Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado speaks to reporters about Donald Trump. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post)

With Breanne Deppisch

THE BIG IDEA: It might be Hillary Clinton’s most cunning move since the start of the general election. The Democratic nominee set a trap for Donald Trump in the final minutes of the first debate, and he walked right into it.

The GOP nominee’s decision to take the bait and rehash his past attacks of a former Miss Universe for gaining too much weight is now dominating the conversation. And the controversy is helping the Clinton campaign galvanize Latinos and prevent undecided women from moving toward Trump.

Even as Trump proclaimed victory in New York, he allowed during a Fox News interview yesterday that he let himself get a little too irritated “at the end, maybe” when Clinton brought up Alicia Machado. Machado alleges that Trump called her names such as “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” when she gained weight after winning the Miss Universe crown in 1996.

Trump could have brushed off the question and moved on the next morning, but instead he engaged. “She was the worst we ever had. The worst. The absolute worst. She was impossible,” Trump said of Machado on Fox. “She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem.”

Trump arrives at the Orlando airport last night for a rally. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

-- Operatives in Brooklyn had been working with Machado since the summer. They had a video featuring her story ready to go. Cosmopolitan had a photo spread of her draped in an American flag – to go with a profile – in the can. Machado had also conducted an interview with The Guardian that was “apparently embargoed for post-debate release,” according to Vox. And the Clinton super PAC Priorities USA turned a digital ad to highlight the insults by early afternoon.

The Clinton press shop then set up a conference call for Machado to respond to what Trump said on “Fox and Friends.” Speaking with reporters, Machado recounted how Trump “always treated me like a lesser thing, like garbage” and that his new words are like “a bad dream.” She said in a mix of Spanish and halting English that she watched the debate with her mother and daughter and cried as Clinton recounted her story, Ed O’Keefe reports.

Campaign calls like these are usually gimmicky ploys that get little attention, but this one played prominently in every news organization’s second-day coverage about the debate. Megyn Kelly, against whom Trump leveled gendered attacks against last year after she moderated a debate, then interviewed Machado in primetime on Fox News last night.

-- Opposition researchers also gleefully pushed Trump quotes about her from the 1990s. Here are two examples (more are in the social media speed read):

  • In 1997, Donald told Howard Stern that Machado was an “eating machine” who “ate a lot of everything.” “You whipped this fat slob into shape,” the radio host told Trump. “I don’t know how you did it. I see all these diet plans, everything else. God bless you.” When asked if Trump had “gotten her down to 118,” he said she is going to be there soon. (Via Buzzfeed)
  • Around the same time, Trump told Newsweek: “We’ve tried diet, spa, a trainer, incentives. Forget it, the way she’s going, she’d eat the whole gymnasium.”

-- “Morning Joe” extensively covered the spat today. Joe Scarborough said “this was all people were talking about” at his daughter’s parents night. Mike Barnicle said when he was picking up a prescription at the Duane Reade drugstore, the woman behind the counter – unprompted – referenced the "Miss Piggy" controversy. "She is furious, behind the counter, she's furious,” he recalled. "Of all the things he's done in this campaign, this is the one that could linger,” Mark Halperin chimed him. “The Clinton campaign cannot believe he's giving them the political opportunity...This is exactly what they would want to happen...They couldn't script it any better!” Barnicle agreed: “The Miss Housekeeping phrase is just as lethal to Donald Trump as Miss Piggy.” NBC’s “Today” show did their own segment this morning too.

-- New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait predicts Trump’s criticism of Machado will have the same staying power as his attacks on Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who spoke at the Democratic National Convention: “What truly made the set piece work was Trump’s response, which Clinton could not have scripted better if she tried. Unlike the previous allegations, he did not deny them, but instead burst out — three times! — ‘Where did you find this?’ I have seen villains in Disney movies presented with damning evidence react this way, but I have never seen an actual human being do it, until now.”

Alicia Machado reacts as she is crowned Miss Universe. (AP/Eric Draper, File)

-- Importantly, this story has also broken through across non-traditional outlets:

It was the second story on Telemundo’s evening newscast and the third story on Univision’s.

“Donald Trump Continues to Body Shame the Former Miss Universe He Called 'Miss Piggy'” is the headline on People Magazine’s home page.

“Alicia Machado Opens Up About Trump's Treatment of Her: ‘He’s Not a Good Person,’” is the headline in The Hollywood Reporter.

