Trump and Clinton Take Up Arms

Donald successfully spoke in full sentences but may be confused about his plan for veterans’ health, and Hillary went into wonk mode.

Comments: 234

  1. Oh welcome back dear Ms C
    Harbinger of jocosity,
    In this era Trumpiish
    I'm down in the dumpish,
    Trump's active on Twitter
    With barbs that embitter
    And frenzies of fracking
    Have got Earthquakes cracking,
    Trump still is denying
    Weather hoax implying,
    I'm truly morose,
    So please be jocose.

  2. I am very tired of HRC's constant grin, but consider the alternative...Trump's constant scowl.

  3. Miriam,

    You mean "Risus sardonicus or rictus grin, which is a highly characteristic, abnormal, sustained spasm of the facial muscles that appears to produce grinning".

    Sometimes seen on corpses.

  4. Now that we are dangerously close to the election - I can no longer laugh at trumps ludicrousness given that the media still insists upon normalizing his candidacy and treating him like a celebrity rather than a politician running for the nations highest office. Tonight's panel was a disgrace. Real issues were not meaningfully discussed and trump got away with the worst crime of all - admitting that he does not read to prepare for his candidacy. He simply hears things (from Putin perhaps?) and hopes to absorb by osmosis.

  5. He has admitted that he reads nothing, and he also has the attention span of a gnat.

  6. No, gnat's attention spans are twice as long.

  7. A gnat has more of an attention span than Trump the Fraud. A gnat will persist in trying to bite you way longer than Trump the Fraud can stay on topic.

  8. The last republican nominee and Trump have two things in common:
    Both Willard Mitty Romney and Donald Trump dodged the Viet Nam draft.
    Better yet, in five generations of Romney's and four generations of Trumps not one member of their family's EVER served one day in the US military.
    These are the preening, belligerent gung ho republican pretenders to Commander in Chief.
    For the record, not one republican baby boomer who has sought or won the republican nomination for the Presidency set foot in Viet Nam.
    In contrast, four Democratic baby boomers, Al Gore, John Kerry, Bob Kerrey and Jim Webb VOLUNTEERED and served in Viet Nam.

  9. Character should count. Unfortunately many seem unable to recognize it or understand it's value.

  10. John McCain perhaps?

  11. And let's recall the Swift-boating of Kerry. John McCain lost the South Carolina primary because Bush's people were spreading lies that he had and illegitimate African-American child (adopted) and that his wife was a drug addict. And yet McCain endorsed Bush II and has endorsed Trump. Apparently, loyalty trumps honesty.

  12. I don't have a lot of interest in recent dealings between Trump and Clinton. I know their many weaknesses and their few strengths. They may venture into new areas, but not in a way likely to reveal anything new about them. Trump spouts half truths, mistakes, and some outright lies. Clinton lies less and is more often in the ballpark of the truth. The upcoming debate is the most interesting of their future encounters. But it's pretty likely that Trump will be routinely aggressive while Clinton remains routinely careful. Since they're both on automatic pilot, clever zingers are unlikely. So the much anticipated debate is likely to be pretty dulll. Can we just vote and get this over?

  13. Except it won't be "over" after you vote. The new president will probably pick a new Supreme Court, which will affect you and your children for decades.

    It will never be over, so grow up.

  14. "Can we just vote and get this over?" Absolutely not; I am so looking forward to him making a complete fool of himself in front of millions of people. He'll probably have to dragged off the stage.

  15. Oh, Gail, "it was really way too late" on June 15, 2015, when Donald Trump pulled the jack-in-the-box alien egg job onto the rest of us. We're now stuck with this gruesome thing on our collective face-plate and it's smothering us into bad dreams and forgetfulness. Oh, we'll wake up hungry one night, ready for dinner and, well...

    I guess I really just can't understand how a complete nothing (is that even remotely possible?) has his small, stubby fingers inches away from Keats's urn. Are we so totally stupid that we're willing to gamble 240 years on a complete and total lie? I often ask myself "what is it, really, that Trump Nation sees him him that they would risk the ruin of everything?" It's got to be more than race or class or politics. Right? There's more?"

    If Hillary Clinton becomes No. 45, she's already halfway out on the long plank over the snapping sharks in the water. Trump has polluted, perhaps for generations, anything like a courteous and civil dialog between people who can disagree without being disagreeable. The extremes in politics have become the center and reason and common sense have been banished to the margins, a "quaint, old-fashion notion" as Tina Turner cynically declared about love.

    Trump has made Mexico almost a mortal enemy at our southern border. He has courted the devil in Eastern Europe, ignorant of the truth that the devil is not apt to keep his word.

    This has long ceased to be a joke and, sadly, we're all, in some way, complicit in Trump.

  16. soxared040713
    Why do you believe that it is Donald Trump that has brought us to this? It is the citizens of the United States that has brought us here. When the drums of war were beating loudly dissenters were intimated by fear of violence or public humiliation if they were to express their dissention. Donald Trump supporters are the real bullies, Donald only gives them permission to act badly, just as George W. Bush gave them permission to act badly.

  17. No! I am not complicit! I have always, and will always, despise Trump and everything he says, does and represents. Would that we could go back to the old days when he was just an interviewee on Howard Stern's show.

  18. Within each of us resides that little idiot, needy, selfish, resentful and yearning, not able to understand why we haven't risen to the top of the heap simply by nature of how awesome we are. It's what Freud called the id, I suppose, and some number of us see it in Trump. We see it set free and unbridled, careening "successfully", trampling the rules, lashing out with a tongue as sharp as Samurai's katana, and most importantly, defying logic and common sense (those other parts of the brain) and getting away with it.
    Another group of us has learned to contain and/or control most of those urges, feelings and drives, and have moved past the early stage of development DJT and many of his followers are stuck at, or have reverted to. Current widespread disillusionment and resentment have bolstered the former's numbers and have tested the resolve of many of the others. Some no doubt feel trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea.
    DJT presents a very specific pathology whose intricacies are above my pay grade but are nonetheless obvious. What should scare most of us is how many of the rest of us share it. Documenting his foibles and transgressions will achieve nothing unless society can enforce the rules and take him to task. We read about his steaks, university, ties with russia, and now his modeling agency, as well as sliding on tax deals in Jersey and political gifts in florida, and we see nothing being done. We're simply enabling him, and them, his "what, me worry?" mob.

  19. First, l must get this out of the way. I missed you!

    I bet Trump could get Putin to use the same color hair dye! I also believe that Putin is not being particularly verbal or showy, because he wants to be on-easy street over the next few years with Trump bumbling everything he does, That wil be easy!

  20. Putin has hair?

  21. Keen defence analyst Donald Trump says he will boost the army by 50,000 and the navy by hundreds of ships. Nice round numbers, if not finely calibrated to actual military requirements. But hey, that’s how you sell golf resorts.

    Incidentally, I’ve totally lost interest in the breathless way the media reports every grunt and every fart emanating from this clown. I now take the position that if he is elected, Americans can’t complain if they don’t get tips from waiters in Paris and Rome.

  22. Tips from waiters?

  23. I think I get it now. Donald Trump is a joke, and the media are playing along. They don't dare ask him if he has no shame, or in what universe he imagines that he's presidential material, because that would just bring down the room. They act as though they're part of an improv sketch, where the rules are you never say no and never ask why. He pretends to be a presidential candidate, any they pretend they're the press, complete with those big hats and flashbulbs from the '40s. You can't really blame 'em. Trump is all three stooges rolled into one. A Trump presidency would be hi-LAR-ious.

    There's nothing funny about Hillary Clinton, so they're stuck with the e-mail controversy thing. Bernie Sanders was tired of the damn e-mail months ago, and it's just getting wearisome now. They burned out on Benghazi, so what else is there to talk about? Issues? They're impatient with Hillary because almost nothing she says will make it to Myers or Corden.

    Maybe the press is right. The world is a mess. There's nothing but war, suicide bombings, mass shootings and deadly diseases everywhere you look. Things are pretty bad when we have to depend on the rising sea levels to put out the forest fires.

    There's a sense that nothing we can do will prevent Armageddon. In that case, Trump is our man. At least we'll die laughing.

  24. Gemli,
    When some of us started this narrative a year ago we were interested spectators at a large American arena called the media. We were apprehensive and concerned but now seeing you coming on board is it time to panic?
    On this side of the borden we sometimes think the world is a better place than it has ever been and we might all get together and solve climate change and inequality and then we see and hear Herr Trump. Sometimes I think we should build a wall but we can't build a wall wide enough or high enough to keep you guys out and besides my children and grandchildren are on the wrong side of the wall.

  25. The press wants Donald Trump as President.

    Newspapers and radio have not had this large of a viewing audience in their history.

    With Trump as President, every day, Lauer will have something crazy to report to an excited TV audience.

    So, every reporter, TV host in America is setting Trump up to be elected.

    Money, if you follow it, you will always find the reason.

  26. This is fantasy, unsupported by fact. This very article contradicts your assertion. Did you even bother to read it?

  27. So sad and so true, Michael. Let's just VOTE, get like minded people to vote and hope there are more rational fellow Americans than it sometimes seems. Hugs.

  28. What these guys fail to remember is that in a fascist state reporters are usually out of work and in prison.

  29. I tweeted to NBC news a couple times during the forum about how outrageously disparate Lauer was in his treatment of Clinton, where he was brash, on the attack and very aggressive, especially regarding the email controversy. With Trump, he was quiet, calmer and allowed him to speak with very little interruption. Trump was still spouting his canned responses we've all heard before, and there was no mention of the Bondi issue. Totally inequitable handling of each candidate with a clear low expectation, almost a deference to Trump. I believe so called journalists like Lauer want to retain access to Trump. Therefore, they treat him with kid gloves. Shockingly inequitable.

  30. Lauer is NOT a journalist.
    He is the male equivalent of Foxes foxy anchors.
    Matt Lauer lost what miniscule credibility he had last night.
    But I'm sure he was told to attack Clinton and bend over for Trump.
    And he did as he was told.

  31. If bias and ineptitude were crimes, Lauer would be indicted.

  32. Lauer is not a journalist, he is a "personality".

  33. I don't believe that, at this point, anyone who still supports Donald Trump for President will be dissuaded from that position based on any further nonsense that emanates from his mouth.

  34. A secret plan to defeat ISIS! Trump must be using the Nixon playbook. He had a secret plan to end the Vietnam war. Nixon mentioned it several times in the 1968 campaign. The plan was to bomb the living daylights out of the "enemy" until we won. We "won" when we finally quit. Remember the helicopter picture we saw as we left the Saigon embassy?

    America's ISIS fight will dissolve their traditional methods to take territory. As we witness the switch, we see terrorism across the globe is now the ISIS tactic. No way to stop it, either.

  35. Exactly except that you omitted the other part of Nixon's secret plan: to keep the war going full force until just before the next election in 1972...which is what he did. Kissinger announced a week before that election, that "peace is at hand."

    Trump is just like Nixon. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth and lies out of both. Nixon reveled his tax return information in which he was trying to cheat...maybe Trump has something to hide in his?

  36. We have got to start raising the bar on this guy!
    We have got to start raising the bar on this guy!

    For God's sake: it is about time!

    Just try to put the bar at the same height for both caniddates, OK?

  37. Talk to the media about that, they've failed at the "equal treatment" since the start of the election, Gail excepted, of course.

  38. Hey, the bar's two inches above the floor for Trump and 3 feet for Clinton. Republicans say that's UNFAIR.
    The bar for Trump should only be an inch and it should be a 100 feet for Hillary. As everyone know who reads Maureen Dowd, that's because the "liberal media" is biased for Clinton.

