Randi Weingarten & Ron Chrisite — labor leader & Bush-Cheney aide — largely agree when it comes to Trump’s poor 3d Debate performance. Both regard it as an absurd alibi that he’d lose the election because it was “rigged” but split on whether the GOP is indeed “rigging” votes in red states by enacting voter suppression laws. We all marvelled at how viral “bad homre” and “nasty woman” went, especially with Hispanic & Women’s constituencies and how shrewd it was for Clinton to parry embarrassing Wikileaks disclosures with saddling Trump again with being “Putin’s puppet.” Then: Police chiefs apologize to young minority men for their mistreatment by cops.


David Corn (Mother Jones) and Charles Cooke (National Review) agreed broadly that while Pence helped Pence in the veep debate, the Kaine-the-Interrupter helped Clinton by reminding all of his ticket’s key arguments concerning latinos, women, nukes, Putin. A curious new poll pitting Obama against Trump showed POTUS 44 doing only a couple of points better than Hillary — how come? On Syria, it turns out at this point that there’s not that much difference between the nominees other than Pence except leaning toward challenging the Russians with ground troops (which DJT dismissed a week later). 


Shrum & Christie concur post-first debate that, in Bob’s phrase, “Hillary killed him and he committed suicide.” The question now is whether he can stop talking disparagingly about womens’ weight & looks  (‘fat chance’). Ron thinks it amazing that, unlike Kennedy, Reagan, Obama, Clintons, Trump thought he could just wing it and not prepare. Wrong! How could he not better anticipate  Qs on birther-ism, tax returns, Machado? Ron also doubts that Trump will raise Bill’s infidelties at next debate because of his own history as a serial adulterer and how it elevates Hillary to appear the victim. But with “Mr. 3am Tweeter”, ya never know.


Ron Reagan & Mary Matalin look at the first Clinton-Trump Debate through the lens of their respective experiences with Reagan 40 and Bushs 41+43. Our collective judgment is that while Trump will beat very low “expectations” (as was true of Ron’s father in 1980), Clinton’s superior knowledge and experience will enable her to win the debate in the eyes of not the media but actual voters.  And precisely because NBC’s Matt Lauer leaned so hard against Clinton in the “Commander-in-Chief “forum, it’s now more likely that Holt will lean into Trump a bit more, perhaps even “fact-check” since he’s a journalist, not a stenographer. Also, Wells Fargo Fraud, Driverless Cars, Skittles. 


This week, Rich Lowry & Wayne Barrett debate #deplorables & birtherism. Was Hillary’s comment a classic gaffe, impolitic yet true? Lowry says no because it’s untrue that half the GOP are not racists and nativists…which is why she apologized. Barrett doesn’t disagree. “While we can talk about the percentage, she should never confuse deplorable views with deplorable people.” But the Host argues that there indeed is a “Fringe Fourth” in the US, overwhelmingly for Trump, which thinks we should ban Muslims, Obama’s not an American & reverse racism worse than racism. The panel discusses whether Donald Houdini can get away with pretending to be the arsonist putting out the fire of Birther-ism with his 27 seconds saying “ne-ver mind.”  Also: four days of coverage on Hillary’s health and one on Trump’s birther reversal?


Schrum & Frum discuss who gained and learned more from the NBC “Commander-in-Chief” Forum (not counting that the “gotcha journalist” Lauer lost).  They agree that Trump probably won the night but, according to Bob, “not the next day when land-mines he laid blew up in his face” [Putin, CIA briefing, ‘take Iraq’s oil.’] Because Trump lies so regularly he’s almost “unfactcheckable”, Frum argues that she instead should focus on why DJT’s “just too dangerous to trust with America’s finances and military.” Shrum concurs, explaining why it’s foolish to try to bat down each falsehood and how instead she should reach out to the audience of persuadable swing Republicans why he’s simply unfit for the job. 


Charles Cooke and Gara Lamarche largely agree that Trump’s new newfound “regrets” could help him “IF he kept it up…but he can’t” says Charles, who as a National Review editor adds that “it’s disgraceful” for Trump to hire a Breitbart alt-right person to run his campaign. Gara chides both Dems and R’s for using psychological terms like “narcissistic sociopath” (re Trump) and “lacks the stability and stamina” (re Clinton) under the so-called “Goldwater Rule” of 1964, although the Host points out that, since truth is a defense to Libel, one characterization is far more accurate. Last, we try to figure out why conservative books — like the four anti-Hillary screeds that are now on top of the NYT non-fiction best-seller list — outsell liberal books.