200 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Not Be President

According to many political commentators, there is simply no contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. While Clinton may be a flawed candidate, Donald Trump is, on the other hand, “manifestly unfit.” They bolster these claims with listicles of hundreds of supposedly disqualifying things that Trump has said or done throughout his time in public life. Keith Olbermann narrated a list of 176, the Clinton campaign came up with 126, and Slate compiled a list of 191. If you can name a hundred-odd reasons against Trump but only the email scandal and Benghazi against Clinton, then it would seem, mathematically speaking, that Clinton is by far the lesser of two evils.

But this is simply untrue. Not only has Clinton made an equal, if not greater number of errors, her errors are often magnitudes worse than anything Trump has ever said or tweeted.

Compare, for instance, their worst attempts at outreach to Hispanic communities. On Cinco de Mayo, Trump tweeted a picture of himself eating a taco bowl with the caption “I love Hispanics!” Slate, Olbermann, and the Clinton campaign all listed this as a disqualifying offense. How much more disqualifying, then, is Clinton’s involvement in the FALN clemency controversy? When Hillary Clinton was running for senator of New York, she received word that she could win over “strategic communities” if her husband offered clemency to a group of Puerto Rican nationalists imprisoned for terrorism. Sure enough, President Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 unrepentant FALN terrorists soon after. Though Hillary Clinton claimed to have had nothing to do with the decision, she supported it until public outcry shamed her into reversing her position. So on the one hand, you have a candidate who tweeted, “I love Hispanics!” and on the other, you have a candidate who supported and likely encouraged the commuted sentences of 16 radical Puerto Rican terrorists in order to win votes. These are not morally equivalent.

Time and again, Trump’s largely media-driven scandals have only underscored how much more profound the implications are for Clinton’s failings. Trump insulted a Gold Star family? Clinton is being sued by two Gold Star families for defamation of character. Trump claims he was against the Iraq War despite saying, “Yeah, I guess so,” on The Howard Stern Show? In 2008, Clinton claimed she was against the Iraq War despite voting for it. Trump wrote negative tweets about 258 people and organizations on Twitter? Clinton derided 40 million Americans as deplorable, irredeemable, and anti-American. The Trump Foundation gave a suspicious donation to a judge? The Clinton Foundation received donations from Saudi Arabia and Boeing as Hillary Clinton was approving a weapons deal of Boeing fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. These jets were used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians.

Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president of the United States. Here are 200 reasons why.

Foreign Policy

1. Called for military action in response to computer hacking

2. Defended an illegal coup in Honduras

3. Claimed it made no difference whether the Benghazi attacks were planned or spontaneous

4. Corrupted a Haitian presidential election

5. Advocated for intervention in Libya, which has since become a failed state

6. Pushed for Libyan intervention based on spurious intelligence

7. Presented a Russian foreign minister with a “reset” button, mislabeled with the Russian word for “overcharge”

8. Called for a no-fly zone over Syria—a tacit declaration of war

9. Legitimized the illegal Honduran coup by organizing elections immediately after

10. Advocated deporting thousands of child refugees, a third of whom were from Honduras

11. Gave military aid to Egypt despite its failure to meet democracy requirements

12. Criticized Obama for withdrawing troops from Iraq, but failed to negotiate an agreement that would have allowed them to do so

13. Sold weapons to Bahrain despite its human rights violations

14. Compared Russia to Nazi Germany

Racial insensitivity

Hillary Clinton...

15. Joked that Mahatma Gandhi ran a gas station in St. Louis

16. Participated in a racist joke about "C.P. Time"--the offensive stereotype that African Americans are frequently late

17. Imitated a “black” accent

18. Produced racially-charged ads against Obama in 2008

19. Asked, “Is it working?” when accused of pandering to the black community

20. Said to a black church on Martin Luther King Day, “The House of Representatives has been run like a plantation—and you know what I’m talking about.”

21. Said black men in hoodies are scary

22. Told Jewish political consultant Dick Morris, “All you people care about is money!”

23. Praised a KKK recruiter as a mentor and friend

24. Said she had experience with men who go “off the reservation”

25. Said Obama wasn’t a Muslim “as far as I know”

26. Told Black Lives Matter activists she would only talk to white people about racial issues

27. Used the racially charged term “super predators”

28. Employed Sidney Blumenthal, who stoked racially charged rumors about the Obamas during the 2008 campaign

29. Had staffers who leaked picture of Obama in a turban

30. Cited assassination as a reason she stayed in the race against Obama

31. Lobbied Congress to expand the drug war and mass incarceration, disproportionately affecting black and Latino populations

Cruelty

32. Yelled at a supporter for questioning her ties to oil companies

33. Accepted millions of dollars from InfoUSA, a company that helps scammers defraud the elderly

34. Tarred as “bimbos” the women who had spoken about their affairs with Bill

35. Called a Gold Star mother a liar

36. Laughed about Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s death

37. Laughed about defending a child rapist

38.  Derided a group of women who accused a senator of sexual harrassment

39. Removed a message from her website stating sexual assault survivors have the right to be believed

40. Told a voter skeptical of her policies, “Why don’t you go run for something then?”

41. Created a work environment so hostile that Secret Service agents reported it was punishment to be assigned to her detail

42. Called Monica Lewinsky a “narcissistic loony toon”

43. Said Edward Snowden should “face the music”

44. Forced military aides to wear business suits instead of their uniforms

45. Alleged to have given Bill Clinton a black eye

Greed

46. Took $28,000 worth of gifts given to the White House back to her home in Chappaqua

47. Accepted and solicited almost $200,000 worth of gifts between her election to Senate (Nov. 2000) and her swearing in (Jan. 2001)

48. Demanded first class tickets on Gulfstream 450s for her speaking appointments

49. Charged children $2,700 to ask her a question

50. Charged $10,000 for a family photo with her

51. Has a history of not tipping

52. Received an $8 million advance for Living History, despite senators only allowing themselves to collect “usual and customary” advances

53. Quoted as saying, “What the **** did we come here for? There’s no money here,” at campaign stop in upstate New York

54. Gave no credit to the ghostwriter of It Takes a Village, as had been agreed

55. Tried to stiff the ghostwriter out of her final $30,000 payment

56. Fundraised instead of visiting Louisiana flood victims

Divisiveness

57. Wondered whether a person could be both a Republican and a Christian

58. Called half of Donald Trump supporters irredeemably racist, sexist, and homophobic

59. Suggested the Donald Trump supporters who weren’t racists were misguided and poor

60. Blamed Republicans when gay activists interrupted Bill Clinton’s 50th birthday celebration

61. Listed Republicans among her enemies

62. Said Republicans don’t care about the Zika virus

63. Referred to those collecting welfare as “deadbeats”

64. Stereotyped stay-at-home moms

65. Blamed rumors of her husband’s affairs on a “vast right-wing conspiracy”

66. Said she felt sorry for ignorant Bernie Sanders supporters

67. Kept a list of political enemies

68. Refers to President Obama as “that man”

Corruption

69. Tapped major Clinton Foundation donor for nuclear security board

70. Approved the sale of 80 Boeing fighter jets to Saudi Arabia as the Clinton Foundation received money from Boeing and Saudi Arabia

71. Failed to disclose a $2.35 million donation from the head of a Russian uranium company while reviewing the sale of Uranium One to Russia

72. Exploited the Haitian earthquake to grant favors for powerful donors

73. Granted a meeting with the prince of Bahrain after he donated to the Clinton Foundation

74. Failed to disclose a $500,000 donation from the Algerian government as Algerian lobbyists were granted increased access

75. Approved drastic increases in U.S. arms sales for countries who had donated to the Clinton foundation

76. Failed to disclose millions of dollars in speaking fees from corporations in China, Qatar, and Korea

77. Was apparently unaware that her brothers received hundreds of thousands of dollars from criminals in exchange for President Clinton granting them pardons

78. Sold overnight stays in the Lincoln Bedroom

79. Granted meeting with Johnny Chung after he donated $50,000

80. Described as operating the White House like a subway turnstile: “You have to put in coins to open the gates.”

81. Suggested her daughter may stay on the board of the Clinton Foundation Board after the election

82. Told sources that she might keep Loretta Lynch as the Attorney General

83. Oversaw the State Department as it failed to account for $6 billion

84. Attended Donald Trump’s wedding after he donated to the Clinton Foundation

85. Made $100,000 from a $1,000 investment in cattle futures

86. Waited until the statute of limitations had passed before releasing tax returns that revealed the investment

87. Claimed she was able to pick the right cattle stocks simply by studying the Wall Street Journal

88. Admitted to using the guidance of men for whom her husband had granted political favors, raising questions of a quid pro quo relationship

89. Used 130 forged signatures on petition to get on ballot in Indiana

90. Gave $165 billion worth of arms sales to 20 nations who had donated to the Clinton Foundation

91. Involved in the dismissal of seven travel office employees to replace with friends

92. Supported her husband’s decision to pardon 16 unrepentant FALN terrorists in an effort to curry favor with the Puerto Rican population of New York

93. Frequently meets with billionaire donor George Soros

94. Skipped ethics training course

95. Hired Debbie Wasserman Schultz after she was revealed to have rigged the election against Bernie Sanders

96. Employs Huma Abedin as her top aide, a woman who was listed as an editor for a radical Islamic magazine and who left classified information in her car

97. Used White House dinners to court donors for her Senate run

98. Fired from Watergate investigation for ethics violations

99. Added longtime friend Sidney Blumenthal to the payroll of the Clinton Foundation, paying him $200,000 a year for part-time work

100. Named disgraced former senator Ken Salazar as her White House transition chair

Policy

101. Promised 200,000 jobs in upstate New York, lost 31,000

102. Spearheaded the disastrous health care effort of 1993

103. Dismissed the potentially devastating impact of her health care plan by saying, “I can’t be responsible for every under-capitalized entrepreneur in America.”