  39. When you read the transcript Trump's answers are appalling. Matt Lauer's failure to follow up on Trump's most absurd statements, after he had admonished and interrupted Clinton several times, smacked of sexism and turtle like ineptitude. In the course of just 1/2 an hour Donald Trump called current U.S.generals "rubble", inferred he was a body language expert, who could divine that his briefers objected to Obama's policies, talked of his "secret" ISIS plan, quoted Vladimir Putin's poll numbers, said if Putin praised him, he'd praise Putin, cited his foreign policy bona fides by alluding to the firing of the Mexican Finance minister, said we should have left "certain people" behind and "taken" the Iraqi oil, and finally testified to the accuracy of his tweet in response to the epidemic of sexual assaults "what did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together". LOL, LOL, LOL to the exponential.

  40. Don, I give you credit for listening to him for half an hour; I cannot bear watching or listening to him. And BTW, I'm not laughing.

  41. @Miriam, I certainly understand your BTW comment. The idea that any sentient being could possibly vote for Donald Trump activates my sense of the absurd and is the darkest of all humor.

  42. " “Look at the aftermath today where the people that arranged the trip in Mexico have been forced out of government. That’s how well we did.” WHAT? if you negotiate with people who are then forced out of office, then any agreement you might have reached with them becomes null and void. that's hardly a success.

  43. If the media continues to treat Trump with a velvet glove, he could win the presidency. What unprofessional, coward-like journalists these are. Do your job. If Trump evades a question, come back to it. Again and again and again, until he either answers it or breaks out into something spectacular. It would make history. And the Presidential debates aren't an opportunity to do that, due to various rules and restrictions. One-on-one interviews, however, are the perfect opportunity, and each time a journalist blows it, the bigger a step Trump takes to the White House.

  44. To your point about spineless pseudo-journalists, I have heard Trump interrupt and talk over so many of them, and they just sit there and take it!

  45. Megan Kelly understood how to challenge Trump. Guess we'd better let some qualified FEMALE investigative reporters take over from the old boy network and start grilling him the way the entire press corps treats Hillary. Of course if this were to actually happen, DT's feelings would be hurt, he'd lash out inappropriately and ban them from his entourage.

  46. Wish I could "Recommend" this 1,000 times, Peter.

  47. One would have thought that by now she’d have a more believable story on eMailGate, and that Trump would have tested better given the cram courses his new campaign team force-fed. But there’s really not much to say about deleting 33,000 “personal” emails only to have it demonstrated that many the FBI could recover not only weren’t “personal” but some contained classified information. And there are people who just don’t test well because they never learned how to properly study.

    I wasn’t impressed by the performances.

    If the debate on 26 September turns out to be this boring, then I could favor having Zack Galifianakis “streak” the event just to wake viewers up.

    Yet it shouldn’t be boring when they face one another. Mrs. Clinton has been effective in setting traps to compel Trumpian temper, but I suspect that we’ve seen the last of that temper for now. If I were preparing him for debates, I’d confront him mercilessly with these traps and prepare him to turn each into an advantage by compelling her to go off-script to respond. When she goes off-script, she’s like a deer in a headlamp. Hammana hammana hammana.

    Trump has ALL the momentum in the polls, and has tightened them just about to the margin of error. A good performance in the first debate could put him solidly ahead and provide him leisure to coast. A bad one could put him behind again with little time to recover and more pressure on the remaining ones.

    But, then … we STILL haven’t heard from Vladimir Putin, have we?

  48. Lawyers dig through piles of email looking for relevant ones using keyword searches. If you think Clinton or anyone else actually read through 88,000 emails deciding which ones were personal, then you can believe anything. Likely those on which keywords hit were deemed official, and the rest were deemed personal.

  49. Trump was a disaster with his "Secret Isis Plan". The man is An Idiot.

  50. If you listened to her explanation of the email issue it made perfect sense. There's nothing there except a Fox News talking point.

  51. We can accept Trump's humanity without voting for his insanity! It ricocheted around the Intrepid amidst his dream plans of fired (or not) generals told to submit plans (or not) to defeat ISIS (or not—do American generals do cyber-war? Is a military strategy the best way to eliminate terrorists threats?), and Trump's visions of veterans dying after being given a pill (or not), the expectation of rape (or not) for women in uniform, and his knowing more (or not) than the generals, a result of President (a twice elected President slammed continuously as Putin was praised) who daily reduces generals and admirals to “rubble!” (And is at odds with his briefers.)

    Trump is entitled to basic care. By no (not!) standard is he fit to be America's political and military leader, because he “negotiates deals.”

    Memo to Matt Lauder: And what do emails have to do with military leadership? Isn't empathy a quality of leadership: why no questions about Trump's bludgeoning of a gold star family?

    Gail hits the penultimate moment of the town hall in her opening: Trump thinks the sacrificial firing of Mexico's Minister of Finance, an American trained MIT economist, Presidential confidant, and party leader was a good result of his visit! He cannot see the disruption his brief sojourn caused—yet he keys on stairs as a idol of power and says he would leave the summit of G-20 leaders if denied its trappings, as he disparaged mechanics (“Obama had to use the stairs the mechanics use”). Idiocy!

  52. Space and weariness eliminates a full review of Trump's neo-colonialism ("take the oil"). He is a man born in the wrong century in the wrong country. He may say what many want to believe, but he has no standard of truth.

    His stairs will descend into the inferno. (Red carpet and all.)

  53. "At times, Trump seemed to be exceeding expectations, just by speaking in complete sentences. (We have got to start raising the bar on this guy.) Then a veteran in the audience asked him about sexual assault in the military, and Lauer reminded Trump that he had once twittered, “What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?” ........“Well,” Trump answered, “it is. … It is a correct tweet. "

    Welcome back, Gail, how we need you now. I've already listed the many horrors of last night in a separate article, but you nail it with this "raising the bar" call to action.

    How one woman with a lifetime of government service can be put through the wringer on scandal stuff while the newbie on the presidential block--does everyone realize this guy is TWO MONTHS away from the Oval?--gets treated like a comical oddity is beyond comprehension.

    I will beat my drum until November 8, and then beyond. MSM, you simply must do your job. Stop vetting so harshly someone whose vetted 24/7 and give a free pass, or even worse, an intimidation effect from a mouthy Trump spewing nonsense and sounding like a total idiot. (No wonder Putin wants him to win).

    Where are today's Russerts, Brinkleys, and Koppels now that we need them? So far, the only political moderator I've seen who won't take no for an answer is the fast talking Chris Matthews.

    He already nailed Trump on nukes and abortion. So if no-facts Chris Wallace can be a moderator, why not the other Chris?

  54. Interesting that you suggest that because Chris Wallace can be a moderator Chris Mathews scan be too. I think Chris Mathews is a loud mouthed bully whose better days are long gone....but then both candidates have some of that too.

  55. He doesn't allow the folks he's interviewing to change the subject or get away with lies. For that alone, he's far better than a mealy mouthed Conservative pundit like Chris Wallace who already told us he is not there to fact check. Well, in a debate, if you can't call out the debaters, why are you there. Even I can ask a bunch of questions, then sit still while they blather and lie.

  56. And Chris Wallace has already surrendered, saying he wasn't going to be the "truth squad."


  57. Congratulations, Matt 'Trey Gowdy' Lauer !

    You've won the starring role in Fake Journalism's 2016 remake of that 2015 'Fair and Balanced' Classic, the Benghazi Salem Witch Trial about the persecution of Hillary Clinton for the high crimes of being female and for running for a 'man's job'.

    If Matt Lauer - or any other journalist - knew how to do a 'man's job', they would've asked Donald Trump a few questions about his own past such as:

    1. Don't you think that the 200 undocumented laborers (illegal immigrants) from Poland that demolished the site for Trump Tower and later sued you in federal court - a case that was settled and 'sealed' in secrecy - for unpaid wages is relevant to your character ?

    2. Don't you think your $25,000 donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, your $35,000 donations to Governor Greg Abbott's (and former Texas AG), and your $12,500 donation to New York’s AG Eric Schneiderman - all of whom were considering whether or not to pursue a suit against the now defunct Trump University for widespread consumer fraud - is relevant to your character, especially since you said earlier this year, quote unquote:

    “I’ve given to everybody. Because that was my job. I gotta give to them. Because when I want something, I get it. When I call, they kiss my aXX.”

    Mr. Trump, what exactly did you 'want' when you sent money to several state Attorneys General looking into your apparently fraudulent business ?

    Welcome to American journalism: The Land of Eunuchs !

  58. @Socrates: Your raise good questions that should be asked of Trump, along with many more that would expose his utter incompetence and unfitness to be President.

    But Hillary also needs to be up to the task of answering questions about her private email server and apparent inability to determine the difference between classified and non-classified information. Does anyone really believe after 8 years on the Sen. foreign relations committee and 4 years as Sec. of State she does not know the difference. Emails detailing drone bombing positions are not classified unless marked at the top with a heading? Sorry--that just sounds stupid.

    Trump's campaign contributions were obviously tied with expecting favorable treatment by the Florida A.G. That is why donors give money--to gain access, receive favorable treatment, or give thanks for beneficial policies. No one donates a dollar to someone they disagree with.

    Which brings me to Hillary taking tens of millions personally from special interests, and special interests donating tens of millions into her campaign and super Pacs. That should cause us all concern. Unfortunately, what I read from many Hillary supporters is money corrupts Republicans, but not Democrats, or at least not Hillary.

    We need journalists to ask Trump & Hillary tough questions. We need to stop with the lament that any criticism of Hillary is support for Trump.

    When Hillary becomes President we need to hold her feet to the fire.

  59. Gail it is really great you are back. I did not watch the Forum because Matt Lauer was so obviously in his head to begin with. I guess he is OK with new recipes and introducing Justin Bieber at 30 Rock but this was a C in C Forum without Paula Deen, why was Matt Lauer there? Thank God Lester Holt will moderate the first debate.

  60. When Lincoln somehow managed to preserve the United States of America against treasonous war and rebellion, he saw repeatedly that expressions of cocky self-confidence and braggadocio usually foretold complete failure.
    He constructed a cabinet made up of Republicans, and Democrats, strong proven leader, some who had opposed him.
    He opened up the White House to the public, on a weekly basis, to take what he called my "public opinion baths".
    He often would expressly refuse to say anything.
    But I will not slander our history with a comparison so obscene.
    Please forgive me.

  61. The Republican Party was once the Party of Lincoln. And the desert Southwest was once an inland sea. Things change.

  62. This is the usual appalling NY Times claptrap.

    Your newspaper had a chance to put the e-mail investigation to bed forever. An FBI report came out that completely EXONERATED Hillary Clinton. She told the truth when she said Colin Powell advised her it was regular procedure for the Secy of State NOT to use the state dept. server. She told the truth when she said nothing marked CLASSIFIED was ever sent. Nothing marked CLASSIFIED was ever e-mailed to her. Period. In order for someone to call that a lie, they have to twist and turn and say "well but there were 3 e-mails and there was a tiny little "c" somewhere on the page". Nope, regardless of how the Republicans try to spin it, and the NY Times helps them, having a little tiny "c" is NOT how you mark something that is top secret. And if the NY Times had reported the story properly instead of pretending that 3 e-mails with tiny little c's "proved" that national security was being flouted, then most Americans would not be convinced that "even that liberal NY Times" knew that Hillary was corrupt and sold out our national security in order to get rich.

