Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

It doesn't get more peak Trump than this, when Trump said how he was going to have some kind of ugly outburst against Hillary and her family but just couldn't since it would be wrong. He wants credit for not doing it.

Hillary is hitting me with tremendous commercials, some of it said in entertainment, somebody who's been very vicious to me, Rosie o'donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree she deserves it, and nobody feels sorry for her. I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, I can't do it. I just can't do it. It's inappropriate. It's not nice, but she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads on me, many of which are absolutely untrue.

Let me start by saying that my central prediction about this debate was wrong. I thought Trump's big obstacle was getting pressed on a specific policy question, not having any idea what he was talking about and riffing his way into nonsense or easily controvertible lies. That close to didn't happen at all.

The debate ended up proceeding quite differently. In the first few exchanges Trump was on point pushing a message of economic nationalism, opposition to international trade agreements and job loss. Clinton, notably, barely engaged on this front, preferring to steer her responses to questions about tax equity, middle class families, trickle down economics, etc. But those initial jousts, that focus only lasted for ten or maybe 15 minutes.

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Initial debate reaction coming shortly.

10:37 PM: How much time has Trump spent talking about how much money has been spent, who's polls are up.

10:36 PM: "She deserved it." I was going to say something horrible but I decided not to. Gimme credit.

10:34 PM: Good answer on Stamina.

10:33 PM: STA-MI-NA.

10:29 PM: Putin's briefing on the new nuclear arsenal probably came in handy here.

10:24 PM: How much time do Trump spend tonight doubling down on his lie about opposing the Iraq War?

10:21 PM: Is the idea that he talked to Hannity privately being opposed to the war. And we're supposed to ask Hannity? Has this come up before? The magazine interview Trump is talking about was almost three years after the war started.

10:18 PM: Taking credit for NATO doing stuff on terrorism. "I'm sure I'm not going to get credit for it, it was largely because of what I was saying, and my criticism of NATO."

10:14 PM: Back to saying we should have taken the oil!!!!! Oh please, please, please someone ask him about this!

10:08 PM: She gets in mentioning Trump inviting Putin to hack America more. She's managing to get in many of these key dark moments for Trump.

10:07 PM: On tax returns, Clinton asks: What is he trying to hide?

10:05 PM: Why is Trump bragging that he settled with no admission of guilt? Also, he's demanding credit for setting up a non-racist club in Florida?

10:03 PM: To understand how Donald Trump saw birtherism as a ticket to political power, watch this video.

10:01 PM: "I say nothing." He cannot apologize. He cannot admit a mistake. "I think I did a great job and a great service in getting the President to give his birth certificate."

10:00 PM: He's deep in the fever swamp. "I figured you'd ask the question." <<< what was that about? This Blumenthal thing has already been discredited.

9:59 PM: Oh lord. Sidney Blumenthal?

9:58 PM: "Abused and used" ... "controlled these communities for a hundreds."

9:54 PM: One key in this debate is that there haven't really been many long runs into policy questions. That's helped Trump. It's kept him safe.

9:52 PM: How many times through this has Trump guffawed, rolled his eyes, grunted. A lot of this is about the tone, body language, attitude.

9:47 PM: This from Trump is pretty much like the stump speech he's been giving for months. Walk down the street you get shot. Worse than a war zone. Living in hell. Trump is definitely more back on his message now. But I don't think this is helping for the audience he's trying to speak to.

9:42 PM: "What she doesn't say is that tens of thousands of peep that are unbelievably happy and that love me."

9:40 PM: Clinton shuts down snippy Trump on NAFTA: 'You Live in Your Own Reality.'

9:33 PM: Maybe he's not as rich as he says he is ... There's some thermonuclear trolling here ... You can see the fever brewing now. Stand back! This could get ugly. "There's something he's hiding ..."

9:31 PM: Trump: Our whole economy is about to collapse is a fiery hell ... You pathetic American losers need me.

9:27 PM: I really didn't think Trump would get this hot and off stride so quickly. She's even keeled. Not the greatest orator but very solid. But she looks happy and he looks angry.

9:26 PM: "You've been fighting ISIS you're entire adult life?"

9:24 PM: He's already angry and filibustering.

9:22 PM: He's already getting hot. And we're just 22 minutes in.

9:18 PM: She's already getting to him.

9:16 PM: The pattern is pretty clear so far. Clinton is largely ignoring Trump's trade policy discussion. She's going to a discussion of taxes, trickle down, etc. And with each question she adds another taunt.

9:16 PM: "That's called business."

9:15 PM: Sniff, sniff.

9:13 PM: That line is pretty clearly not true from Trump. This is a good opening to get into that - how much his dad set him up, kept loaning him money.

9:11 PM: Interesting that Clinton basically let's the trade stuff go. Goes right to a different script.

9:07 PM: Clinton basically general, aspirational; Trump goes immediately to economic nationalism, foreign governments squeezing America dry.

9:05 PM: It is beyond imagining that this is happening.

9:00 PM: Interesting what we just heard on MSNBC, that Hillary's big goal here isn't to convert people or convince people who don't like her to like her. Her aim is to get her people motivated. Campaigns spin constantly. Take it as a given that nothing they say should be taken at face value. But that comment sounds true to me.

8:58 PM: Have been wondering for a while just how it goes when these two shake hands. That's after what Trump has said about her and to a lesser extent what she's said about him. We don't have much precedent for that.

Great insights will soon fill this space.

I'll say this again. I think the bigger danger for Trump is not saying something offensive or crazy. It's getting caught out with a question he doesn't know the answer to or doesn't want to answer and going off on a nonsense tangent. I continue to think the national security forum from earlier this month, the Matt Lauer one, is the best guide to what to expect.

You'll almost certainly be watching the big debate tonight. Well, watch with us. I will be live blogging in real time. And the whole TPM news team we'll be here reporting out the details, fact-checking the fibs, grabbing the best clips. It's all hands on deck. Join us.

One of the side avenues in the Fahrenthold blockbuster, which seems to provide good evidence Trump is evading taxes, is the name: Richard Ebers. In recent years, most of the money going into the Trump Foundation has come from Ebers - nearly $1.9 million in total. So if taxes are being evaded, most of it is on money paid to the Foundation by Ebers.

So who is Richard Ebers? He's basically a high-end ticket scalper.

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