104. Ignored warnings that her health care plan wouldn’t work, claiming that critics were just “jealous” they weren’t in charge

105. Seeks to overturn the Citizens United ruling because it allowed a non-profit to produce an anti-Hillary documentary

106. Said she would put her husband in charge of the economy

107. Fought against a $0.62 minimum wage in Haiti

108. Promised to put coal miners out of business

109. Supports sanctuary cites

110. Plans to take 550 percent more Syrian refugees into the U.S.

111. Opposes D.C. vs. Heller gun ruling

112. Said businesses don’t create jobs

113. Promised to use executive orders on gun control and immigration

114. Led effort to regulate video games

Lies

115. Refused to say she would never lie to the American people

116. Claimed she did not know she was voting for war when she cast her vote for the Iraq War

117. Claimed she had never sent or received classified information from her private server

118. Claimed—under oath—that she had no role in the Travel Office firings

119. Claimed she never received a subpoena

120. Opposed TPP after publicly supporting it 45 times

121. Denounced NAFTA after being its champion

122. Voted for a bankruptcy bill she fought as First Lady and then denounced after she voted for it

123. Claimed she and Bill were “dead broke” when leaving the White House

124. Claimed an economist was a Republican in order to legitimize his claim that she would add millions of jobs to the economy

125. Claimed she worked with Republican Tom Delay in the Senate

126. Reneged on promise to disclose conflicts of interest between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation

127. Said her Chappaqua land deal had been legally approved by the Office of Government Ethics

128. Claimed Juanita Broaddrick’s accusation had been proven baseless

129. When asked, failed to tell the FBI she had been briefed on handling classified information

130. Claimed she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary

131. Claimed she helped bring peace to Northern Ireland

132. Claimed she landed under sniper fire in Bosnia

133. Claimed she helped human rights activist Harry Wu be released from prison

134. Reneged on promise to visit Louisiana flood victims at a later date

135. Dismissed Gennifer Flowers’ affair with Bill Clinton as a “whale of a tale”—after Clinton admitted the affair under oath

136. Claimed the VA scandal was not widespread

137. Claimed she had tried to join the Marines

138. Claimed she was the target of sexist attacks by men afraid she would take their position in law school

Email

139. Used an unauthorized and unsecured email account as Secretary of State

140. Had a private server installed in her basement

141. Financed the server with taxpayer cash

142. Sent and received classified information from private account

143. Exposed emails to hacking from foreign nations, as her server was less secure than a gmail account

144. Sent emails from 13 separate devices, while she claimed to have used only one

145. Brought her BlackBerry into secure areas of the State Department

146. Disposed of old devices with a hammer

147. Had certain emails shredded before turning the rest over to the State Department

148. Sent classified emails after leaving the State Department

149. Had lawyers without proper security clearance comb through emails

150. Withheld several thousand work-related emails from the FBI

151. Withheld several emails about the Benghazi attack

152. Had server wiped clean to delete all traces of emails

153. Lost archive of her emails in the mail

154. Blamed Colin Powell for her private email account

155. Was deemed “extremely careless” in handling classified information

156. Was deemed not “sophisticated enough” to understand classified markings

157. Did not know that materials marked “C” meant confidential

158. Did not know that discussion of drone strikes were classified

159. Compromised her account by clicking on a pornographic phishing link

160. Responded, “What, like, with a cloth?” when asked about wiping her server

161. Joked that she liked Snapchat because the photos delete themselves

162. Listed as an insider threat on an Army training presentation

163. Suggested she would not be criticized for her email use if she were a man

Health concerns

164. Collapsed at a 9/11 memorial

165. Suffered a severe coughing fit lasting several minutes

166. Evaded direct question about her health

167. Opened a pre-opened jar of pickles to prove she was healthy

168. Described as “often confused” by friend and aide Huma Abedin

169. Has had three blood clots since 1998

170. Fainted in 2005

171. Fainted in 2012 and sustained concussion

172. Suggested all questions about her health were conspiracy theories

Non-Transparency

173. Went 275 days without holding a press conference

174. Barred reporters from health care task force meetings, violating federal law

175. Coordinates with super PAC Correct the Record, which spends hundreds of thousands of dollars harassing Hillary detractors online

176. Cut off press conference when asked about a poll in which she was losing

177. Coordinated with Democrats in advance of the Benghazi hearing

178. Failed to release Wall Street speech transcripts

179. Locked away senior thesis for eight years

180. Fought “tooth and nail” to avoid sharing plane with press corps

181. Dismissed reporters’ questions and told them to try a cold chai

182. Ignored reporter asking question about ice cream

183. Told reporters to try some chocolate instead of asking her questions

184. Evaded reporter’s question by saying she was going to have pie instead

185. Banned a national pool reporter from attending her events

186. Keeps journalists corralled in a moving rope line

187. Fenced out reporters from fundraisers

188. Scrubbed reference to her role in the Hondoran coup from memoir

189. Shut off the millennium party to reporters, with press secretary Marsha Berry giving the excuse, “It’s closed because it’s closed.”

190. Had a campaign staffer who reportedly threatened the Laugh Factory over comedians making fun of her

191. Censored and suppressed release of The Path to 9-11, which exposed that President Bill Clinton had an opportunity to kill Osama bin Laden and didn’t take it

Miscellaneous

192. Called a psychic to the White House to help her commune with the spirits of Eleanor Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi

193. Suggested that the government fund fun camps for adults

194. Suggested that vaccines may cause autism

195. Claimed Vladimir Putin was the “godfather” of the alt-right

196. Believes aliens have visited earth

197. Made money from pollution

198. Consistently hours late for campaign events

199. Compared video games to lead poisoning

200. Defended Martha Stewart’s criminal acts by suggesting she was held to “another standard” because she was a woman

As Trump said at the debate, Clinton has a great deal of experience, but it's the wrong type of experience for our country. Clinton is simply unfit to be the leader the United States. 

Watch Live: Trump Speaks at Melbourne, Florida Rally

The Media: Clinton Won the Debate; American Voters (And Some Democrats): Disagreed...Trump Did Better

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough wondered if Donald Trump interrupting Hillary Clinton during the debate last night would impact him negatively with voters. Mika disagreed. It’s not 2000—and Trump isn’t Rick Lazio. Lazio, a former Republican congressman from New York, saw his Senate campaign disintegrate when he ventured into Clinton’s side of the debate stage in what many described as chauvinistic. It was a petition to ban soft money campaign money that Lazio wanted Clinton to sign.

“I think it’s a different ball game. I don’t really know where I am getting this, just my overall gut feeling from watching the entire debate; she [Clinton] was amazing—she was really good. I just think that he’s [Trump] going to do quite well out of this,” said Brzezinski.

Right now, the media is awash in Clinton won stories. She was calm, measured, knew the issues etc. It’s the same old game. Granted, I was like very much of the same opinion at the outset of the 2016 cycle, but Trump is the nominee—and he’s much better than Hillary.

Ed and I came to the conclusion that the debate was a draw. Clinton didn’t have a coughing fit, she didn’t collapse, and she showed that she had a pulse. Trump was able not to go abjectly insane and managed to talk for 90 minutes. Both sides didn’t fall off the cliff. Yes, Clinton has more detailed-oriented answers, but did that resonate with voters? She needs to yank those disaffected Democrats who have ventured into the third party camps, specifically Libertarian Gary Johnson - and she didn’t give them much of a reason to leave. Nothing moved. And that helps Trump more than Clinton.