    This is on you, Gail Collins, and all of the editors, reporters and publishers at the NY Times who are so terrified of Fox News accusing you of bias that you have distorted reality and created the monster that is Trump.

    This is on the NY Times. You are more concerned with pleasing Fox News than in actually reporting the news correctly. Shame on you all.

  63. I except Gail Collins but otherwise agree with you completely. If, God forbid!, Trump were to be elected, The Times would be complicit. And don't get me started on the breathless condemning headlines!

  64. Thank you! I sent a letter to the editor for the first time in my life. Aside from the few columnists I like, I will not be reading the NYT. I don't trust them. I'll find the real news somewhere else.

  65. Here in Florida, Trump is running an ad that has as much political insight as an ad for Frosted Mini Wheats. In it, the voice of God intones "In Hillary Clinton's America" and then, with black and white photography, Armageddon is described. Jobs are lost, taxes are raised, wars are started and, for some reason, it rains everyday. Then the voice intones "But in Donald Trump's America" and like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, America is brought to you in living color and we are transported to Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory where jobs are plentiful, the middle class is now the upper middle class and the trees have gumdrops on them. The simplicity of the ad makes you wonder if it is geared to an age group that is not yet old enough to vote. Yet I see he is closing the gap in the polls and beats Hillary with veterans by 55 to 35 which makes me wonder if my plan to leave America if he wins might have to be amended to leaving whether he wins or not. Can I really live in a place where the average white male (my demographic) and the average defenders of the constitution are no more politically astute or sophisticated than your average Oompha Loompha or Munchkin?

  66. Just this week, I also began to rethink my plans to escape from the U.S. if Trump somehow was named President. Thinking I'd be happier not surrounded by the sub-mediocre Yahoos who (one can spot them) voted for such a horror.

    Let me know where you'll be going, OK?

  67. Yes. Hello Rick. So well said. Here in Massachusetts I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realize almost half the adults in this country support this despicable opportunist, when Congress cannot pass legislation to counter a ZIka epidemic because some GOP clown thinks it is just as important to sabotage Planned Parenthood, when I see six kids sitting at a table Tweeting with busy fingers or buried in Facebook - who after years of school don't know where Syria is or Oklahoma is part of the United States. My wife is activating dual Irish citizenship. The West Cork is so beautiful - and as good a place as any to watch Americans pulling their common identity and government apart.

  68. Trump is running the same ad here in Pa. Utter nonsense. You can see from this ad that the Trump campaign has no respect for the intelligence of the voters and indeed, this ad corresponds to Trump's own statement about how much he loves the under educated voter. Truer words were never spoken by Trump- it is perhaps the only truth that ever came out of his mouth.

  69. Lauer was horrible to her, it's true everyone is against her. Even when they're not, they are. Even Bill is starting to sound (and look) like W. C. Fields. She needs to take a firm grip of the situation and assert herself as a strong woman.

    Face it, she's done for. Being a compulsive liar didn't help.

  70. I only saw one compulsive liar on the stage, and he wasn't a she.

  71. Rob, for the sake of argument I will allow that Clinton is "a compulsive liar." Only for the sake of argument...stipulating it to be fact, how does that mitigate the compulsive, truly compulsive, lying of Donald? Is a male compulsive liar with no experience to be preferred to a female compulsive liar with loads of experience? What could be different here?

    If you think he's a better choice because of the equipment that came with his Y chromosome you really should reexamine those tiny hands of his.

  72. Hi, Rob. I'm one of the everyone. I'm not against her. I'm for her.

    I'm also thinking the person who say's "everyone is" something or other might be the compulsive liar here.

  73. Matt Lauer picks up the NBC corporate crusade to get Trump elected where morning Joe left off, when his ratings started to tank. His sucking up to Trump early on revealed him a bit too plainly for what he is - a smart greedy redneck, who can play the part of "enlightened Republican" and fool most of the people most of the time. Lauer is just a typical TV "journalist" , i.e., obedient compliant actor who learns his lines, and a good enough actor to make most people believe he thought up those words himself. He was, after all, the perfect "moderator for the first blantantly "corporate TV" election, without any visible values, and sufficient acting skills to seem as interested, day after meaningless day, in Beyoncé, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Martha Stewart, AND the Presidential candidates. Meanwhile, in the back room, corporate America screws the American people again, and most of us don't even know who put the knife in our back. We watch, (tragi-comically) TV anxiously for a clue. Gail Collins is right, much of what people do, is so
    absurd, it will make you laugh or cry. Might as well laugh.

  74. " He was, after all, the perfect "moderator for the first blatantly "corporate TV" election"

    This is sloppy rhetoric. Lauer cannot determine your vote. YOU DO.

  75. Like a used car salesman, Trump is barely literate but knows how to fake it. His target audience responds like a Pavlov dog. It's going to be a long four years if he wins: war, denial of climate change, women, children, minorities, and immigrants thrown under the bus.

    That Trump has gotten this far should concern any civilized person.

  76. He has made a habit of dating and marrying "immigrant women" as long as they are from the right part of the planet...

  77. @David Henry: Following this farcical forum, MSNBC featured a small focus group and member commentary. A Trump supporter stated his mind was not changed, Trump spoke the truth, HRC is a liar and belongs in jail. Guessing, but by his manner of speech and expression, he's a high school grad, at best.
    I'm no genius, no advanced degrees, etc., but whether it's ignorance or stupidity, or both, I passed concern a while ago and am now in full on panic.

  78. Everyobe is talking about how close Little Hands is to President Clinton but what is often missed by hack rightist entertainers like Matt Lauer is that President Clinton is even or even beating Little Hands in confederate strongholds like south carolina.
    If Little Hands doesn't carry every single confederate state he loses.
    Same goes for Pennsylvania and Ohio.

  79. Everyone on the show played their well-established roles: Hillary the Wonk, Trump the Blowhard, and Lauer the Lightweight.

  80. A wonk is by definition "a studious and hard working person". That is precisely one of the top skills a presidential candidate should possess. It's time to stop misusing "wonk" as an insulting term. use expert, informed, skilled, professional and knowledgeable instead. "Wonk" is a school yard taunt wielded by bullies who are threatened by kids who enjoy learning and the insights that come with it. Trump, in his goofy hairdo, illiterate gibberish and fascist gestures is a bully who never grew up and as we have seen he still thinks it's fun, he still thinks it makes him cool to insult and lie whenever he feels the least bit threatened by anyone, even the grieving parents who lost their beloved child in Afghanistan. Never in a hundred lifetimes would Hillary Clinton be so heartless! The truth is Trump is scared to death of Hillary and she knows it.

  81. You're being kind to Lauer.

  82. That Forum was depressing. To watch Trump's answers and imagine that loon making life and death decisions about our kids fighting somewhere - unacceptable.

  83. Welcome back, Gail. We missed your unique point of view and ability to cut to the heart of every issue. Writing against deadline, you came up with a perfect summary of Trump's performance last night. "He babbled on, trying to save himself, but it was really way too late." The emperor indeed has no clothes.

  84. Perhaps this man, who would be President, has such an enormous and suffocating wardrobe, causing his luggage to fall on our crowns and flatten us.

  85. Welcome back, Mrs.Collins.

    Seems to me that Trump is more of a realist than Clinton, be it Iraq, ISIS, or Putin.
    Absolutely grotesque for Clinton to call Iraq a "mistake". It was premeditated, illegal aggression against a sovereign state, and she didn't learn from Iraq, instead supporting more sectarian violence in Libya and Syria and the rise if ISIS. And what's wrong with the 2 biggest nuclear powers getting along?

    Mrs.Clintons transparent pandering to whichever audience she faces is nauseatingly predictable and tiresome, not because of "her wonk mode", but because it is so blatantly disingenuous. She may be "a woman who has been to town hall meetings with virtually every single group of Americans who have a problem", but in the end none of those problems got solved unless your problem was one of the 1%ers, giant corporations or the military industrial complex.

    Another problem for Mrs.Clinton is that people have much higher expectations towards former President Clinton's wife given her, on paper and with little investigation, impressive record. The Clinton campaign went through great pains and tons of cash to paint The Donald as a racist ignoramus, so no wonder "at times, Trump seemed to be exceeding expectations, just by speaking in complete sentences."

    I'd call that a bad strategy and it'll be hurting her all the way up to the election, on top of her myriad of other problems and the Sword of Damocles in form of more WikiLeaks or computer hack releases looming ahead.

  86. Trump painted himself as a racist and ignoramus long before Ms Clinton was even nominated.

  87. Host Matt Lauer might as well have been wearing a Trump red cap and should have asked Trump for an autograph.

    In this kind of interviews and for the presidential debates, networks should fact check at the same time the candidates are talking; let viewers read the fact checking at the bottom of the screen and, question candidates about it.

    Just asking for a little respect for viewers. Most of us think and, hopefully, vote.

  88. The TV media is afraid of Trump. They give him a free ride, while they hammer Clinton. She has to be twice as good as the man. It is the American story.

  89. She's thousands of times better than Trump.

  90. She already is a whole lot more than twice as good as Trump, but it doesn't matter. It's the story of the nexus between lap-dog journalism and gut-thinking voters.

  91. Thanks, Gail, for reminding me that the GOP and the entire country seems to have gone berserk nominating D J Trump.

    I purposely avoid hearing him or reading about his 'ideas' because I become so flabbergasted that I can't think straight. I feel I've fallen down some 'rabbit hole' and I'm in some horrific wonderland. But this is really happening.

    Just your few quotes from DJT remind me that you're forcing yourself to look at DJF, which is a sort of 'fascination of abomination', like a gruesome crash scene. But you do it so well,and with humor and with trust that your readers will appreciate that you are following this election closely. It's a dirty job this year, but you are doing it with flair and clarity.

  92. Watching Trump is like sitting through Beckett's "Waiting for Godot." Trump gives new meaning to the theater of the absurd. The irony is so-called journalists not only let him get away with his nonsense, and I mean that literally, they abet his provocations by not following up in search for the truth.

  93. Such an apt comparison. Brilliant, in fact.

  94. The basic fact is that Mrs. Clinton has been involved in politics so has probably the most political experience ever seen in a Presidential candidate, understands government and international relations, and has grounded policies and agendas. Trump has none of the above, but has intransigence, ignorance, psychological issues (apparently), poor business sense and decision-making skills, advanced narcissism even for a "politician", and extreme inter-personal relationship issues...except with Putin and with alt-right wingbats. And yet, reporters and interviewers still cannot do their jobs when interacting with Trump by demanding answers, not buffoonery. When will they step up and do their jobs, and hold both candidates' feet to the fire, but especially quit pussy-footing around trump? Professionalism needs to come from somewhere...Hillary has it, Trump never will, and the press is not displaying much of it.

  95. This showed what I have observed many times. There seems to be a different standard for Hillary. She is grilled on the same stuff over and over and heaven help her if she changes a comma, what she says is dissected seven ways to sunday. Trump babbles on, lies, changes positions every 5 minutes and all say what a good job he did and nobody challenges any lie he tells! Why is that??

  96. Perhaps because Trump gets hysterical and falls off-stage if there is so much as a whiff of dissension in the air. Hillary might frown, her eyes darken, but she stays the course and inspires stability. She is so much brighter by a long shot than this man who 'does not know', and eventually Americans are going to be subjected once again to one of his temper tantrums and tirades that it is all the fault of Clinton, the President and the Commies that we are in such a sorry state. Honey draws some men like bumble-bees, and their agenda is much revealed when presented with a pedestal to tower over the Country, shouting 'I am fed up and not going to take this anymore'. It works well for true Americans struggling to make a decent living.

