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Critical Exchange

Here's a critical exchange from tonight about the Russian disruption campaign in the 2016 election. It's overshadowed by the refusal to accept the results of an election. But it was also crucial for what both candidates said.

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Strongman in Waiting

To understand a debate like this we need to begin with the context. Winning or losing debates doesn't matter. Mike Pence arguably won the Veep debate; but the net effect of the debate hurt his ticket. All that really matters is the impact debates have on the election outcome. Hillary Clinton now has a sizable lead. Trump was the one who needed to dramatically shift the trajectory of the election. By that measure, he clearly failed.

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Debate reax coming shortly.

Shackles Off Debate Live Blog #5

10:36 PM: African-Americans have "no education." ... "Our inner cities are a disaster. You get shot walking to the store. They have no education. They have no jobs. I'll do more for African-Americans and Latinos that she can do for a lifetime."

10:34 PM: I'd say Wallace did a pretty solid job overall. Didn't make himself part of the debate but kept things moving, controlled things.

10:32 PM: "Such a nasty woman." Actually surprised he didn't call her disgusting.

10:31 PM: Trump is 'glad' that Obamacare premiums are going up. Good to know.

10:30 PM: I'll just say it again. The arbiter of budget reality, Social Security, Medicare etc etc is a right-leaning social insurance cutting group. It's a viewpoint. But it is far from established fact. In fact, a lot of it is deliberately misleading.

Shackles Off Debate Live Blog #4

10:25 PM: Again, the arbiter of the debt issue is a right-leaning social spending cutting group, just as it was in one of the earlier debates. That's a problem.

10:22 PM: I agree with the criticism of Hillary here. A no-fly zone puts you into kinetic contact with the Russian army. It is an extremely dangerous step to take at this point. Different a few years ago. But now Russia is a full participant in the civil war. Yes, they wouldn't just do it unilaterally. I'm sure they'd try to negotiate it. But there are a lot of dangers involved.

10:21 PM: Someone's getting angry.

10:20 PM: Trump is really not a great student of military theory and basic concepts.

10:18 PM: "You should ask Bernie sanders who he is supporting. He said you are the most dangerous person to run for president in the modern history of America. I think he's right."

10:15 PM: This screed on Mosul is amazing. The leaders haven't left, the attacks is to help Hillary's campaign and also seemingly talking down how the attack is going. It's a decent example that he hasn't really been watching what's been happening in ISIS territory for the last year.

10:12 PM: Starting to mull the totality of the debate, Trump's done better than in the 1st debate (low bar) and considerably less insane than in the second (low bar). But Clinton has either gotten off a series of devastating attacks or provoked Trump into making very damaging statements.

Shackles Off Debate Live Blog #3

10:10 PM: "I'll keep you in suspense." << whether he'll accept the election results.

10:08 PM: Needless to say, there's no proscription in this country. There's no case where someone is prevented from running for President. Even if you're in jail, I don't think you can actually be prevented from running, though it's not a very good footing.

10:06 PM: "I will look at it at the time." << Whether he'll accept the results of the November 8th election.

10:00 PM: On this thing about Democrats starting violence at Trump rallies, I watched the tapes. It's largely hypotheticals (and of course selectively edited) but what they actually say is that you can send volunteers to Trump events with maybe a Planned Parenthood t-shirts on and Trumpers will physically assault them because they're basically nuts. Showing up with a t-shirt is not inciting violence.

9:59 PM: "This is a pattern, a pattern of divisiveness, of a very dark and in many ways dangerous vision of our country where incites violence, where he applauds people who are pushing and pulling and punching at his rallies."

9:57 PM: "Not fiction where somebody wants fame or where they come out of her crooked campaign."

9:54 PM: "It was lies and it was fictions."

9:52 PM: "Those stories have been largely debunked."

9:51 PM: Trump has managed to steady himself in the second half hour.

9:40 PM: "I've been given a lot of credit" on NATO. This is not true.

Shackles Off Debate Live Blog #2

9:35 PM: We are about exactly a half hour into the debate. The sniffling and grimacing are back. But more importantly she again seems to have gotten under his skin with a number of taunts and jabs.

9:33 PM: Trump repeatedly said in the past that he met with and has a good relationship with Putin. See this piece.

9:31 PM: "Well, that's because he would rather have a puppet as president of the United States." ... "He would rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us."

9:27 PM: So Trump now says Obama is an immigration badass.

9:26 PM: Someone prepped.

9:26 PM: She's starting to get to him.

Shackles Off Debate Live Blog #1

9:24 PM: "Choked" ... the taunting phase of the debate begins.

9:22 PM: "Bad Hombres" for the win.

9:20 PM: Trump very grim. Calm, unchanging face. Hate to say it but low-energy and for some reason no sniffling.

9:15 PM: Remarkably sedate so far. Hillary has an obvious interest in being calm, presidential. She doesn't need any knock out blows. Trump desperately needs a knock out blow. But he also has to stop sounding like a maniac. In other words, the shackles seem in place.

9:12 PM: She was "extremely angry."

9:08 PM: Does Trump know he can't fire Justices?

9:07 PM: Looks like Trump has been prepped about not doing face gymnastics while Secretary Clinton is speaking. Steely jaw and bravery as he looks into the distant horizon.

9:05 PM: Did Trump get a new haircut after the Alec Baldwin thing?

9:02 PM: Amazing that we're hearing that despite doing more conventional prepping, his advisors have no idea whether Trump is going to follow advice or just go up on the stage and go nuts. Presidential material.

8:55 PM: Wisdom will appear here momentarily.

The Clintonites' Rat's Ass

As we prepare for the historic moment when President Obama's estranged half-brother makes an appearance at tonight's final presidential debate, Steve Bannon, Generalissimo of the Trump campaign, is putting out word that more surprises are in store from the Trump debate guest list. Indeed, about an hour ago NBC's Katy Tur tweeted out additional invitees.

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