Let’s go beyond the bubble. Salena Zito is one of the few journalists venturing into Trump land, talking to folks, and is casting a very different picture. For starters, there’s a lot of Democrats in the Rust Belt and Western Pennsylvania that are voting Trump. They’re voting for him because he promises to bring back jobs that were decimated by Clinton-era trade deals. He will put coal miners back to business. And he’s meeting with these people face-to-face. Clinton’s outreach with the rural wing of her party that the college-educated, urban-based elites that dot the Acela Corridor view with scorn was gutted when she said she was going to put coal miners out of business. Oh, but she has a $30 billion “I’m sorry I screwed you over” package to help these people. These folks don’t want new jobs. These communities work hard, pray hard, and play hard. They do not feel their lack of a college degree should relegate them to economic death—and Clinton’s agenda, and her Party, is nothing but that to these people. To them, Trump has their back; this election is more personal than ever.

Zito ventured into a bar filled with Undecideds and Democrats in Youngstown, Pennsylvania last night. While the media said that Clinton dominated, all they saw was a robotic Clinton that looked as if she couldn’t care less about them. Who offered zero policies to help them—and one who came off as smug. Another thing this crowd couldn’t stand was Hillary trying to take credit for her husband’s economic agenda:

Ken Reed sat down at the main bar of the Tin Lizzy tavern with two things in mind: to dig into the tavern’s oversize cheese steak, and watch the presidential debate.

[…]

Kady Letoksy, a paralegal by day, a waitress and bartender at night at the Tin Lizzy, sat beside him. At 28, she has never voted before, and she is now thinking it might be a good idea to start.

Letosky entered the evening undecided in a town that is heavily Democratic in registration. Her sister and father are on opposite sides of the political aisle. Donald “Trump had the upper hand this evening,” she said, citing his command of the back-and-forth between him and Hillary Clinton.

Reed, 35, is a registered Democrat and small businessman. “By the end of the debate, Clinton never said a thing to persuade me that she had anything to offer me or my family or my community,” he said…

[…]

“I am a small businessman, a farmer, come from a long line of farmers and coal miners. The policies she talked about tonight ultimately either hurt me or ignore me,” he said.

[…]

“I’ve been a Democrat all of my life, but when Clinton mentions her husband and the jobs he brought to the country in the ’90s, it’s not a fair assessment. She is no moderate Democrat the way he was, her policies would not bring back jobs,” said Nathan Nemick.

It burns Nemick when Clinton references her husband, like she did in the debate on trade and jobs. “She is nothing like him,” he said of the Democrat he admired in his youth.

Salena, who’s from the area, also noted the perilous electoral fallout from these reactions. Youngstown is located in Westmoreland County, a once Democratic stronghold that’s been chipped away thanks to National Democrats’ dismissive attitudes towards their rural brethren. The Obama administration’s merciless war on coal surely hasn’t helped prevent a rising Republican tide.

Still, Trump needs to inject steroids into his turnout operation (Philly and Pittsburgh turnout will be high), though Zito also mentioned that Clinton has to to win this county “by 2,000 more votes than Mitt Romney did in 2012.”

Cambria, Greene, Fayette, Washington, Bucks, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne and York counties are also on the must-win list for both camps. Yet, these Democratic voters, as Zito noted, are pro-gun, pro-life, and pro-coal, doubtful that they would join Clinton, especially with all of the other baggage that comes with her besides peddling an economic agenda that will bring more pain to their communities. The media may have seen a Clinton win through their criteria, but for the rest of the country—it appeared as if Trump had the advantage.

There were missed opportunities for Trump to attack the former first lady. I’m floored that Benghazi or the Clinton Foundation were never brought up and Clinton’s answers on those issues might have given more insight to how prepared Clinton was for this debate. Trump vows to go on the attack more next debate, but for these people, keep hammering home job creation, bad free trade deals, and rejuvenating coal communities…big league.

After 2014, I wondered if anyone stands up for middle America anymore? For these voters, they see Trump as their biggest champion.

Senate Dems Block Funding Bill, Shutdown Becoming More Eminent

The Senate failed to pass a short-term funding measure to pay for the government through December 9th. The floor vote for the GOP resolution resulted in a 45 to 55 split, with 60 votes needed for the measure to pass. The failure to pass a spending bill today puts the government at greater risk of another shutdown.

The issue at hand is aid to Flint, Michigan. Democrats argue that the spending measure must include Flint (the city reeling in a lead-poising water crises) financial aid to win their support. The bill currently includes emergency help for flood ravaged areas in Louisiana, West Virginia, and Maryland.

Republicans counter that the demand is unnecessary given Flint is already eligible for emergency financial aid via the Water Resources Development Act. GOP Senators are now mulling whether to exclude all flood aid entirely to take the issue off the table. Democrats are arguing that aid to the flood damaged states, and not any to Flint, is unjust.

The Senate vote today fell mostly on party lines, but a handful of Republicans voted against along with a few Democrats voting for the bill.

Congress has until October 1st to reach a compromise or Americans will be faced with another government shutdown.

Ratings Blowout: Trump/Clinton Clash Smashes Viewership Record

A record-setting performance was widely expected, with the biggest question mark being whether or not the final number would top 100 million -- which would approach Super Bowl territory. In the end, last night's presidential square-off drew a record audience, but fell shy of gaudy nine-figures predictions. History at Hofstra:

More than 80 million people tuned in to see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off, setting a new record in the sixty year history of televised presidential debates. The final numbers are still being tallied by Nielsen. But the debate averaged a total of 80.9 million viewers across 12 of the channels that carried it live. Nielsen traditionally measures viewers who watch via traditional TV at home. That means people who watched the debate at parties, bars, restaurants, and offices were not counted. Nor does the 80.9 million viewer total include PBS and C-SPAN. Ratings for PBS will be available later Tuesday. Many millions also watched the debate via the Internet. Various live streams on YouTube together registered more than 2.5 million simultaneous viewers. Live streams on other sites also reached millions of people. This means the actual total audience is significantly higher than 80 million.

With online viewing, PBS, CSPAN and watch parties factored in, I wouldn't be surprised if the actual total ended up north of 90 million. A monster number. No matter what happens in November, Donald Trump can forever boast of delivering yuge television ratings in both the GOP primary and the general election, having set records at both stages of the electoral cycle. And let's face it, last night's tune-in factor wasn't amped up because of overwhelming public curiosity about...Hillary Clinton.  But in the context of winning the election, does last night's massive audience help the GOP nominee?  If early snap polls are to believed, substantial majorities of viewers thought Hillary Clinton bested him over the 90 minute confrontation, suggesting that she probably did herself some good.  The potential silver lining for Trump is that it's very likely that the most eyeballs, paying the most attention, were focused on the early stages of the debate, during which he was most effective at driving home his message, before he started to come unglued.  So while the most people were watching, and were most focused on content, Trump held his ground.  But that's the best spin available to Team Trump.  As I've cautioned twice already today, we won't have a more accurate picture of last night's fallout until late this week or early next week.  I'll leave you with a small personal note.  On Bret Baier's panel the other night, we were asked to predict whether the ratings would come in above or below 100 million.  In the moment, I went with the group consensus, taking the "over."  But then I thought about it and revised my prediction:

In light of the result, my move looks tremendous.  The reasoning behind it that even though the stats were undoubtedly going to top those from 2012's (historically high) first debate, getting from an average of 67 million all the way up to 100 million is a big gap to close. And so it was. Also, considering that four major networks plus the cable networks, plus CSPAN and many millions of internet viewers added up to, say, 90 million people, that makes the previous record-holding debate all the more impressive. The Reagan/Carter 1980 debate drew 81 million viewers with far fewer outlets, and a smaller population. But it was the lone debate of that cycle, which cuts in the opposite direction. Parting thought: Ratings are going to decline for the October 9 "town hall"-style debate, right?

7 Afghan Military Students AWOL from US Training Facilities in September

Afghan military students are coming to America under the pretense that they will one day return to Afghanistan and defeat the Taliban, ISIS, and Al-Queda using U.S. tax payer funded training.  

There is only one problem. Once they get here, they somehow disappear.

Four students were considered absent without leave, or AWOL, from International Military Student programs over  Labor Day weekend, and three more during the September 17-18 weekend, Patrick L. Evans, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed to Fox News in an email.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, officials have since learned that at least two of the Afghans may have left the U.S. Their disappearance comes on the same weekend that Ahmad Khan Rahimi used improvised explosive devices to try and kill Americans.

This is not the first time that our government has dropped the ball.  The Department of Defense can still not account for one of the two Afghan men who disappeared from a base in Georgia last December.  

FDNY Chief Killed in Bronx Explosion Related to Marijuana Operation

Tragedy struck in the Bronx on Tuesday morning when the New York City Fire Department responded to reports of a gas leak. When they arrived at the house in question, they discovered it was linked to a marijuana-growth operation. When they were evacuating the house, an explosion went off. Flying debris hit and killed battalion chief Michael Fahy.

In a press conference, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offered some personal information on the fallen firefighter.

Chief Fahy, 44 years old, was a father of three children, ages 6, 8 and 11, Mr. de Blasio said. He was the son of a fire chief and an emerging leader in the department, said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. It is the department’s first death in the line of duty in two years, he said.