  97. It's called "sexism."

  98. Hillary is a "hawk" (this paper's label) who supports endless war. Donald is a "hawk" who wants to increase the size of the military. The winner--The Military Industrial Complex.

    Both are dangerous and the World will be a more dangerous with either at the helm. Maybe more so with Donald, but anyone who believes Hillary's judgment in making foreign policy decisions is good has not been paying attention the past decade.

    And as for the mutual admiration between Hillary and Henry. Does that even bother any Hillary supporters? After Henry engaged in the criminal act of secretly bombing Cambodia causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. How can any Democrat cozy up with that war criminal?

    We expect so little from our candidates and get even less in return.

  99. "Both are dangerous and the World will be a more dangerous with either at the helm. Maybe more so with Donald,"

    Maybe? Did you seriously say maybe?

  100. The only candidate who was completely anti war, was Bernie who the media ignored and blocked out, putting generations into the oath of peril and disharmony. Mr Obama has painstakingly restored America's name and dignity by emphasizing diplomacy over violent means. He has healed old wounds, acknowledged America's ignorant ways of dealing with nations like Laos, he has made deliberate and concrete efforts to bring the world together.

  101. Ms. Collins, for a moment as a human and an American, I am going to indulge in the doom and gloom. Before reading your column, earlier I thought America is turning into a Police State under our noses, insular with a Trump Empire in the tarnished muddy workings of the Brutality of Nations.

    A popular song in the Hudson Valley is 'An American Man'. The hard-working men in charge of rebuilding houses have often been in the Military, and one whom I call with affection a 'human squirrel', was turned away from the Marines when he was thirty.

    I believe we are a Nation with hearts of stones and antelope souls, and when having lunch this weekend last, my neighbor on the right looked aghast when I started 'we could discuss America'. A retired building constructor, he probably thought I was going to ask about our State-of-Affairs. He looked much relieved when I asked about his travels with his spouse here at home. My tour of the Country is with 'Heartland' at the moment where the young actress reminds me of Clinton. Not only in looks, but in strength, mettle and courage.

    My other luncheon companion was a Veteran. He was in Vietnam but he has never been the same since he returned home. 'He's kinda of funny', they say about him in this Community, and he also is a Trump supporter. I like him, but neither of us are planning to watch any violent movies if we go to the theater in this town. We are already on 'The Titanic'.

  102. The big question this time, is, will there be survivors, and if there are, will they have the wisdom to not build another Titanic.

  103. I think you can categorize Trump's "strategies" broadly in two types. There is the Tarzan strategy - give a loud shout, beat your breast and swing from the vine; and there is the Trump University ploy - when things go wrong write a sales script and send out aggressive sales people to get results. That's it

  104. As I expected, Matt Lauer did not treat the candidates the same, thus following the example set by the press throughout this campaign.

  105. Matt Lauer is disgusting...needs to go!

  106. When you have one candidate who is a bully and a sociopath, you find out which journalists are really good at their jobs. Lauer isn't among them.

    Rather look at someone like Major Garrett of CBS News, who valiantly tries to cover Trump day after day. He deserves a medal for attempting to maintain his journalistic demeanor while covering the lies, the almost weekly revelations of corruption and the generally bad behavior of this despicable GOP candidate. I have faith that Lester Holt will do a good job reining in Trump in the first debate later this month. We can only hope . . .

    If you want to understand the challenges of a really good, fair and objective journalist in covering Trump, imagine yourself in Berlin in the mid-1930s assigned to write balanced stories on Hitler at a time when a good chunk of the American population thought he was a really good guy. That's what it's like.

  107. Trump has invalidated "Godwin's law" and has permitted us to mention Hitler again. Hopefully this invalidation will help us prevent another Hitler in the form of Trump--who NEVER denied reading a volume of Hitler's speeches as bedtime reading. (Nor did Marvin Davis ever deny giving it to Trump.)
    Do we have to lose World War II to the Axis some 70 years later by copying our former enemies?

  108. I thought Hillary created bad optics when she continued talking over Matt Lauer, barely on topic, her back to him. Not a great half hour for her in my mind. She is becoming obsessed with pointing out Trump's shortcomings, as if they aren't obvious to all. She forgets his followers at this point are deaf and blind to his faults; and she is raising frightened concern in at least this follower that she is one closed door away from carrying on like a shrieking, finger-pointing hot mess, and perhaps she's not the calm, dedicated, even-tempered, focused, Presidential sort I have hoped she is.
    Trump, on the other hand, was his usual pompous, evasive, lying self. Win none, lose none on this night for him.
    And really, what IS that thing on his head?

  109. Why is it when a woman raises her voice she is shrieking,yet a man is being strong and forceful?

  110. Matt Lauer is as shallow as a kid's wading pool. He deserved to be talked over; in fact, she should have ignored him altogether and just talked about something SHE wanted to talk about, instead of those damned e=mails. Maybe she could have been the one to point out how Trump's lack of every quality he claims he has, like judgement, or truthfulness.

  111. "Shrieking, finger-pointing hot mess"? tomhct, if you really support Clinton, check your misogyny in the mirror.

  112. If I believed in the Rapture, I'd be praying for it right now. Before November. I'd be fervently praying we'd wake up one morning and all that would be left behind is a pair of wing tips and Mike Pence looking more confused than usual.


    But no, we will be stuck with the clear choice between someone who is competent and can do the job, but is loathed by half the nation, and someone who is not competent, and cannot do the job, but at least has the honor of being just as loathed.

    No poof. No hope.

    The orange buffoon is amazingly resilient - everything eventually bounces off him. He is like a rubber ball - the harder you hit, the higher he goes. Hillary slogs, Trump bounces, and all of us suffer.

    Is it really to much to ask that he be a chosen one sooner rather than later?

  113. Never, ever, did I see this coming, and unless a miracle occurs, we are cooked.

  114. It is easy to see why the late Phyllis Schlafly supported Donald Trump. The ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) was defeated because of her scare tactics that women could be drafted and forced into combat. Today, women volunteer in the military and are regularly in combat and roles that support combat. Donald Trump clearly still regrets that change. What do you expect when men and women serve in the military together, Donald? Certainly not sexual assault. But Donald Trump doesn't seem to realize the president isn't the person who hires and fires the Generals and Admirals and then proposes creating a military court system, apparently in ignorance that one currently exists. Trump's susceptibility to flattery was on public display in his preference for Putin over Obama, as well as his inability to recall his own policy positions, reinventing them on the fly. I will not be voting for Trump, but others somehow believe he will keep Americans safe because he is wealthy and therefore wise. It would be nice if Matt Lauer were prepared to rebut some of Trump's more outrageous misstatements of fact, but recall he is fresh off his getting to the bottom of idiots on the Olympic swimming team destroying a filling station bathroom in Rio while drunk. That story dominated the news cycle and showed as little journalistic acumen as his debate moderation last night.

  115. Sadly, today's "television journalists," not to mention journalists in print media, fail to ask the sad questions in a Devil's bargain to gain access to politicians.

  116. Matt Lauer needs to be fired!

  117. Lauer badgered Clinton about emails then spent the rest of the debate telling her to hurry up and acting bored with her rational, substantive answers.

    Then Trump came on and he let him spew all this:

    1. Lie that he was against the Iraq War
    2. Malign our generals as "rubble" then act like he'd put his own guys in there, showing that he doesn't understand how the US military works and seems to think they're another set of lackeys for him
    3. Praise the brutal dictator Putin and look to insult our President in comparison to him
    4. Imply that at intelligence briefings he was told Obama doesn't follow the advice of the intelligence community
    5. Agree that rape in the military happens because, as he tweeted some years ago, women don't belong there
    6. Say that we should rob the oil of Mideastern countries after we conquer them

    .... And all that without Lauer even pressing him about all the military related questions he could have asked, such as his slander of McCain, insults of a Gold Star family, his own draft dodging, etc.

    A disgrace.

  118. Well said.

  119. It's amazing how Hillary unequivocally stated that she 'did what she had to do' regarding security and preservation of her emails, but just a few short months ago during an FBI interview she responded that she 'could not recall' dozens of times. This continual prevarication seems congenital. The only reason she may win is because Trump is, by a slight margin, even worse.

  120. Trump is like a drunk uncle. He would not be able to speak if the rules forbade him from using "great" and all the other superlatives he uses to describe himself and his supposed impact on the world. Trump has nothing but simple answers for complex problems. If America falls for his nonsense, then this great experiment in democracy is finished.

  121. The story continues to be Trump is crazy and Hillary well we know what Hillary is but don't talk about it and vote for her any way. The Democratic/Corproatist Party should be ashamed!

    To those who say the emails don't matter I say I'm sick of the lying. I don't trust her.

  122. But you're OK with Trunplethinskin lying about everything, including being against the Iraq war when he told Howard Stern the opposite?

  123. He's crazy, she's beyond competent to do the job at hand. Seems like a pretty clear-cut choice. You don't trust her? OK - do you trust him?

  124. How can the right like Trump's idea to give vets (of which I am one) cards to go to any doctor/hospital? Is that not the start of a government run system, i.e., one more population beyond seniors and the disabled accessing civilian doctors on the government's nickle?

  125. The right does not like Trump

  126. Gail:

    (We have got to start raising the bar on this guy.)

    And why haven't "you?" Meaning the 4th Estate. It's a little late in the process to be engaging in such a consideration, isn't it? It IS the job of the Estate to act as watchdog for the common good. You are there to counterbalance the nuttiness of our elite leadership class, not to countenance it. I'm not speaking about you (Gail) necessarily. The institution.

    The 4th Estate has sacrifice its ethics and ideals on the altar of profit. Pure and simple the chase for eyeballs, clicks and all the rest that powers your paycheck has led directly to this state of affairs. If you laugh and bemoan the Trumpster you need only look in the mirror to properly assign the blame. And American's are culpable, too, for lapping up the slop, the drivel, that the Trumpster oozes out of every (media) orifice.

    American Net'Zen

  127. Matt Lauer is auditioning for Greta's vacated job in Faux News. He knows he won't be asked to wear a short skirt on the job and Faux News will pay for his rug.

  128. Then again NBC has a long relationship (lucrative one in terms of viewership) with trump. This TV bye work made Trump a household name.

  129. For all the well deserved criticism Matt Lauer is getting, his pursuit of the email issue is a signature media obsession. No matter what the response from Clinton, the subsequent media reaction is that she should simply apologize (apparently she hasn't done so sufficiently) and admit that the false media narrative about the issue is the one she should embrace. Then she would be able to move on-to the next interview in which she would again be asked about the email issue because there are so many unanswered questions.
    When it comes to Trump, there is no question he can't answer with his stump speech logo or a lie that has been previously debunked. Perhaps the media can ratchet up their level of inquiry in an attempt to get a straight answer from him and ask him what he had for breakfast.
    There is a double standard at work in the media, but it is apparently necessary to even the playing field.

  130. Matt Lauer had his own agenda and was a poor choice for the show. As one colonel stated at the Rachel Maddow after-party that most of the important questions about fitness for commander-in-chief were not even brought up, and he then listed a half dozen important questions that I would have liked to have heard answered. It is sad that many of the news celebrities are more interested in the hype cycle rather than talking about the real issues.

