclopedia Britannica,” she said on CNN’s Reliable Sources.

All of this has the effect of putting both the commission and Holt on the defensive. Once Trump had threatened to quit and preemptively convicted the moderator of bias, Holt is pressured to bend over backward to appear fair—which means less real-time accountability for Trump, and an effort to be even-handed, regardless of the material.

He’s not just working the refs, though—he’s also, to continue the metaphor, working the sportswriters. Last week, the Times ran likely the most detailed story on debate preparation to see publication. Relying on advisers, friends, and surrogates, the reporters heard this about Trump:

  • “He has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials.”
  • “He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
  • “His advisers see it as a waste of time to try to fill his head with facts and figures.”
  • “Mr. Trump can get bored with both debate preparations and debates themselves.”
  • “His team has been emphasizing the best ways to win: Do not pick stupid fights with her or with the moderator; explain yourself rather than get defensive...”
  • “Some Trump advisers are concerned that he underestimates the difficulty of standing still, talking pointedly and listening sharply for 90 minutes.”
  • “[Vulnerabilities include his] tendency to lie on some issues (like his challenge to President Obama’s citizenship) or use incorrect information or advance conspiracy theories—all of which opens him to counterattack from Mrs. Clinton or rebukes from the moderator.”

This may or may not be an accurate depiction. Separately, aides told Politico that Trump’s team has constructed an elaborate psychological profile of Clinton that he’s using to prepare. It’s hard to tell what is a psych-out and what’s real, but the effect of the balance of these leaks is to present Trump as so bumbling that simply standing up straight is an achievement.

Meanwhile, Kellyanne Conway is working the same jujitsu on reporters that Trump did on Holt, warning that reporters are biased against her nominee. It’s a no-lose proposition: Either reporters self-police, or else Trump’s supporters will simply write off anything they say as biased, regardless of the content.

But viewing this as the work of just a few weeks overlooks how important Trump’s entire campaign has been to creating this situation. Even if the Trump campaign hadn’t attacked Holt, made their candidate seem indifferent, and policed reporters, Trump the candidate has set the stage through his statements over the past 16 months.

Political reporting is heavily centered around two conventions. One, much remarked-upon and derided as “false equivalence” is the practice of comparing two things as like and like, even when they are not. A pair of Politico stories over the weekend, fact-checks of each candidate, offer an opportunity to see how to handle this right and wrong. As Donald Monynihan pointed out, reporters chided Clinton for a statement about how Trump’s tax plan would affect him because, they said, she was relying on Trump’s own, likely false, estimate of his net worth. On the other hand, Politico also concluded, “Trump’s mishandling of facts and propensity for exaggeration so greatly exceed Clinton’s as to make the comparison almost ludicrous.”

A second, perhaps underrated convention is comparing a candidate to him- or herself. This is where Trump has truly excelled. Because he has said so man outlandish things—and because, as Salena Zito memorably put it recently, the press takes Trump literally but not seriously—reporters are ill-equipped to assess Trump against any sort of objective standard. It is certainly true that Trump is sui generis, and while that does not preclude detached analysis, it makes it very challenging.

An example of this dynamic was also on display over the weekend. After the Clinton campaign announced it was inviting billionaire Mark Cuban, a veteran Trump troll, to the debate, Trump announced that he had invited Gennifer Flowers, who had an affair with Bill Clinton decades ago. Flowers even confirmed that she was attending. It was then left to Conway and Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, to break the news that Flowers would not actually be there.

By the standards of almost any campaign, either of these moves would be bonkers: A presidential candidate inviting the former mistress of his rival’s husband to a debate, or the fact that he did so and then thought better of it and was forced to do a 180. By Trump standards, however, the whole episode elicited mostly weary shrugs: Seems about right.

The silver lining for the Clinton campaign in this is that the scrutiny on lowered expectations has produced a pervasive sense of panic among many Democrats—in turn lowering her own expectations, and perhaps helping to motivate them to turn out in her support.

What does this mean for a voter who wants to understand what goes on in the debate? There will be some strong analysis of the debate that doesn’t fall into these traps, but the important thing is to watch out for either candidate being graded on a curve, to spot it when it happens, and to account for it.

Polls Show Americans Want Moderators To Fact-Check During The Debates

  • A strong majority of Americans want the moderators of the presidential debates to fact-check the candidates, according to two new polls.
  • Media Matters has joined numerous journalists in calling on the presidential debate moderators to fact-check the candidates in real time to ensure that viewers are not left with a “he said-she said” version of the facts.
  • Trump and his team have pushed back against suggestions that the moderators should call out candidates when they don't tell the truth, with Trump saying, “I think that the candidates should police themselves.” Trump’s allies at Fox News have also claimed “it’s not the job” of moderators to fact-check candidates, with Wallace saying they should not serve as a “truth squad.”
  • According to a Monmouth University poll released today, “Most voters (60%) believe one of the duties of the moderators is to fact check candidates who state false information during the debates.
Media Matters for America / Media Matters | September 26, 2016, 2:19 pm