“He was on the rise. He was a star,” said Mr. Nigro. “We lost a hero today and our members are all saddened.”

Eight firefighters, six police officers, three Con Edison employees and two civilians were also injured in the accident.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fahy family and his fellow firefighters.

Jeb Bush to Become Guest Lecturer at Harvard

Jeb Bush has been finding more work since his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination. The former GOP contender will be serving as a guest lecturer at Harvard University for this semester.

Bush, being the founder of an education policy think-tank, will be putting his deep knowledge of the subject to use as he gives guest lectures to Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Program on Education Policy and Governance. His speaking role at the prestigious Cambridge, Massachusetts school will not be heavy – he’s currently expected to deliver just a few lectures for the fall semester.

Bush will be giving a lecture as early as this Thursday. He’s set to speak on ‘the lack of economic and social mobility in the United States and his ideas for addressing those challenges’ at Harvard’s annual Edwin L. Godkin Lecture.

Since suspending his campaign after losing the South Carolina primary, the former governor of Florida has kept a relatively low profile, but has made firm his opposition to Trump’s candidacy.

Former Miss Universe Insulted By Trump Tweets Thanks To Hillary

During Monday's debate, Hillary Clinton raised the issue of Donald Trump's treatment of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. Clinton alleged that Trump referred to "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping," a claim that Trump brushed off. (Machado is a Venezuelan native.)

Over to Twitter, Machado tweeted her thanks to Clinton for bringing her up during the debate, and reiterated her support for the candidate. Machado had recently became a U.S. citizen, and she plans to vote for Clinton.

UPDATE: Here's a video put out by the Clinton campaign detailing Machado's experience as Miss Universe.

False Alarm: Apparently Harambe Memes Are Still Legal At Clemson

Yesterday, I wrote about how Clemson, a public university in South Carolina, had apparently banned Harambe memes as they were racist and sexist and promoted rape culture. Fortunately, for both fans of Harambe as well as of the First Amendment, this appears to have been a false alarm: Harambe memes are here to stay.

An official from Clemson sent Eugene Volokh of Washington Post's The Volokh Conspiracy blog a statement saying that there are actually no anti-Harambe meme policies and that the original email was the opinion of one person, not the university as a whole.

Clemson University’s housing office sent this message Monday evening to students in one residence area who had been told incorrectly that they are not allowed to display references to Harambe:

Good Evening –

This email is meant to clarify some earlier communication you may have received as a member of the Shoeboxes community.

We are committed to creating an inclusive, safe living community where all residents feel comfortable in peacefully expressing differing points of view. Last week, a door posting with a meme was brought to the attention of our staff as its content made some feel uncomfortable. We also want all residents to feel they are able express their thoughts, opinions and ideas.

To that end, we want to clarify that building residents are able to post items on their individual doors.

Should you encounter any issue of concern please reach out to your RA or other hall staff members for assistance.

This is similar to the dust-up over at UMass Amherst when that school evidently banned Harambe memes due to concerns the "RIP Harambe" messages would be seen as threats to the similarly-named Harambee living community. As it turned out, there was no policy on the issue, and the controversy was blamed on two "well-meaning" RAs.

Still, the fact that we even have to discuss this is somewhat troubling. Harambe memes, are, for the most part, not threatening. They're silly jokes. A public university should not be banning them.

Trump Promises to Go After Clinton in Second Debate

The verdict is in: Donald Trump missed some major opportunities during last night's presidential debate to go after rival Hillary Clinton. He failed to mention Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation and when the Democrat nominee expressed concern about cyber hacking, he failed to mention her private, unsecured email server where she hosted top secret, classified information. 

Even Trump's most ardent supporters are acknowledging he could have done better and needs to prepare for the next round. 

Trump seems to be listening and is vowing to go after Clinton harder during the second debate on October 7.

Discussing his approach for their second debate next month, Trump said, “I may hit her harder in certain ways. I really eased up because I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.”

A growing sense among the Republican nominee’s team that the moderator glossed over Clinton’s weak spots could contribute to a tougher tone from Trump in their next encounter in October.

The next presidential debate is Sunday, October 9 at 9 p.m. eastern.

Overnight Polls: Debate Viewers Give Hillary Clear Win

Before you point to the Drudge poll, or the Time poll, or trending hashtags, or any number of other pro-Trump indictors, let's define a few terms. The most reliable sort of polling data comes from scientific polling that is conducted in the field for days, using a random, representative sample of the subject group. When it comes to last night's presidential debate, we won't have solid data on this level until late this week, at the earliest. The next rung down on the ladder are quasi-scientific snap polls, which attempt to replicate in-depth scientific polling, but over a much shorter time period. They are less accurate, but at least make a concerted effort to approximate best practices. Then there are focus groups, selected by public opinion experts and media organizations to be generally representative of the demographic they're seeking to test. When these panels of undecided voters are convened, their thoughts can be insightful, but biases like dominant personality-driven groupthink can disproportionately slant the outcome.

Finally, there are online polls, which are statistically meaningless. They might be an indicator of enthusiasm, but they do not reflect empirical reality. With those clarifications in place, Donald Trump is unsurprisingly dominating in the online polls, as his enthusiastic supporters flood websites to click 'Trump wins.' That reflects both the tenacity of Trump's online army, as well as the intensity edge that he enjoys over Hillary Clinton, according to multiple scientific polls -- which could have an impact in November. The two focus groups I've seen, as I briefly mentioned this morning, sided with Hillary as last night's victor. Here's Frank Luntz's group giving their reactions to the forum, splitting roughly three-to-one for Hillary. The critical and disappointed comments from Trump-curious participants probably represent the biggest red flag for him:

CNN's Florida group was even less forgiving, breaking lopsidedly for her. And that brings us to those semi-scientific, albeit rushed, instant polling. CNN's gave Clinton a very clear win, nearly on the level of Romney/Obama round one in 2012. That strikes me as an overstatement of last night's margin. She won, but not in a massive blowout. PPP, a Democratic pollster, found a significantly closer split, 51-40. And here's YouGov's data, aligning more closely with the CNN numbers:

YouGov's latest research shows that most people who watched last night's debate say that Hillary Clinton won it. 57% of Americans who watched the debate say that she won the debate, while 30% say that Donald Trump won the debate. 13% of viewers aren't sure who, exactly, came out on top. 83% of Democrats called it for Clinton, and 68% of Republicans said that Trump won. Among independents, however, sentiment clearly favors Hillary. 54% of independents who watched the debate say that Clinton won, compared to 28% who say that Trump won.

If you add up the "Trump won" faction with the undecideds, she still wins 54/43, which is pretty decisive. Click through for YouGov's internals, if you're interested -- which I'm not, given this style of polling.  I'm happy to wait until the next full round of proper scientific polling before rendering any confident judgment about the public opinion impact of the debate, but the meaningful early indicators confirm my analysis from last night: Hillary Clinton won the debate.  When you're complaining about the moderator (even if justifiably), and launching bizarre theories about your microphone, you probably didn't have a great night.  When your own surrogates aren't trying to pretend you won, you probably didn't have a great night.  And when you're proactively raising this 'oppo' hit -- unsolicited -- for some reason, you're probably not having a great morning after:

You can argue that this woman was required to maintain a certain weight under the terms of her contract, and that adults who participate in beauty pageants sign up with eyes open that their physical appearance will be under constant scrutiny.  You cannot credibly argue that "Miss Piggy" is a kind or respectful thing to call someone.  And it's impossible to defend the racial "Miss Housekeeping" moniker, which is probably why Trump avoided that element of this story when he brought it up on Fox & Friends today, perhaps prodded by Team Hillary's cringeworthy new web video:

Is he trying to expand his gender gap?  I'll leave you with this: Beware of MSM 'fact checks' tallying misstatements from last night. They choose which comments to rate, and which to ignore.  For instance, on this list from NBC News, Clinton's lame and dishonest email scandal doesn't even get a mention.  She said she made a "mistake" (Trump rightly noted that her actions were deliberate), vowed to make "no excuses" (she's done nothing but make excuses, almost all of them bald-faced lies), and took "responsibility," (laughable, given her comprehensive lack of accountability) at every single stage of this mess.  None of that shows up here:

Trump and Clinton Falsely Advocate to Regulate Guns Through Unaccountable Terror Watch Lists

During last night's presidential debate at Hofstra University, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump agreed on one thing: People on terror watch lists shouldn't be able to buy firearms in America. 

That sounds great. Nobody is advocating terrorists should have the right to purchase a firearm, but using the terror watch list as gun control is not only inefficient, it's unconstitutional.

The ACLU has repeatedly warned against using the terror watch and no fly lists as a way to regulate firearms. From a letter sent to Congress by the organization earlier this year: 

Our nation’s watchlisting system is error-prone and unreliable because it uses vague and overbroad criteria and secret evidence to place individuals on blacklists without a meaningful process to correct government error and clear their names.