  131. Welcome back, Gail! You have been missed.

  132. Clinton and Trump, back-to-back, being questioned in the non-parallel universes of Matt Lauer. She gets pressed on Servergate. He gets to skate on lie after lie. She demonstrates wide experience and genuine caring in respect of veterans' affairs. His facile palliative for treatment delays is the treasury printing press. Nor is he challenged regarding his scurrilous slur against John McCain and all fighting forces.

    Members of the press don't need muscles to raise the bar on Donald J. Trump. They simply need to seek and honor truth, expose falsehoods and fiction in real-time, and commit to fair play.

  133. I think Gail is right, we have to hold him to a higher standard, complete sentences. So this is where we have descended, a man who would be king doesn't know how to give a subject, a verb and an indirect or direct object. Remember all the RWC requests for transcripts from prez Obama, Gore, WJC and the crew? I would really love to see this hucksters transcripts. Better, let's have some off the record interviews with his former professors. How did he personally ever past a written test when he can't construct a complete sentence? No Donny probably did it the Trump way, he negotiated good deals with underpaid Profs. In other words, a Trump world outcome, the fix was in.

  134. It really takes some sort of dogged integrity to keep covering Trump properly, I think. It's like having to discuss over and over, day after day, why a 4 year old should not be given keys to the car. It must be utterly exasperating.
    The media at large is showing signs of collapse on this. Trump is now about 3/4 'normalized', it seems. It's actually a very frightening thing, and I thank Collins and others for hanging in there.

  135. SOMEONE -- ideally the moderator, but if necessary Mrs. Clinton -- has got to get over being nicey nice and do what it takes to stop him when he lies, interrupts, changes the subject and insults. If it means blowing a whistle, then that's what you do. Otherwise he will bully his way to the Presidency.

  136. I would love to see someone blow a whistle each time he lies!

  137. As a Vietnam-era vet and independent voter, I watched in astonishment as an unchallenged draft evader [heel spurs - really] trashed the military leadership, and at one point was going to pull out a sheet containing the names of generals and admirals who support him. Were these the same military elite that are 'rubble' in his other statement?

    Trump may very well pull off one of the greatest scams in history, and his enablers will be a large percentage of the media who, like a seemingly uninformed electorate, let him wax unencumbered by actual facts and eat it up. Altering Tiny Tim's blessing in "A Christmas Carol" - "God bless [help] us, every one!"

  138. Only masochists could empower a psychotic like Trump to have any influence at all in their lives.

  139. 1. The "Bradley effect": People don't want to appear to support Trump, so they lie to pollsters. Actual support for Trump is greater than polls indicate.
    2. The "don't like either so not going to vote". This reduces votes for Clinton and is effectively a vote for Trump.
    3. The passionate come out to vote, and the passionate support Trump, the tepid support Clinton.

    Result: Trump wins. I'm just plain scared.

  140. Welcome back, Gail. You've been missed.

    "(We have got to start raising the bar on this guy.)" If you want to raise the bar on Trump, delve into his long history of pay-to-play illegal political contributions, how his donees responded and what he gained. There is a reason that word starts with "con", and it plays far to great a role in U.S. politics altogether. Trump University alone should disqualify him from public office, but the press has been far too consumed with Hillary's "very legal" email arrangements, and way too silent on Trump's egregious business conduct in general, and Trump University specifically. Get moving or this "Carnival Barker" is going to be elected, and he'll sink us all.

  141. Trump sounded reasonable, calm and presidential in his question/answer session. His solution to the problems in Obama's incompetent Veterans Administration seems reasonable and prudent: Allow the private health system to back up the VA when it is obviously failing sick, injured and aging vets.

    Who the hell can disagree with that? Unfortunately it is a REAL solution that Hillary cant embrace because of liberal ideology. Would she rather they just die in the waiting rooms when they cant get essential appointments, as has been the practice in the Obama administration?

  142. Why disagree with it? Because it's more expensive and Republicans claim that they like to be fiscally conservative, we know they love not spending money on people who really need it and have earned it.

    We also have a shortage of doctors in this country so flooding our private health care system with vets might not get them care any faster than they would get it through the VA.

  143. Congratulations, Matt 'Trey Gowdy' Lauer !

    You've won the starring role in Fake Journalism's 2016 remake of that 2015 'Fair and Balanced' Classic, the Benghazi Salem Witch Trial about the persecution of Hillary Clinton for the high crimes of being female and for running for a 'man's job'.

    If Matt Lauer - or any other journalist - knew how to do a 'man's job', they would've asked Donald Trump a few questions about his own past such as:

    1. Don't you think that the 200 undocumented laborers (illegal immigrants) from Poland that demolished the site for Trump Tower and later sued you in federal court - a case that was settled and 'sealed' in secrecy - for unpaid wages is relevant to your character ?

    2. Don't you think your $25,000 donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, your $35,000 donations to Governor Greg Abbott's (and former Texas AG), and your $12,500 donation to New York’s AG Eric Schneiderman - all of whom were considering whether or not to pursue a suit against the now defunct Trump University for widespread consumer fraud - is relevant to your character, especially since you said earlier this year, quote unquote:

    “I’ve given to everybody. Because that was my job. I gotta give to them. Because when I want something, I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass.”

    Mr. Trump, what exactly did you 'want' when you sent money to several state Attorneys General looking into your apparently fraudulent business ?

    Welcome to American journalism: The Land of Eunuchs !

  144. Or how about this follow-up question, after the "put men and women together" answer Trump gave to the vet who asked about sexual assault?:

    So is rape something automatic or inevitable when you "put them together", or is it a horrible crime of violence that should be prosecuted criminally?

    Of course, a eunuch-journalist probably wouldn't have thought of that! Seriously, why would any woman vote for Trump, after that comment?!

  145. "and Mr. Trump, why do you continue to insist that you were against he Iraq war from the beginning? When we have heard the Howard Stern radio interview where you supported the invasion?"

  146. Staggering that Trump is not crucified by the media every time he opens his mouth. Matt Lauer- journalist? Really? Mr. Powderpuff questions to Trump then hung upon the emails. What a lightweight.

  147. From the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to a Commander-In-Chief forum. What exactly did anyone expect from a hard hitting Today show host. Hillary Clinton must beat the other team and the refs. Fortunately, that won't be difficult to do.....Lauer is irrelevant.

  148. Metaphorically, Donald Trump's behavior, decision making capacity and how he has conducted his various ventures brings to mind Captain Francesco Schettino. Schettino was at the helm of the Concordia when he ran the ship into rocks off Tuscany (Jan '12). Schettino was traveling too fast; was too close to shore, failed to consult maps & used the wrong land mark to turn the ship. He failed to notify the Italian Coast Guard- they learned from a passenger's Mother 1/2 hour after the collision. In the mean time, the good Captain had abandoned his sinking ship with 300 passengers & crew, and, refused to return when instructed. The August 2nd Newsweek has a great piece on Trump's actual career. Net, Mr. Trump has exacted his fees while abandoning investors, employees and businesses with whom he has contracted. The media needs to stop with the false equivalencies and overtly, misogynist double standard.

  149. Trump's brain is very accomplished as perceiving slights, insults, and unwanted reminders on his reversals of position (or at least what he perceives as slights, insults and attacks on his shifts). As for facts, truth, reason...these are lost in the murk and shadows. Donald's hair may glow in the dark, but the light doesn't flow to the roots.

    Thank you, Gail, for this sentence: "Most candidates for high office are grateful to veterans for their service, and a little uneasy if they didn't serve themselves." Currently 80% of Congress, 100% of SCOTUS and close to that of the Executive branch fall into that category. The 20% of congresspersons who are vets is still a slight drop from their numbers in 1971, the year I was discharged. That is, it's a slight drop if going from 73% to 20% is a barely measurable decrease. I would imagine there is a lot of squirming and shifting in the chairs going on when military and veterans issues are the subject of discussion. I find it disconcerting that my congressman, Mac Thornberry, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, failed to find the time or take the opportunity to serve. Just sayin...

    But I digress. Back to Trump and his life-threatening heel spurs. Well, at least he had an excuse, even if it was the equivalent of note from a doting Mom, written to get her precious son back into class without punishment for a day spent playing hooky. Or was it for a trip to doctor for a shot of penicillin?

  150. I'm just sayin' too, and with respect, that citing the 73% of 1973 congressmen who served in the military without also mentioning that we had a military draft until January of 1973 is an example of cherry picking facts to make a misleading point.

  151. I'm just sayin' too that your analysis is cherry-picking as well. There was a military draft in until 1973, but a little less than 10% were conscripted. If 73% of congressmen were veterans in 1973, the voters obviously valued military service.

  152. Luke, I am 100% in favor of universal service (military Americorps, or other public program), even to the point of making it a requirement for the privilege of voting. I'm not picking any cherries.

  153. Today, the Times placed a "news analysis" item on its front page of last night's debate precursor.

    The tenor of this "news analysis" appeared to re-assure the liberal faithful that DT is a loud-mouthed bum, Hill is oppressed as a female candidate, and the real villain is poor Matt Lauer, who was the real debate loser because he failed to eviscerate orange-head.

    Whether DT wins or not, it is really something to see him drive the Times to such partisan heights as daily violating its own professed journalistic standards by mixing fact and opinion reporting with such dubious entitled first-page pieces such as the above "news analysis."

    It almost makes one long for the good ole days when the Times displayed a graph, during Hamas's last missile war on Israel, of how many Jews vs. Arabs died on a particular day. As if evil can be rated on how many innocents must die to justify self-defense. But I notice there is no graph comparing total Muslim deaths to the number of fascists killed by Obama's drone strikes.

    When you got the Times' endorsement, they sure have your back, without pretense of non-partisanship.

  154. " its own professed journalistic standards by mixing fact and opinion reporting with such dubious entitled first-page pieces such as the above "news analysis."

    This is common practice: news plus an opinion. That you find it so offensive means only you don't read very much.

  155. The Democrat panic is setting in. It is quite enjoyable to watch. No one has adequately addressed Hillary's honesty problem. Or is it a memory problem. The weekly FBI dump of emails that were withheld, as she attempted to obstruct justice is quite damaging. She isn't trustworthy. I don't know anyone that is with Her. The Democratic Party nominee is in trouble! It's down to a 2 point race, and that gap is closing fast. What now?

  156. Indeed, it is difficult to address her honesty problem when the problem exists mostly in the minds who hate her or have been influenced by the constant drumbeat of how dishonest she is. We have a choice between a candidate whose fraudulence has amply documented, was fined for unethical behavior, stuck investors with worthless shares, stiffed naive students by offering the Art of the Deal (the Trump version) in a shadow Trump University, and on and on; and one whose dishonesty is the product of a relentless campaign to discredit her. That Trump is even within a mile of the White House should be cause for seriously examining what is wrong with this country.

  157. Nice try. But with your leader Trump, the grifter, you lie.

  158. Not in the states, where Clinton holds a major lead in electoral votes. Read before you comment.

  159. That veterans would sit and listen to a man who so disdainfully avoided military service and who has done nothing of significance in his life in the public service realm is disturbing on every level.

  160. That's THEIR problem. Putting a uniform on a fool doesn't make him less of a fool.

  161. That T rump leads 55-35 among veterans tells me we need to do a better job of educating our military.
    Any military person of any gender or rank who supports this impostor is not fit to serve in "my" armed forces.

  162. Lauer is not a journalist. He is, at best, an entertainment host.
    I am not a veteran. Our treatment of veterans is despicable regarding health care. People on the right, always waving the flag and declaring their undying patriotism, think that issuing a health care card will solve the problem? Yet another slap in the face for the honorable veteran men and women who unselfishly served our country.

  163. You have to wonder how the military folks who signed the trump letter feel about it now, having been reduced to rubble and all.

  164. The public is not going to learn much of anything that is reliably insightful about Clinton and Trump unless and until they are interviewed by journalists who are considerably more competent, experienced, knowledgeable and morally daring than Matt Lauer.

    The list of moderators for the three upcoming debates offers little reason to believe that will happen before the November election.

  165. Trump: "Under Clinton and Obama the generals have been reduced to rubble, they have been reduced to the point where they're an embarrassment to our country" and he goes on to point out that "we have a force of maybe 30,000 or so, nobody really knows how many, really."

    According to data from the Department of Defense: 1,354,054 active military (leaving out the National Guard and Reserves).

    He just sort of opens his mouth and vomits and the TV talking heads go straight to Obama's opinion of this idiocy and nobody offers any context or actual facts. Stephen Colbert might call it Truthiness. No wonder we are in danger of electing a reality show host to the White House, one who lauds Putin for his approval ratings (like sales?), insults large swaths of the citizenry and offers a biography largely full of self-aggrandizement, carnival barker moxie, and shallowness of knowledge, insight, and empathy.

    We want a Lincoln and forget that Lincoln barely won re-election and had to sneak into Washington because so many hated him (and one killed him) or Kennedy as if he were a saint and that fatal day in November never happened. This is not a movie where the heroes are pure, their bullets true, and the villains created to stand in as foils. But if we're not careful, we'll end up with an Idiocracy.

    I wish Clinton didn't have baggage. I wish we had a polished Lincolnesque effigy who had never made a wrong decision. But barring a miraculous second coming...

  166. Clinton's "baggage" is made up repugniklan conspiracy theories.

  167. I am a Democrat and a staunch supporter of Secretary Clinton. I find Trump to be repugnant and totally unqualified in every way.

    But I must point out that you misunderstood Trump about the 30,000. He was referring to ISIS, not the US military.

  168. Where are the questions about Trump University, or Trump’s using illegal Polish workers to work under illegal conditions and refusing to pay them, his stiffing contractors or using lawsuits of threats of them to renegotiate fully performed contracts. Trump has put people out of work, exported American jobs, and has defrauded so many that he needs and army of lawyers to defend the suits against him. He is a reckless and predatory liar and he makes grandiose and bazar promises which he can never deliver.

    Trump has a personality defect that renders him unfit for any office. This man is running for king and he thinks he is a god.

  169. Putin has "an 82% approval rating, and Trump uses that as an excuse for his admiration. I wonder what the rating would be for people who could express their opinions freely in the new Soviet-style state of Russia? Trump has to keep his plans secret, because he doesn't have any, and voters are supposed to "trust" him to do the right thing. Like he has any experience doing the right thing. He's a pathological liar, cheater, adulterer, racist, narcissistic, low information misanthrope. Not fit to be a dog catcher.

  170. Regarding Trump, as my father used to say: "This is s**t, this is shinolla. It would be good if you knew the difference."

  171. To clarify all this discussion about military service among the ruling class: with the greening of America, the division of our society into the 99 and the 1 over the past 40 years, it became quite clear to all that the wars of aggression in which we became entrenched which served as political capital for war mongering political ideologues and a wealth source for their war- profiteering plutocratic owners were never meant to be executed by the 1 and their coddled offspring. Their lives and career aspirations were much too valuable to the nation. The task of fighting and dying in these wars fell squarely where it was intended: on the backs of the 99 whose lives were valueless and who were so easily interchangeable . And there were so many of them.

  172. There is suddenly a whiff of fear in the air. The Clinton defensive masque was firmly affixed after no high fives were suddenly pitched her way at the onset. Particularly after the initial high and in fastball was zeroing in from friendly fire in what was expected to be a mere on-board fireside chat.

    With acronyms flying at each questioner, the formerly unchallenged Queen’s demeanor remained defiant. Sitting awkwardly, should she stand and become more strident or just stiff and wooden, much like her ideology, at the edge of the seat. This was grand and unexpected theater and suddenly the shorter sentences and syntax of the rival Trump look like the high-rise next to a now Clinton reclamation project. Just imagine when questions expose CGI activities.

    Quick resuscitation for Bernie please as Hillary now has the shakes much like hubby Bill.

  173. Ah the mystery Trump fans masquerading as Bernie fans.

    If you care about real people, listen to him and the millions who voted for Clinton. You may not think you're supporting Trump, but that's what you're doing. Try listening to Bernie and Elizabeth Warren and many other progressive heroes who are paying attention. (Those rumors about cheating, there are places in social media that censor narratives they don't like (try Snopes, about that fake Huffpost, etc. The DNC is made up of people, and I doubt your personal emails are free of opinions that you'd prefer not to be published; think about it. It's not hard using a search engine to find things like Hillary's Wellesley speech. Hate speech is easy, but real life is important.)

    We live in a world awash in influence and money; are you really willing to cede all influence to the Koch billionaire network, the Roves and all? The Clintons used their money and influence to help millions of people, and that's a sin? I call it an asset.

    Yes, we need to get rid of it, but do remember that Citizens United was about an attack movie on Clinton. She wants rid of it.

    The "shakes"? Okay, I've been writing as if you were legit, but now I see, that's the latest Republican attack. Enough already.

  174. Get off whatever dope you on. The Bernie boat has sailed, you missed it.

  175. Paul Simon: "Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." Your assessment of last night's performances--a case in point.

  176. Yesterday the head of the F.B.I said with regards to Clinton's e-mails said "At the end of the day, the case was not a cliff hanger, despite all the chest-beating by people no longer in government, there really wasn't a prosecutable case". Yet Clintons emails are all the news media wants to talk about with regards to Clinton. She wasn't even close to being charged, she has admitted her mistake in using a private server, and with anyone else this would be over and done with. Yet again, the Republicans are "swift boating" a Democratic candidate with the generous help of the news media
    It has already been shown by an independent fact checking organization that Clinton has been the most honest candidate running for the Presidency this year, and that includes Bernie Sanders, yet the news media persists in painting her as untruthful and dishonest. If they were to print the truths told by Trump, there would be a blank page.
    This time next year a newly elected President will be well into his or her first term of office. We will reap a very bitter harvest from the news media if that person is Trump. I have pit in my stomach right now that will not go away. I am frightened by the prospect that Trump might actually win the election on nothing more than the whim of those who control the news, because there surely isn't any substance to the man, only hot air and unschooled spouting that pass for toughness.

  177. Where have our American values disappeared? 30 percent of American citizens support this loose cannon.

    Talk of uneven bars - a low one for Trump and a high one for Clinton.

    A candidate for President of these United States talks of taking oil from a country torn with strife! ...and he goes unchallenged by the moderator.

    A candidate for the President of these United States lauds Putin, who is a dictator and has annexed Crimea and occupied Ukraine. He claims that Putin has 82 percent approval ratings. Maybe he should run as a candidate in Russia.

    A candidate for President of these United States disparages our Generals in front of the men (and veterans) they command. He has no values we hold dear. Neither does he have any knowledge of basic management principles.

    This man, married three times, tweeted that sexual harassment is a natural outcome of men and women who are put together in working situation.

    And he cast a negative light on the professionals who provide him his top secret briefings.

    What is appalling at this juncture is he has a base support of 30 percent.

    It should not require a college degree to discern right from wrong. Maybe it is time to take a hard look at what we teach our children - true American values.

  178. Trump's success to date is proof that many Americans vote unwisely. Even a person learning about Clinton and Trump for the first time would see how much more thoughtful and articulate she is than him. Even if they were in lockstep on the issues, those two characteristics alone would demonstrate Clinton's superiority as a candidate.

    I am disappointed by the lack of judgment shown by my fellow Americans who choose to support Trump. Anybody who follows the news at more than a cursory level should be able to discern what a terrible candidate he is. What we are facing is a dilemma where bad Americans make bad choices that jeopardize the whole country.

  179. I wouldn't call Trump supporters "bad Americans," but I would call them gullible, myopic, disgruntled, and desperate. As to their "bad choice," no argument from me.

    In view of how easily voters seem to "swing" from one side to the other, I'm scared to think about moody, impulsive voters in Florida and/or Pennsylvania making a ghastly difference in November.

  180. I've just spent five weeks in a VA hospital with them saving my life. I've also had excellent care in on non- Va hospital with a huge bill and another that the VA paid for during the Hurricane Sandy debacle. On the other hand I checked into a large private NYCity hospital Roosevelt/St Lukes and walked seventeen hours later with a $12,000 plus bill for services $1,200 of which I paid as a deductable for no answers. I checked out because the tests were endless and I could see the money just being thown away. Private is sometimes great but only if you have the money and the VA is a great system severely understaffed and under funded. My five weeks at Saint Albans in Queens and the intitial service in the ER at Manhattan 23rd street, was a real lesson in how fine the system is and how heroic the staff is in the face of a recalcitrant Congress that cares only about money and although filled with doctors who love potential babies in petri dishes, have little to say for you once you are born, sick or wounded. Those doctors in Congress should have to serve a couple of years, as volunteers, in the VA as community service for their dereliction of duty in the Congress. REH

  181. If anyone cares about the issues, much substance is available from Readers' and NYT Picks, particularly from people who have actually, you know, checked the facts and know something about the issues, unlike Mr. Dumpster Fire Trump with his hate rhetoric and false claims.

    All of his claims run contrary to facts, but Matt Lauer couldn't be bothered, he was too busy attacking Clinton to notice that she'd done her homework and has a good record.

    So we increase the military (whether they want it or not) and old-fashioned weapons, and that'll fix ISIS? Nope. They love him, because their style of recruitment thrives on hatred, and he loves hatred.

    Some people actually think, but Trump just figures out what his fans want to hear and uses a megaphone.

    And taxes? He's going to cut them, while building up the military? Just like Bush, telling us to go out and shop. Debts? What are those, he's experienced at welshing, from bankruptcies to lawsuits to lies to stiffing working stiffs and contractors. Money's better used for bribes.

    Those emails, the press is guilty of promoting negative gossip and avoiding substance. No mention of how Chaffetz and his buddies voted to defund embassy security. This set of Republicans are good at creating problems and blaming their opponents for them.

    The Clinton Foundation is an asset, not a liability. Doing good by doing well; the Clintons leveraged their power and wealth to help millions. This should not be ignored; it's on the record.

  182. Trump has by definition (he is an outsider to politics) may have no experience, but Hillary's so-called "wonk mode" is very interesting. Besides being another name for boring, most of her claims are as deceitful as her answers about her emails.

    She claimed responsibility for children's health insurance (no that was Ted Kennedy and Bill opposed it) and touted her own health insurance scheme (which was so bad a Democrat congress scuttled it) and she was responsible for the Libyan intervention disaster where she ignored all advice about the aftermath. Now she claims bragging rights on Libya, a low point in Obama's diplomacy where Russia has trumped us (excuse the phrase).

    It is really difficult to accept the common wisdom that Hillary is qualified to be president - most senators and Secretaries of State were not. Certainly a true statesmen would not have so many people believe she is dishonest.

  183. In response to the above a LOT OF PEOPLE once thought the world was flat .

  184. She worked incessantly to pass children's health care and my family was one of the beneficiaries of her tireless efforts.

    Not to mention, are you implying that this treasonous conman Trump is a better alternative to her, no matter how flawed you may find her?