The government contends that it can place Americans on the No Fly List who have never been charged let alone convicted of a crime, on the basis of prediction that they nevertheless pose a threat (which is undefined) of conduct that the government concedes “may or may not occur.” Criteria like these guarantee a high risk of error and it is imperative that the watchlisting system include due process safeguards—which it does not. In the context of the No Fly List, for example, the government refuses to provide even Americans who know they are on the List with the full reasons for the placement, the basis for those reasons, and a hearing before a neutral decision-maker.

The National Rifle Association is in agreement with the ACLU on this issue. 

"The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period.  Anyone on a terror watch list who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing," NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox said in June. "If an investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist.  At the same time, due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watch list to be removed.  That has been the position of Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) and a majority of the U.S. Senate.  Sadly, President Obama and his allies would prefer to play politics with this issue."

The terror watch lists and terror no fly lists are made up of nearly a million names with many belonging to Americans who have absolutely zero ties to terrorism. Your name could easily be on it.

Earlier this week, The Intercept published a 166-page document outlining the government’s guidelines for placing people on an expansive network of terror watch lists, including the no-fly list. In their report, Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux highlighted the extremely vague and loosely defined criteria developed by 19 federal agencies, supposedly to fight terrorism.

Using these criteria, government officials have secretly characterized an unknown number of individuals as threats or potential threats to national security. In 2013 alone, 468,749 watch-list nominations were submitted to the National Counterterrorism Center. It rejected only 1 percent of the recommendations.

While some individuals are surely placed on these watch lists for valid reasons, the murky language of the guidelines suggests that innocent people can get caught up in this web, too, and be subjected to the same possible restrictions on travel and other forms of monitoring.

Those who get put on the list, without an explanation from the government, have to spend millions of dollars and years of their life getting off. Take for example Stanford Professor Rahinah Ibrahim, who was on the list for eight years before finally forcing the government to remove her

In 2005, Rahinah Ibrahim, a Malaysian architecture professor and doctoral candidate at Stanford University, went to San Francisco International Airport where she was told that she couldn't board an airplane.

Her name was on a government no-fly list of suspected terrorists.

Eight years of court battles later, a federal judge agreed that Ibrahim didn't belong on the list.

The FBI ultimately acknowledged that she ended up on there because an agent investigating her had checked the wrong box on a form, said her attorney, Elizabeth Pipkin.

Chillingly, the U.S. Justice Department never disclosed why Ibrahim was being investigated in the first place.

Ibrahim became the first and only person to be removed from the no-fly list by the courts, but Pipkin said it took “eight years and $4 million of pro bono attorney work to accomplish that feat."

I'll leave you with what I've written before when President Obama has advocated for using the terror watch and no fly lists for gun control.

The terrorism watch list has been an inefficient, often times lazy way for the feds to harvest names and it has expanded rapidly under Obama with little results to show for it. What we really should be doing is profiling and asking a series of detailed questions to those traveling to the United States from terrorism hot spots around the world. Why were you in Syria? Why did you pass through Greece? What were your purposes in those countries? Who did you meet with? Did you receive any gifts? Who did you travel with? Why did you travel alone on the way there but are traveling with a partner on your way back? Etc.

Do we want terrorists buying guns legally at gun stores in America? No. Do we want the rights of Americans with zero connection to terrorist groups, who have been placed on the no fly list, to be stripped of their constitutional rights? Hell no. 

If Congress or President Obama want to truly prevent actual terrorists from legally obtaining firearms, they're going to have to reform the way we classify and put people on the ever expanding no-fly "terrorism" watch list. in the meantime, the administration should accept that gun control for terrorists is a laughable concept. In France, where 130 people were slaughtered by ISIS three weeks ago, AK-47s (along with grenades and suicide vests) are completely banned from purchase. 

The bottom line is this: Terrorists who want to do harm will find ways, even in countries with extreme gun control, to get the guns they want to carry out attacks. In America, innocent people want the ability to arm themselves against terrorists who plan to do so and the administration is trying to make it harder for them to engage this capability.

Ted Cruz: Yeah, I'll Help Donald With Debate Prep, And Let Me Tell You Again Why I Endorsed Trump

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was on The Hugh Hewitt Show earlier today, where the former presidential contender offered his thoughts about the debate and explained his endorsement of Donald Trump that caused some friction among conservatives. Cruz also said that he would certainly help Trump with debate preparation if they asked him to do so—on top of helping Republicans down ticket with their races as well:

Hugh Hewitt: This threat to the 2nd Amendment, the overturning of Heller, the threat to the 10th Amendment and the overturning of all federalism jurisprudence of which Justice Kennedy is a part. All of that goes out, and the expansion of the regulatory state is unchecked and it’s exponential in its growth. Given that, will you be out campaigning for Donald Trump? And if they ask you to help with debate prep, would you do so?

Ted Cruz: I am happy to help. I have conveyed that to them. I will do whatever I can to defeat Hillary Clinton. My heavy focus this cycle, in addition to defeating Hillary, is on preserving a Republican majority in the Senate, and I am working hard to help my colleagues get reelected. I’m working hard to raise money for them, to help turn out conservatives in their state. And then I’m also working hard in the state of Texas to turn out conservatives, because if conservatives stay home this cycle, we could see really bad results on down ticket ballots, on judicial races, on state rep races. I don’t want to see that happen. So I’m going to do everything I can to urge conservatives to come out and vote, even if they may not be thrilled at the candidates on the ballot. I’m urging them to come out and vote anyway, because the consequences of staying home, I think, are really quite significant.

Yet, this hasn’t been an easy road for Cruz. First, he was utterly eviscerated when he refused to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention. Now, he’s reemerged from the bunker to endorse Trump. What happened? That seems to be what was on now-ex-Cruz supporter Glenn Beck’s mind with this prolonged interview with the Texas senator yesterday, which Guy described as “messy.” Beck had endorsed Cruz during the 2016 primaries, but went on to apologize to his viewers, saying it’s his fault that he feels that men can be George Washington in today’s era of politics. He also said he probably should have endorsed Marco Rubio, despite his disagreements with him on immigration. Like on Beck, Cruz told Hewitt that Trump’s getting serious in the Supreme Court was the thing that was able to move him. Oh, and how his endorsement wasn’t political or anything of that nature. Cruz then gave a very, very long explanation of how this wasn’t political:

Ted Cruz: You know, I don’t know. I will say the questions didn’t naturally lend themselves to it. You and I would both have loved to have seen a much more direct discussion of the Supreme Court, of the Constitution, of the Bill of Rights. I think to some extent, the moderator can be faulted for that, and that was just not the direction the conversation was going. But to my mind, that is one of the biggest, if not the biggest distinction between the two candidates. And as you know, the developments last week were a major reason why I made the decision to vote for Trump in November, because on Friday, he put out a list of 21 judges, and a couple of important things. One, as you noted, he put my friend and colleague, Mike Lee, at the top of the list. Senator Mike Lee, I think, would make an extraordinary Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia. But secondly, and this was the most important part of the list, and much of the media missed this, when he put it out, he explicitly committed that the only people he would consider are the 21 names on the list. Previously, they had put out a list of 11 names, but there had been no commitment other than these are among the people we will look at. On Friday, they locked themselves in and said these 21 are the only ones up for consideration. That was a major new development, and it was a major new development exactly along the lines of what I had urged in Cleveland, which is that I wanted to see our nominee defend freedom, defend the Constitution, and the Supreme Court is going to be right at the crossroads of determining whether the Bill of Rights remains vibrant in protecting our liberties, or whether it is rendered a dead letter by a Hillary Clinton judicial activist Court.

Hugh Hewitt: Now Senator Cruz, I want to spend a moment on this, because I was on the Meet the Press panel on Sunday defending your endorsement, and arguing you made it because of that very reason, with some pushback from Mike Murphy, among others, with whom you have battled in the past, I have to note for the record, that oh, no, this is a primary challenge. Ted Cruz is worried about Mike McCaul, Rick Perry, you name it. and I just, I don’t think you’re vulnerable. So how do you respond to that?