  185. Crooked lying Trump's intervention last night was pathetic, as was Matt Lauer's, by allowing misogyny to roam free, and by maintaining Trump's incoherence alive, as if our time to listen to this pathological lier wasn't a total waste. The 'Veterans' frustration was palpable, given Trump's fanning of fear and hate, belittling the military to smithereens. The high hopes of this conference were confined to a fighting Hillary to show confidence and substance...given that arrogant Trump was a lost cause from start to finish, with Lauer's cowed complicity. If this vulgar bully had an ounce of decency, he would go home and sulk in his incompetence and irrelevancy.

  186. Liberals repeatedly write about the vast shortcomings of Trump. And their principal theme is that he is unfit to be elected. But the fact of the matter is that, despite his many shortcomings, Trump is still in the running. The inability of the liberals to understand what is going on in the elections is a clear sign that they are out of touch with a vast number of Americans. Insisting that Trump be rejected when that is not happening is foolhardy. It's time for the liberals to reach an understanding of the political world as it is rather than insisting that it be the way the liberals believe it should be.

  187. I know why Mr. Trump is attractive to many--I hope not a majority--of voters. I understand their anger and feelings of abandonment. I'm a liberal, and I understand. I still reject Mr. Trump with all my heart. And I hope and trust that a vast number of Americans agree with me.

  188. It seems that in the eyes of millions of Americans the fact that Trump has begun speaking in full sentences (albeit with a teleprompter) now qualifies him for the Presidency. The fact that the sentences are replete with distortions, misinformation and outright lies doesn't matter at all.

  189. What I find most fascinating this election cycle is how the media has led voters down a path of false equivalencies. There really is no lesser of two evils. The people in this country are so astounding stupid that they think Clinton is the corrupt one (no record of that which is true) and that Trump is truthful and innocent (but has a long history of breaking the law, lying, failed business, fraudulent business practices and outright theft... And the list goes on.

    When Clinton was Secretary of State trump was on record praising her and that she was "quite possibly the best" sec'y of state...

    I'm with her.

  190. "(We have got to start raising the bar on this guy.)"

    The author wants to have one's cake and eat it too. The Clinton campaign lowered the bar for assessment pf Trump by choosing to cast Trump as "dangerous," incompetent, unstable, and stupid. He may be all of those things, and has certainly seemed that way at times. But the trade-off for characterizing him that way is that you make it relatively easy for him to look good; he just has to behave normally.

    I've read this author's previous pieces, and she was very happy with the location of "the bar" when Trump was under the bar - as he was with the Khans. The author is "in the tank" for Clinton but does not want to take the good consequence of that allegiance with the bad.

    Each candidate is being judged on the basis his or her opponent set out for him or her. Trump, perhaps wisely, focused on characterizing Clinton as "crooked." She's being evaluated, however fairly or unfairly, on that basis.

    It may just be that, on this point of strategy, Trump chose more wisely than Clinton did.

  191. Perhaps a return to NY Military Academy would be the best outcome for Trump. Now owned by Chinese investors, with 29 students after bankruptcy, there would be plenty of room. Since Trump seems to have failed to gain any discipline or fondness for accuracy and truth in his first term there, that might be a good focus for his 'graduate studies." Unfortunately, the school's other best known attendee(he did not graduate), John Gotti, is no longer with us to help revive the institution. They would have made a great team.

  192. Actually, Putin respects her enough to use Russia's vaunted cyber force to attack her. Buddying up to him and supporting and imitating his bully tactics is not a good recipe for my country.

    Trump wouldn't have survived being Secretary of State for a week!

  193. There is a reason why most vets and military people are voting for Trump. Obama has decimated the military and both he and Hillary Clinton have made a greater mess out of the Middle East. Clinton's skirt will never be respected by Putin or the Middle East. Even if she continues to wear her matronly pants suits.

  194. "Decimate" means to destroy ten percent of a quantity--typically soldiers, structures, etc. It comes from the Latin word for ten. It was a rarely used form of punishment visited upon defeated segments of the Roman army by their commanders to to frighten remaining troops into fighting to the death. A true modern decimation is the infamous sequester in which most federal budget items were slashed by 10% by the Congress. I suppose this was meant to frighten as well. Too bad the term is now used to indicate any diminution or destruction no matter what the numerical reality.

  195. "Decimated the military": I'm not aware of any significant cuts in funding to the military industrial complex in the past 8 years. Was it really possible to make a "greater mess" out of the middle east than the previous administration? The middle east was pretty stable (as in, no civil war, or countries overrun by suicide bombers) until about 2003, in other words while Saddam was in power. What if the US had intervened in Syria in 2011 as so many conservatives wanted? Then we'd really be in a mess. Why should I care whether Putin or some Middle-Eastern strongman like Assad respects Clinton or not? Since when have Russian or Middle-Eastern dictators and their wishes been been something we had to be sensitive about? We get to elect our own president, and I cannot support a president who is cozy with Putin.

  196. Well, Janis, that was a sexist comment if ever there was one. Do you think Putin will respect that orange haired orangutan? Think again. And if vets and military people are voting for Trump, then they'll get exactly what they deserve. Nothing. Not the dirt under his fingernails. That man has never done anything for anyone but himself, ever.

  197. Unfortunately, I'm in no mood to laugh this morning. There is simply nothing light-hearted about the prospect of President Trump or the fact that the American media is unable or unwilling to expose him for what he truly is.

  198. I watched in horror. One of these two will soon be voted "off the island." We are a nation of idiots. Even the smart people are idiots. So what if the emperor has no clothes. Everyone else is running around naked, too.

  199. Thank heavens Gail is back! So much ridiculousness in our country with this bizarre election, where we are given a choice whether we will eat boiled kale or chocolate covered ants for dinner.

    "We have got to start raising the bar on this guy."

    Absolutely! Frankly, are we to believe Trump graduated from the Wharton School--what courses did he take, what were his grades, did he ever attend class or learn anything--any thing?

    I know we asked for Sarah Palin's grades and college transcripts to no avail. I don't think we ever found out how many and which colleges she attended and abandoned. A similar pattern with her Alaska governorship.

    But, after Trump's "doctored" letter from his gastroenterologist stating: “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” can we really trust what Trump says about being educated the Wharton School? Or, maybe he did go to the Wharton School. But if so, they might want to ask for their diploma back.

    While we are into "raising the bar," can we also please raise it for the TV stars chosen to moderate the debates and interview the presidential candidates?

    Have we hit bottom yet? Plenty of material for Gail's columns anyway.

  200. many people are asking why professional media types cannot seem to confront trump when he lies with such staggering confidence.

    it's because his depth of sociopathy far exceeds their skills as interviewers or journalists. most 'normal' people would feel some level of anxiety when being interviewed. not trump. he is a better and more accomplished liar than any public figure we have seen in our lifetime.

  201. That it was a veterans' forum and devoted so little time to actual veterans' issues just exemplifies the sort of political idiocy to which we submit. My gosh, we've become stupid.

    Kind of makes me long for the days of Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle. At least back then we had a standard for intelligence in our politicians below which a politician could not go without suffering widespread ridicule. Now, Trump can do everything but drool, and still be considered presidential.

    This is what happens when the electorate spends all its time watching TV and not reading books.

  202. We seem to have forgotten that there are two types of soldiers in American history: (1) citizen soldiers, who are drafted or volunteer during a time of war and (2) professional soldiers, who join the military because that is a career they wish to pursue, or, because it is (often) the only option they have for a job. We also have a large "reserve" of professional soldiers who can be mobilized in case of need and sent to places like Afghanistan or Iraq. We have not had any "citizen" soldiers since Nixon ended the draft. The citizen soldiers were skeptical about the military and brought a civilian point of view into its ranks. The career guys hated them. Too bad. They were a healthy sort of soldier class. The professionals are not mercenaries, but they are not all heroes and heroines, as depicted. They are folks who like to fight wars. They are the "standing army" our Founding Fathers warned against. Let's remember that, and also we need to pay them well and give them the health care services they are entitled too. Politically, they do not deserve any greater weight than the rest of us.

  203. Since 9/11/01 a mere 0.75% of Americans have volunteered to put on the military uniform of any American armed force. As in their cowardly mutually dishonorable unpatriotic draft dodging and military service evading past none of them come from either the Clinton or Trump family and friends clan. They have been ground to emotional, mental and physical dust fighting in foreign ethnic sectarian civil wars that have no military solution.

    Hillary Clinton is a barking little dainty poodle nation building global interventionist beholden to Cairo, Riyadh, Tel Aviv and the military-industrial complex. Donald Trump is a barking Chihuahua nationalist isolationist beholden to Wall Street, London, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Tel Aviv and the military-industrial complex.

    No one hates war more than warriors. During this "debate forum" there clearly was no commander-in -chief material on board the mothballed aircraft named Intrepid. Incompetent, Immature, Ignorant or Intemperate would have been more apt names.

    Dwight Eisenhower's warning about the dangers to American liberty poised by the rise of the military-industrial complex is embodied from two different but troubling perspetives by these two very flawed candidates. War and peace are much too important nation state matters than to be left to the machinations of the uniformed military.

  204. While veterans deserve our respect and gratitude, please refrain from insinuating that serving in the military is a necessary experience for the Presidency.

  205. Indeed, two of our greatest wartime presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, did not serve in the military. Of course, both were wise, intelligent leaders who recognized good advice when they got it. The same could not be said of Donald Trump.

  206. "He babbled on, trying to save himself, but it was really way too late."

    Too late for what? It should have been too late for this 5th grade bully posing as a presidential candidate when he first announced his intentions 15 months ago. Watching the 1st half of the forum last night I felt my adrenaline rising in anticipation of Lauer being as tough on Trump as he was being on Clinton. Of course, that turned out to be a pipe dream. Why this unqualified, deranged man is getting a free ride from the press is something that baffles me to no end. As big of a problem Trump is with his lies, obfuscation and his nonsensical non-sentences, my frustration has become less and less with Trump as it is with the press for allowing him to get away with it. The general public doesn't have the opportunity and access that the press has to the candidates. It is up to them to be the eyes, ears and voice for us, and to ask the questions and get answers, real answers, and when they are not forthcoming to ask again or question the logic and validity of responses. Clinton's feet were held to the fire last night but the closest Trump got to any heat was probably in his tanning bed earlier in the day.

  207. Yes it is time to raise the bar on Trump. Just because he can now stumble through reading from a teleprompter something somebody else wrote for him does not mean he is more presidential or ready for office. I have recorded the 'forum' but havent decided if I want to watch it. I cannot stomach even seeing him at all. I assume he was asked softball questions and not questioned further when he disagreed with something he said last year, last week or 30 minutes ago. The fact that Matt asked Hillary questions about emails and this was supposed to be a forum on the military is disgusting, he should be ashamed of himself.

  208. Saying we have got to raise the bar on treatment of Trump while lowering the bar, is disengenous at best. What was the point of this editorial? False equivalency? Trump's performance was scary-firing generals, lovin on Putin, doing who knows what for the veterans. Trump's trip to Mexico was a disasterous, novice play, using and embarrassing an ally yet it is treated by Collins as a normal occurrance. When the press is too inept to do their work, what can we do? It makes the future seem frightening.

  209. The most revealing moment was Clinton's answer to a veteran, an R, who had held a top-secret naval flight clearance & who said he would have been "prosecuted & imprisoned" had he done what Clinton had done. He told Clinton she had "clearly corrupted our national security."

    Clinton's answer, that the emails contained no headers, is her latest lie to justify putting classified material in the public domain/compromising our national security. Recall what we learned about headers from her previously released email: SoS Clinton had instructed her aide, Jake Sullivan, to send classified material to her by removing "identifying heading & send nonsecure.”

    This woman is a clear & present danger. If her name were Hillary Schmo, she wouldn't pass an FBI background check for an entry-level post. As the questioner implied, she would be contemplating four walls of a jail cell, not a possible stint in the WH. The FBI 302 confirms the accuracy of my July analysis, (posted earlier), that the fix was in, i.e., HC was a Martha-Stewart sitting duck but escaped perjury or self-incrimination & indictment by pleading the functional 5th ("I don't recall") & by the FBI failing to follow up with incriminating questions that would elicit intent, which Comey said he needed to prosecute.

    "I never received or sent emails marked classified"
    She claims with nary crossed fingers
    Knowing content–not markings–controls classification
    The stench of corruption lingers.
    (Jake Sullivan deleted heading zingers)…

  210. Remember what the alternative to Mrs. Clinton is.

  211. Stop letting Limbaugh and Ailes and Murdock do your thinking for you.
    If she is a crook she is the best crook in the history of human kind for her ability to avoid indictment. Either way she is definitely qualified to be a world leader.
    T rump is not qualified for anything.

  212. Can you prove that, or is this just another blurring of the truth? Condemn with innuendo seems to be the way those who attack Hillary operate, and no one questions it because it's become "fact".

  213. 'Trump explained why he was keeping his plan for defeating ISIS secret. (“I have a substantial chance of winning. If I win, I don’t want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is.”)'

    'I have a secret plan to end the war.'
    Stop me if you've heard this one. I know I have.
    Not only did Nixon *not* have a secret plan, during the campaign he secretly met with South Vietnamese leaders to persuade them to pull out of peace talks - arguably treason, as he had no authority to do so- successfully sabotaging Humphrey's late surge in the polls and leading to Humphrey's narrow defeat. As president, not only did Nixon not end the war, he expanded it into Laos and Cambodia. His strategy included the 'madman' hypothesis, i.e., the hope that North Vietnamese leaders would see him as unpredictable, unstable, and likely to 'drop the big one' if they didn't surrender. Ultimately, after Nixon resigned in disgrace due to Watergate, Ford presided over exactly the ignoble exit his predecessor claimed to want to avoid, sneaking out in the middle of the night, leaving behind, to the mercy of the Viet Cong, any South Vietnamese fool enough to trust us and collaborate with us; and destabilized Cambodia fell to Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who conducted a genocide notorious for its horror, even for the bloody 20th Century.
    Good work, Dick.
    Trump is rebooting the Nixon playbook. We can expect similar results.

  214. I don't believe Turmp believes a single thing that he says or has said in the course of his campaign--all of it, spontaneous or scripted, is all just an attempt at pandering to a particular group at a particular time, in the hopes of getting that group's recognition.

    All Trump believes in is Trump, and the need for Trump, and Trump brands, to "win yuge" . And that is why he can say such wildly disparate thing to different constituencies, and appear to be constantly flip-flopping on positions. He's only currying favor, and ten minutes later he'll be attempting to curry favor with some other group. It's all in the service of getting people to look at him, to know of him. Being liked is not necessary; just the need to be known as a "player", so that later, when he's trying to get business advantage or start a media empire or whatever, he'll have enough Q-recognition to claim if you get into bed with him it's a good "deal".

    Trump'll say anything, do anything to enhance his personal brand and name recognition (even if the majority of those who recognize the name disdain it--there is no such thing, in his world, as bad publicity). Consistent principles and moral codes are for suckers, because people of all political and philosophical stripes buy apartments, gamble in casinos, eat steaks, and watch media. Who cares, as long as the eyeballs, and hopefully the money, keep pouring in.

    Of course, becoming President gets you the highest Q-rating of all.

  215. We declined the privilege of watching this farce. What could one expect of a presentation featuring on the one hand, a serious politician with a record and policies to discuss and defend, and on the other, an TV celebrity most noted for ill-advised Twitter posts and ex tempore mouth-farting?

  216. Yes the candidates were handled differently, which began in the first Donald Trump minute. Clear difference in tone immediately, and body language. "Try (!!) to stick to a policy discussion" or some such, as opposed to how he laid it out for Hillary.

    Not much Hillary can do about that (though her surrogates can do plenty) except to continue to lay out her case for the presidency. She has my respect and certainly my vote.

  217. To be clear, (C) is supposed to be atop the email. ISeparate (C) designations are for confidential negotiating points, and are public once negotiations are complete. If anyone has ever given a deposition one would know why the answer I can't remember so often appears. So no, Petraus skated and yes, higher ups often do. Before one judges the use of private versus state servers, please watch Mark Cuban on FoxNews (it was 9/6 or 9/7). He was very clear about private servers. And really, do you not see that an email does not go to/from The honorable people who serve in our military deserve a leader who values their lives, not one who considers us fodder. And while I have military members in my family. I am not in the military.

  218. I think we should see Matt Lauer's emails.

    About those emails. Can we all take a step back and realize we are all human? We have opinions. We say stuff. It's a new world, where young and old have varying skills with the internet.

    Secretary of State is a big job. Clinton performed it well (see the record). She decided, based on with 20/20 hindsight, inadequate advice, that it would be OK to have her IT people set up a server that was convenient for her.

    Given her enemies, it is surprising that nobody has yet revealed those emails, while the State Department was hacked last year, another government server gave up 21.5 million personal IDs, and both the DNC and RNC have been hacked. Perhaps they're waiting for a critical moment? Yes, there are 60+ more days.

    Meanwhile, I am terrified, because I don't think our country, or even our world, will survive four years of this. Aside from the rampant hate and militarism, there's climate change, which some people may have noticed is getting bloody obvious.

    You can run but you cannot hide.

    Vote Democratic down the line, to your town and schoolboard, and don't skip midterms. Stop demanding perfection and enabling evil.

  219. I left out the bit about the changed world that has changed the definition of privacy. I'm so glad my youth happened before the internet, so my history is my own business. Every misstep, every adjustment, every effort, every misconception, it's all public these days. Apparently Trump is immune from criticism of his "realism" which is as ugly as it gets. Clinton is attacked on the part of her record that can be attacked, without much "balance" about the good stuff, and there's lot of that.

    The screen world is not the whole world. One big flood, one big storm, one big fire, and you're stuck with real reality. Climate change is real, it's here, and hiding doesn't make it go away. That's what I mean by "you can run but you cannot hide."

  220. Donald Trump gets just about everything exactly wrong . . . except: Whomever crafted his plan to reform veterans' health care has it exactly right. The US health system is fractured and dysfunctional in so many ways, not the least of which is that veterans have more obstacles to care than almost any other group. Having veterans cared for on a par with Medicare recipients, and their benefits managed by the same system would be an admirable start to fixing our bloated, clunky and remarkably cost-ineffective health care system.

  221. Most sexual assaults in the military are on men. Should the Armed Forces stop admitting men into their ranks? That would put an end to the military. Alternatively, they should separate men from men. Me thinks, just following Trumpian logic.

  222. "Clinton dived into her work mode."

    No truer words could be said about Hillary Clinton last night.

    She answered the questions, standing, directing her words into the ears of the veterans and us. She spoke with clarity. Her experience was her demeanor. We know she prepared in the best way she possibly could have to present herself as she is: intelligent, prepared, committed, and in her words describing a president - steady - and in Lauer's words - good judgement.

    She did not get a fair shake from Lauer. But maybe not so bad of a show in the long run - she rose above it. She held steady, serious, determined.

    Unlike her opponent, where everything seemed to be off the cuff, opinion, not fact, she shone.

    It just makes me say - Thank you, Hillary Clinton. You have taken the lives of us Americans seriously. This is no half cocked popularity scheme to you. It is serious, it is real.

    Incidentally, from what we were asked to swallow about Iraq - from George Bush and Colin Powell and George Tenet and Dick Cheney - how many of us also would have voted for the War in Iraq? Congress was being asked to protect the American people from Sadam Hussein - and those weapons of mass destruction.

    We had just already been wounded by 9/11 in the most horrendous way.

    I really need to ask. If you had been Hillary Clinton at the time - what would you have done?

  223. Shame on you Matt Lauer.

  224. And just Where have you been, young lady? It has been a long, boring summer without you. Welcome back! :)

  225. If the American people want a slick, used car salesman (not to disparage honest used car salesmen) for their president, it would appear that is who they will get.

  226. The emperor has no clothes ... with the possible exception of his manufactured overseas wardrobe.

  227. There was nothing of substance in any Trump's responses last night; which is not really news to anyone. Why does there seem to be a double standard in the line of questioning? Matt did the entire forum a disservice by neglecting to ask any follow-up questions to Trump as he did indeed "babble on". I was already yelling at the television when Matt started off the forum with those wretched e-mails. I don't know what else HRC or anyone else could possibly say about them at this point. He wasted valuable time on them and then rushed her through the rest of her 20 minutes.

    And why is no one jumping up and down about the absolutely crazy intelligence briefings/"I know body language" answer?

  228. I could not watch the actual interviews but have been much interested in reading the various responses

    I'm actually glad that I had to miss it and instead read the verbatim transcript.

    Even if you heard it you should read it so you can really absorb - get the full effect - of Donald's inarticulation, inability to finish a sentence, inability to stay on focus, to answer a straightforward question with a straightforward answer that actually makes sense.

    Read it - and ask yourself if you want this man to be on the School Board, let alone hold the most powerful office in the world.

  229. I feel like we have been twilight-zoned.

    Give Hillary a bruising question, then ask Trump things like "who made your tie?" (I paraphrase).

    This is the PRECISE climate of 16 years ago. W was bumbling, but there was little talk of what happens when we elect a stupid person for president. FF to 2016 and the new normal is the president from Idiocracy.

  230. Sorry, Gail, you missed the boat on this one. I didn't learn a thing and didn't appreciate your attempted humor, cute analogies, or "kidding". Unless I missed it, there's no mention of how trump and Clinton compare re mental health and the headline has nothing to do with the content. Arms still pertain to guns not health care.

  231. Has anyone been watching the CBS TV series "BrainDead"? That show either explains Donald Trump's behavior or it is the inspiration for his campaign.

    Last night Trump insinuated he learned something shocking about President Obama and Hillary Clinton in a national security briefing--of course it's top secret so he can't talk about it, but it's shocking. BrainDead viewers, which episode did Republican Red Wheatus use the same ploy, insinuating he learned something shocking about Democrats in a top secret briefing?

    Donald Trump is not just an unusual candidate, his behavior is not just bizarre, he is not simply a Washington outsider, he acts like an ALIEN.

    Does Donald Trump have space alien bugs in his head? Does he only have half a brain? Do the writers on the "BrainDead" series know something top secret about Donald Trump? If only Matt Lauer had confronted Trump on his likely bug infection. America needs to know!

    America needs to watch "BrainDead" to better understand our government and why our Congress is failing the country.

  232. I liked how Trump blamed everything on "the generals" just before bragging how many "generals" were supporting him. In both cases, Trump could likely not have named a single general had Lauer bothered to follow up properly.

  233. Frankly the much ballyhooed "forum" was a complete waste of time and Matt Lauer came off as a bit of a fool.

  234. Well, last night we learned that Hillary Clinton thinks and talks in complete paragraphs; Donald Trump can talk in a complete sentence while saying nothing of substance, and Matt Lauer is a lightweight who should stick to interviewing tourists outside 30 Rock. Done, done and done.