Ted Cruz: Well, it is not surprising that there are a bunch of people throwing rocks, and I would note that the people who are throwing rocks are by and large people who have hated the fact that I have stood up to Washington and the Senate since I have been elected. They have hated that I’ve taken on leadership and have been willing to lead the fight against Obamacare, willing to lead the fight against the debt ceiling, willing to lead the fight against amnesty. And when you have liberal Republicans who don’t want to see conservatives doing that, their natural fallback, and the fallback of many of the mainstream media, is anytime you’re fighting for conservative principles, they accuse you of being just political. That’s just what they say. They say oh, this is just politics. This is political. You know, the Wall Street Journal had an editorial where they said oh, it must be political. What inevitably happens is the Washington establishment accuses anyone who stands up to them of doing what they in fact are doing. Here’s the simple reality. If I were being political, I would have endorsed Donald Trump back in Cleveland at the convention. That was the obvious political thing to do. If the goal were political, that’s the easy decision. It’s why almost every other elected official did so. You know, you can have lots of criticisms about me. Some people say that I fight and stick too hard to my principles and am not willing enough to compromise. That’s a fair criticism. We can have a discussion about when compromise is appropriate and when it’s not. But the reason I stood my ground in Cleveland is actually the exact same reason I made the decision on Friday, which is that I believe every voter should follow your conscience and do not stay home. Come out and vote up and down the ticket for candidates you trust to defend freedom and defend the Constitution. And I hoped in Cleveland to help push our candidate, push our nominee to the right, to embrace freedom, to embrace the Constitution, because I think that’s the only way we win. And in the weeks and months since Cleveland, I had been urging the Trump campaign repeatedly to give more specificity, especially on the Supreme Court. And so about three weeks ago when I sat down with Mike Pence, and we had a conversation about what it would take for me to come on board, that was the major issue I stressed, was the Supreme Court. Every one of our rights, whether it’s the 2nd Amendment, whether it’s religious liberty, whether it’s free speech, we’re one vote away from losing it. And for me, at least, I wanted to see greater specificity, a greater degree of comfort, that Justice Scalia’s replacement and the subsequent justices would be principled Constitutionalists. You and I both know many of the people on that list of 21. It is a terrific list, and the commitment on Friday they made that they would only nominate from that list, to me, was a big deal, and that was enough to move me over to a yes. Also, because by any measure, Hillary would be a disaster, and at this point, it is abundantly clear the election’s a binary choice. Either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is going to be president. So if you don’t want Hillary, and I am very much in the Never Hillary camp, the only choice that can beat Hillary is Donald Trump.

You know these things that Cruz said about Trump were still true during the convention, especially the notion that the billionaire is much better than Clinton. Also, Beck pointed out to Cruz that he seems to be blending or confusing voting your conscience with it’s now a binary choice in the sense that Trump is the only person that can beat Hillary. Voting your conscience, to Beck, means that someone is incapable of giving their vote to any of these candidates. Cruz obviously disagreed. As for the Supreme Court talk, Guy said, “the 'Mike Lee/SCOTUS' fig leaf is preposterous on its face.” Ted wasted a lot of airtime to explain how his political endorsement of Trump is somehow not political and calculating. In fact, and Guy mentioned this in his Beck post, Allahpundit aptly noted that Cruz’s entire political career has been one long calculation. In this case, it’s a recalculation:

You heard Ted Cruz calculate for the first time today? Ted Cruz? Cruz’s entire career has been a calculation, and I say that as someone who voted for him this spring. He became a populist outsider running against Washington only after his attempt to join the establishment failed. He staged his ObamaCare filibuster in 2013 with no hope of stopping the law from being implemented but knowing that it would be great for his insurrectionist brand in the 2016 primaries. During the Gang of Eight debate, he offered an amendment that would have expanded guest workers while removing the path to citizenship knowing that that would let him argue the amendment both ways during his presidential run. During the GOP primaries, he’d claim it was a poison pill to sink the bill; during the general election, had he made it that far, he’d be pointing to the guest-workers part as proof that he’s not a radical restrictionist. Cruz dodged questions on legalizing illegals literally for years, in fact, until pressure from Trump finally forced him to rule it out late last year.

His “bromance” with Trump was itself a giant calculation designed to build goodwill among Trump’s populist voters in hopes that Cruz would inherit them once Trump collapsed. Then he made his boldest calculation yet at the convention, betting that a non-endorsement would make him look good after Trump inevitably melted down on the trail this fall and ended up being crushed by Clinton. Now that that hasn’t panned out, he’s re-calculating and reluctantly endorsing him so as not to be blamed for a narrow Trump defeat (or frozen out by the White House next year if Trump pulls off the upset). All he does is calculate, and his calculations are always to his personal political advantage.

Watch Live: Clinton Holds Rally in Raleigh, North Carolina

Michael Moore To Liberals: Quit Dancing In The End-Zone, Trump Won The Debate

Trump got rolled, he choked, and Clinton won in a landslide. That’s the prevailing narrative from last night’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I tend to think last night was a draw, as both sides didn’t fall off the cliff. But if there’s someone who truly felt that Donald won the debate last night (and is slated to win the election), it comes from a most unlikely source: left wing activists and filmmaker Michael Moore.

Moore took to social media, tweeting to Clinton supporters to stop dancing in the end zone during the debate last night since Trump was going to win. While telling his fellow liberal comrades they better get used to a Trump win tonight, he also said that now is the time to do something to try and stop Trump from winning the election, even reaching out to Bernie Sander supporters who are fence sitting between voting for Clinton, staying home, or maybe even voting for Trump.

Moore has been saying Trump would win this election for quite some time, noting the issues surrounding Hillary (her appalling favorability numbers), Trump’s appeal to white voters and the Rust Belt, and Clinton’s inability to excite the base. For Moore, her vote to authorize the Iraq War was the last straw, though he said that he would cast a ballot for her to stop Trump. Here’s what he said to Bill Maher on his show during the Republican National Convention (via Real Clear Politics):

I'm sorry to be the buzzkill here," he said. "But I think Trump is going to win. I'm sorry."

"I lived in Michigan, an let me tell you. It's gonna be the Brexit strategy. The middle of England is Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Mitt Romney lost by 64 electoral votes. The total number of electoral votes in those states in the rust belt, 64. All he has to do is win those four states. I was there during the primary, he went down and said they moved this factory down to Mexico, I'm putting a tariff on the cars, and it was music to peoples' ears," he added.

"And more people in the primary in Michigan voted Republican than Democrat this year. That should be a disturbing thing for everyone."

He again made this known during the veepstakes, where he lamented that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) does nothing for the Democratic ticket, whereas Pence is a solid social conservative, which was needed to balance Trump’s past social liberalism, and it excited the base.

Another thing that is music to people’s ears in the Rust Belt is bashing NAFTA, which Trump did for the first 30 minutes of the debate. How many people tuned out is another story, though Moore’s assessment of last night’s debate shows that politics can sometimes make for strange bedfellows.

(H/T The Hill)

State Department Fails to Produce Court Documents Because File Exceeded Bandwidth Limit

The State Department is still having an issue with emails. A court ordered the agency to provide documents to the Daily Caller News Foundation by Monday night, but a technical snafu caused them to miss the deadline. The file, the department explained, was just too big.

The size of the file attached to the email, however, exceeded the maximum file size allowed for the mobile device used by counsel for State, and thus transmission of the email did not complete.

SeeExhibit B. Counsel for State was unaware of this fact until this morning, September 27, 2016.

State sent a follow-up email at 7:45 a.m. Tuesday with the documents, along with an apology.

The Daily Caller had asked for documents to help with their investigation into whether Hillary Clinton and her staff took part in security training. In her interview with the FBI over the summer, Clinton said she didn’t remember if she had or not.

Her mishandling of classified information on a private server suggests one of three things: One, she didn’t receive briefings. Two, she did receiving training and, like she said, forgot it. Three, she received training and ignored it.

The Hill notes that this is an “embarrassing” headline for the State Department. The court ordered the next releases for Oct. 3 and Oct. 10.

Did Homicides Rise In New York? Yes And No

It’s the battle of the fact checkers. Who is right about crime in New York City? It became a point of contention between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton last night concerning the constitutionality of stop and frisk, which the Republican nominee said had an impact in reducing crime in the city when things were out of control for about a quarter century, most notably the insane amount of homicides that occurred in the early 1990s. Clinton responded by saying that stop and frisk is no more in the city under Bill de Blasio and that crime, including murders, have continued to drop. Trump interjected by simply saying “wrong,” but who’s right?

DONALD TRUMP: …In New York City, stop and risk, we had 2,200 murders and stop and frisk brought it down to 500 murders. Five hundred murders is a lot of murders. Hard to believe 500 is like supposed to be good? But we went from 2,200 to 500 and it was continued on by Mayor Bloomberg. And it was terminated by our current mayor. But stop and frisk had a tremendous impact on the safety of New York City, tremendous beyond belief, so when you say it has no impact, it really did. It had a very big impact.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, it's also fair to say, if we’re going to talk about mayors that under the current mayor crime has continued to drop, including murders. So there is-

DONALD TRUMP: You're wrong.

HILLARY CLINTON: No, I'm not.

DONALD TRUMP: Murders, murders are up.

CNN says one thing in their tweet and another thing in their fact check, calling Trump’s claim “true but misleading.” In fact, the CNN fact check really isn’t a fact check; it’s more of a chastisement [emphasis mine]:

The FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report, published hours before the debate, also showed a nationwide increase in murders for 2015. Perhaps Trump pored over the FBI report during debate prep or maybe he really does feel unsafe in the caverns of the Upper East Side. At the very least, as a salesman whose businesses rely on revenue from tourists, Trump should be a bit more measured discussing crime in New York, portray the nuance in the numbers and show some pride in his birthplace.

We rate this claim to be true, but misleading, because Trump seemingly only cited one data set and failed to acknowledge the NYPD's statistics, which indicate a downward trend.

National Public Radio’s Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson simply wrote, “Homicides in New York remain low relative to the 1980s and 1990s, according to FBI data and the Brennan Center for Justice.”

In truth, this is actually a mixed bag. If you look at the 2015 numbers, homicides, rape and robbery did spike (via WSJ):

…while crime in the city continued its historic downward trend, led largely by a drop in burglaries and stolen vehicles, three of the most serious crimes rose in 2015: homicides were up 5.1%, rapes 6.3% and robberies 2.1%. Also, crime increased in two of the city’s five boroughs: Manhattan and the Bronx.

Politico had a post about the 2015 and 2016 homicide numbers so far, showing just 252 murders through September 25, a 5.3 percent decline from the same time last year. Yet, in August, it appeared to be a 23 jump in violent crime within the city’s parks over a nine-month period (via NBC NY):

The comparison, which covered more than 1,100 city parks, showed cases of rape increased 40 percent, felony assaults jumped 34 percent and robberies spiked 15 percent. Murders were up 200 percent, from two to six. In total, 417 people reported being the victims of violent crimes compared to 340 in the prior nine months.

“It’s pretty shocking,” says Geoffrey Croft, president of New York Parks Advocates. “A 23-percent rise in violent crime is very serious and the fact that more than one person a day is reporting being a victim of violent crime is very serious.”

So, maybe Trump should’ve cited the NYPD data, or maybe he should stay focused on his national narrative, which is that violent crime, including homicides, has risen, which was confirmed by the FBI last night (via WaPo):

Homicides in the United States went up by more than 10 percent in 2015 over the year before, while violent crime increased by nearly 4 percent in the same period, according to new statistics released Monday by the FBI.

All told, the country reported its highest estimated violent crime rate in three years, and while these numbers are far below those seen one or two decades earlier, they mark a sharp increase following two years of declines, the FBI’s summary of crime figures showed.

The long-awaited FBI report was released amid heightened scrutiny of violent crime in the United States, propelled by an increase in homicides in a number of major cities and repeated comments from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“The report shows that there was an overall increase in violent crime last year, making clear what each of us already knows: that we still have so much work to do,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said Monday in Little Rock. “Violent crime endangers lives, destroys families and paralyzes neighborhoods … In some ways, violence affects all of us — and so all of us have a responsibility to end it.”

Now, Trump was specifically talking about New York—so he had little wiggle room to expound on the national implications of the FBI report, which would’ve vindicated his narrative about crime in the country. Are homicides down in New York? It appears to be on the downward trend; though it’s possible Trump was citing the 2015 numbers. There are many areas to find spike in crime in the Big Apple. The truth is this trip up will be forgotten as Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation, and Clinton’s email fiasco will probably dominate the discussion—and Trump should double his efforts next debate to bring up those three points, especially on the emails. Clinton’s feeble response to that were only a few sentences. Follow up on that. In the meantime, Trump should keep in mind the NYC data, thank our brave police officers to keeping law and order, and then pivot to the national picture, where homicides did rise 10 percent last year.

LeBron James: "Standing for the National Anthem is Something I Will Do, That's Who I Am"

With the 2016-17 NBA season just a month away, rumors are spreading that significant amounts of players will remain seated during the national anthem to protest the recent tensions between police and black communities.

Reigning champion and 12-time all-star LeBron James made it clear to reporters on Monday that he would not partake in these types of protests.  

"Me standing for the national anthem is something I will do," James said at the annual media day. "That's who I am. That's what I believe in."

James did admit that he was worried about race relations in America, at times fearing for his 12-year-old son's life.

"For me, my personal feelings is that I got a 12-year-old son, a 9-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter, and I look at my son being four years removed from driving his own car and being able to leave the house on his own, and it's a scary thought right now to think if my son gets pulled over," James said. "You tell your kids if you just apply [the lessons you teach them] and if you just listen to the police that they will be respectful and it will work itself out. And you see these videos that continue to come out, and it's a scary-ass situation that if my son calls me and says that he's been pulled over that I'm not that confident that things are going to go well and my son is going to return home. And my son just started the sixth grade."

He admitted that finding the perfect answers to the complex situation will not be easy.  He said all lives matter, not just black or white.

"We just wanted the conversation to continue to keep going, and I don't have the answer," James said. "None of us have the answer. But the more times that we can talk about it and the more times that we can [converse] about it [the better]. Because I'm not up here saying that all police are bad, because they're not. I'm not up here saying all kids are great or all adults are great, because they're not. But at the same time, all lives do matter. It's not just black or white, it's not that. It's everyone."

Yes, Clinton Said The Trans-Pacific Partnership Was The 'Gold Standard' Of Trade Agreements

During their first debate face-off, Donald Trump hit Hillary Clinton over her support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Trump slammed the former first lady, who originally supported the massive free trade agreement, for calling it the “gold standard” of trade agreements. The issue of trade provided Trump with a window to launch the first significant attack against her last night—and yes, Clinton did describe TPP as such. Clinton tried to wiggle her way out of this endorsement of a trade agreement the Trump says will bring about the death knell to American manufacturing. 

DONALD TRUMP: You called it the gold standard. You call it the gold standard of trade deals.

HILLARY CLINTON: You know what --

DONALD TRUMP: You said it’s the finest deal you’ve ever seen.

HILLARY CLINTON: No.

DONALD TRUMP: And then you heard what I said about it and all of a sudden you were against it.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts. The facts are, I did say, I hoped it would be a good deal. But when it was negotiated, which I was not possible for, I concluded it wasn't. I wrote about that -- in my….

DONALD TRUMP: So is it President Obama’s fault?

HILLARY CLINTON: ...before you even announced.

DONALD TRUMP: Secretary, is it President Obama’s fault?

National Public Radio and The Association Press also said that Clinton referred to the trade agreements as the “gold standard” before Democratic opposition began to rise against it, namely from her then-primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT):

HILLARY CLINTON, denying Donald Trump's accusation that she called the Trans-Pacific Partnership the "gold standard" of trade agreements: "I did say I hoped it would be a good deal."

THE FACTS: Trump is correct. As secretary of state, Clinton called the deal that was taking shape the "gold standard" of trade agreements, in a 2012 trip to Australia, and championed the agreement in other venues around the world. She did not merely express the hope that it would turn out well.

Sounds like a flip-flop to me; one of many from Mrs. Clinton by the way.

Thomas Edison Was Just Inducted Into Congress—And He's Got Some Interesting Colleagues

Last week, a new statue was added to National Statuary Hall, that of scientist and inventor Thomas Edison. The statue was a gift from Ohio. Each state is allowed to donate two statues, meaning the collection consist of 100 pieces. Because of space issues, only 35 statues are actually located in National Statuary Hall, including Edison. The rest are on display throughout the U.S. Capitol building. Here are some of the most interesting faces to look out for. 

John Gorrie

Dedicated by Florida in 1914 

Located in National Statuary Hall

Gorrie, a physician and scientist, is considered the father of two very important inventions—refrigeration and air-conditioning.

Crawford W. Long

Dedicated by Georgia in 1926

Located in the Crypt

Long was the first to recognize the effects of ether in surgery. In other words, he discovered anesthesia. 

King Kamehameha I

Dedicated by Hawaii in 1969

Located in Emancipation Hall

Kamehameha I is credited with unifying all of the islands of Hawaii. His statue is also the heaviest in the collection and weighs over six tons. That’s quite a lot of rock and metal. 

Jeannette Rankin

Dedicated by Montana in 1985

Located in Emancipation Hall

Rankin was the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, specifically the House of Representatives. She also helped pass the 19th Amendment. Despite all this, she wasn’t the first woman statue in the National Statuary Collection. That honor belongs to Frances Willard, who was dedicated in 1905 by Illinois. 

Philo T. Farnsworth

Dedicated by Utah in 1990

Located in Emancipation Hall

Farnsworth is known as the “Father of Television,” for his invention of the first fully functional all-electronic television system, which included an "image dissector,” or what we would call a video camera tube. 

Washakie

Dedicated by Wyoming in 2000

Located in Emancipation Hall

Washakie is one of the most respected leaders in Native American history, and is the only known Native American to be given a full military funeral. Despite this, Sequoyah, not Washakie, received the first statue in the collection to honor a Native American. The Sequoyah statue was donated by Oklahoma in 1917. 

Dr. Norman E. Borlaug

Dedicated by Iowa in 2014

Located in National Statuary Hall

Borlaug is know as "the father of the Green Revolution” for his efforts to feed the world. He is credited with savings hundreds of million of lives, and has earned several awards for his work, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. 

You can also see quite a few presidential faces throughout the Capitol, including George Washington, Andrew Jackson, James Garfield, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald R. Ford, and Ronald Reagan

A complete list of the National Statuary Hall collection can be found here


Why Lester Holt Is Being Called the 'Third Debater'

In Townhall's initial assessment, some of us concluded Lester Holt was a fair and neutral presence in Monday night's showdown between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Other viewers, however, did not see it that way and make some good points.

Trump-friendly audiences were not happy that Holt spent countless minutes asking the GOP nominee about the birther controversy, his tax returns, and his past comments about women. The moderator also interrupted Trump more often (although that may be because Trump exceeded his time more often) and saved his only fact checks for Trump's answers on the Iraq War. This explains why Heat Street dubbed Holt the "Third Debater." 

Twitter agreed.

It's also worth noting what Holt did not ask. The GOP found an important list of topics Holt managed to avoid at the debate that would have put Clinton on her toes. They provided the list in a press release on Tuesday.

1: The 5 Aides Given Immunity By The FBI Or Her Reckless Secret Server

#2: The Multiple False Statements About How Her “Extremely Careless” Actions Endangered Our National Security

#3: Her “Basket Of Deplorables” Insult Toward Millions of Americans

#4: Clinton Foundation Pay To Play Accusations

#5: Her Failures And Lies On The Attacks In  Benghazi

#6: Her Support For Obamacare

#7: Her Deep Support From And Ties To Wall Street

#8: Veterans Affairs Scandal She Arrogantly Called “Not Widespread”

#9: Her Comments About Wanting To Put The Coal Industry Out Of Work

#10: Her Deception And Lack Of Transparency On Her Health

Will Clinton be forced to answer these questions in the following debates? Or will it be up to Trump to bring them up?

'Clock Boy' Family Suing Fox News for Defamation

The father of Ahmed Mohamed, better known as "clock boy," is suing Fox News and a number of conservative outlets and media figures for defamation. Ahmed, who is Muslim, made news last year when he built a clock for one of his teachers and the teacher mistook it for a bomb. She reported him and he was promptly arrested. The incident made him a national figure and generated sympathy for Muslims living in the country. He was even invited to the White House.

Some media outlets, however, were critical of the Mohamed family and accused them of manufacturing the incident. Conservative author Ben Shapiro claimed in October the clock incident was all a "hoax." 

Now, Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Mohamed, is suing Shapiro, along with Fox News, The Blaze, Glenn Beck, Center for Security Policy, and media personalities Ben Ferguson and Beth Van Duyne.

"The Mohamed family are peaceful Muslims who have been falsely accused of being terrorists and engaging in a jihad," the suit states. "The correction must also be made that the arrest and suspension of Ahmed Mohamed was not a stunt and it was not pre-planned, staged or engineered by anyone, including [his father]."

Analysis: Trump Opens Strong, Then Takes the Bait and Blows Opportunities

Thoughts on last night:

(1) On policy substance -- ideology aside -- Hillary Clinton was more informed and prepared than Donald Trump by a wide margin, as expected. She also remained mostly cool and collected, even as the debate threatened to veer off the rails on several occasions. She was smug, rehearsed and pedantic at times, and exhibited some breathtaking hypocrisy (yes, let's hear some more about the importance of data securityMadame Email Scandal), but my instinct is that she won this exchange overall. She did so over the last hour-plus of the debate, pulling away after Trump held his own early. He may have been a little heavy on the interruption over that opening stretch for someone with a temperament problem, but he hit his central themes hard and pretty effectively. When Clinton went on offense over tax returns, the federal race discrimination lawsuit against Trump's company and birtherism, his responses were woefully insufficient (despite some flashes of decent parrying, like highlighting her deleted emails, and noting her 2008 campaign's scurrilous anti-Obama tactics). She won because she baited him, and he took the bait every time, missing far too many chances to land obvious thematic and specific counter-punches -- on emails, on the Clinton Foundation, on Benghazi.  Rarely did he put her on the defensive, which isn't especially hard to do.  His lack of focused preparation was, once again, quite clear.

(2) Poor debate performances, temper flare-ups, and manifest ignorance occasionally dented Trump during the primary, but he always prevailed in the end. My instinct is that this night hurt him and helped her.  But my instinct also told me more than a year ago that he was an unserious candidate with no chance, which was wrong (and quickly abandoned as a working theory last summer). We will not have any solid grasp on how the public felt about this debate until a full round of solid, scientific polling is conducting, which will take several days. In the meantime, here is what CBS News' focus group concluded:

After impressing in the early stages, some of his worst moments with this panel of undecided Pennsylvania voters involved Birtherismtax returns and temperament. Did he come across as a plausible president for 90 minutes? We'll see what the voters say. I have my doubts. Then again, I'm not convinced his performance was as disastrous as many talking heads are already saying. As Trump pointed out several times over the course of the night, Mrs. Clinton has prosecuted many of these lines of attack against him in a massive bombardment of paid advertising, spread over many weeks. Her standing has fallen. Did swing voters learn anything negative tonight that they didn't already know? If Trump takes a polling hit, and he might, it'll be because he failed the plausibility test among people who've been giving him a chance so far.

(3) The debate over the moderator began before the evening concluded. Lester Holt did a fine job for most of the evening, not intervening too often, and using a light touch to allow the candidates engage each other. Some Trump supporters and surrogates believe his tougher questions and challenges were directed at their man, and not Hillary Clinton. They're right. On Birtherism (a legitimate question on which Trump did himself no favors), on his withholding of tax returns, on his Iraq war record, on 'say it to her face,' and even on the 'will you respect the election's outcome?' question, the sharper push-back and skeptical premises all went in one direction. Off the top of my head, I can't recall a single question slanted against her statements or record. I won't be surprised if voters at the town hall-style debate prod her with harder questions than Holt did.  So while he wasn't horribly biased, it seems clear that Holt took note of the Left's over-the-top outcry against his NBC colleague Matt Lauer, and overcompensated.  Working the refs works.  For Democrats.

(4) I saw a fair amount of this type of analysis immediately after the debate, and I think it's wrong:

That would be true of a conventional candidate in a conventional year. But this is Donald Trump and we're living through 2016. Trump personally rolling into the spin room after a debate isn't an indication of much of anything, other than the fact that he floods the media zone whenever possible.  He did this in the primary, he's doing it again in the general.  And he's pummeling away at his message every chance he gets.  It's that simple, I think.

(5) An incomplete hodgepodge of memorable moments: For Trump, his refrain about Hillary embodying the same old, disappointing, under-performing system broke through early. He turned her "experience" argument against her twice. First, when she stated that she'd thought about a lot of issues, he shot back "yeah, for 30 years." And toward the end of the debate, after her strong 'stamina' line, he recovered with, "Hillary has experience, but it's bad experience." Meanwhile, Clinton's ad-makers will be busy. When she attacked Trump for rooting for the housing crash in order to make money, he didn't deny it. "It's called business," he boasted. When she speculated that he hasn't turned over his tax returns (which he later conceded he could do, against his lawyers' advice) because he's avoided paying any income taxes, he appeared to confirm her suspicion. That's "smart," he said. But again, I ask: Will more seemingly devastating ads matter at all?  And when he was making a case against President Obama's record at one point, he gestured at Hillary and referred to Obama as "your president." I'm fairly confident he meant your party/your administration, but Democrats pounced all over it as a racial code word.  It will almost certainly be used to motivate black voters. Finally, another solid, clean hit for her was "admitting" to have prepared for the debate, as well as for the job she's seeking. The implication about Trump in that well-delivered (likely also prepared, ironically) soundbyte was obvious. 

It was a very unusual debate, which was always going to be the case. To my real-time eyes and ears, in the moment, she won -- despite not making much (any?) headway on likability. But hey, given the insanity and throw-out-the-rulebook vibe of this entire cycle, what do I know? Let's see how (and if) the polls move. My gut says that they will, a bit, toward her.  But there's a reasonable chance that they won't, or that any impact will be short-lived.

UPDATE - Various quasi-scientific "flash" polls (distinct from unscientific online polls) show a Clinton win of varying degrees, with a CNN focus group of undecided voters in Florida also breaking hard for her.  Video of Luntz's CBS focus group is HERE.  Also, Team Trump's spin doesn't seem terribly enthusiastic.

Clinton Runs from Reporters After Debate, Trump Speaks with CNN and Fox News

Immediately following the intense presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Monday night,  Clinton quickly exited the arena, dodging questions from major main stream media news outlets.  

However, Trump spoke directly to Sean Hannity of Fox News and Dana Bash of CNN answering numerous questions in the post-debate madness.  

Trump told CNN that he hates the way the U.S. government spends tax dollars.

Trump said that he thought the debate went better than he expected.

He talked with Hannity and said, "Do you think (General Patton) would have a website saying how he's going to defeat the enemy?" referring to Clinton's website listing her plan to defeat ISIS.  

Clinton left the debate without answering any questions.