The Palm Beach Post, in the heart of a key swing state, has a listicle in today’s edition: “Alicia Machado: 5 things to know about Trump’s latest target.”

-- The gender dynamic is perhaps the most dominant theme in the mainstream media’s post-debate commentary:

“Trump’s interruptions of Clinton are familiar to women” is the headline on the front page of  the Boston Globe. Their story, about HRC getting interrupted 51 times during the debate, quotes women in a range of professions talking about how they’ve experienced the same thing.

“Last night’s debate, or the mansplaining Olympics” by Alexandra Petri is the most read story on the opinion section of The Post’s web site.

“Although she would never talk about it in the way that Trump discusses the victimization of being audited, Clinton carries the ever-expanding knowledge of what it’s like to be dismissed, disrespected, and treated unfairly,” Jia Tolentino writes in The New Yorker. “This is precisely why she was so calm and steely last night—so Presidential. It’s why she can express genuine solidarity with people like Alicia Machado, people whom Trump can barely see.”

“When I watch, I sometimes feel like Ingrid Bergman — not European and glamorous, but unnerved, as though I’m being gaslit,” said New York Times Magazine staff writer Susan Dominus. “Trump tries to gaslight an entire country when he plays fast and loose with the truth or insists on logic-defying connections — each of which is an apt tactic for someone who often questions the mental health of women who dare to criticize him. If they are women with big careers … they are ‘neurotic.’ He called the Rev. Faith Green Timmons, a pastor who calmly and boldly interrupted him at her church in Flint, Mich., ‘nervous,’ which is apparently the black woman’s (or middle-class woman’s) version of neurotic. These women are not just wrong to Trump; they are suffering from a kind of mental or medical condition. Women, he clearly believes, or wants us to believe, are emotional, guided by feelings rather than reason, which presumably makes them unfit to lead (or unfit to give Trump a hard time).”

“The idea that we should trust men who hate us in private to protect us in the public sphere is the ultimate insult to our intelligence,” adds Post blogger Alyssa Rosenberg.

-- This feud helps Clinton with two crucial constituencies:

-- Galvanizing Latinos: Beauty pageants are as big as the Super Bowl is for us in Latin America, and it was no coincidence that Machado emerged as a surrogate on National Voter Registration Day. The campaign is working to encourage Latinos and other less-engaged groups who dislike Trump to get on the rolls. “This was about consolidation,” Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg told Greg Sargent. “One of the big things (that has been) holding her back was the failure to consolidate Democrats.”

James Downie, who watched a dial group of 100 likely voters during the debate, elaborates: “After the debate, though there was only a small shift in the group toward Clinton, they had a much more favorable view toward her, and a number of voters who had come in as ‘weak’ Clinton supporters left as ‘strong’ Clinton supporters." 

-- Expanding the gender gap. Around this time four years ago, Mitt Romney was running ads in Northern Virginia to reassure women that he was not as anti-abortion as the Obama campaign was making him out to be. A female narrator noted that the former Massachusetts governor supports contraception and is okay with abortions in the case of rape, incest and life of the mother. Trump, who said at one point this year that women who get abortions should be punished, has made no concerted or direct effort to improve his standing with women.

The New York Times interviewed women in Pennsylvania’s Chester County (a suburban area where Romney beat President Obama in 2012 by less than 1 point) about the debate. Trip Gabriel reports that several dozen of the women he spoke with consistently said Trump had failed to win them over, and in several cases they said he had repelled them. His lead illustration is Nancy Groux, an undecided Republican who hungers for change in Washington. “I truly want to like him,” she said. “I keep looking for something in him. But I can’t have my children grow up and look at him as someone to respect.”

Making matters worse, Trump surrogates keep going out of their way to give Clinton more fodder for women’s outreach. “After being married to Bill Clinton for 20 years, if you didn’t know the moment Monica Lewinsky said that Bill Clinton violated her that she was telling the truth, then you’re too stupid to be president,” Rudy Giuliani told reporters at Hofstra University.

When in 2012 Rush Limbaugh called law school student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying before Congress that employers should cover birth control for women, Romney had a press avail to say that he disagreed and that those were not the words he would have used. Yesterday, reacting to the debate, Limbaugh said on his radio show: “Hillary came off exactly as many people see her: a witch with a capital B.” I’d bet you $10 that Trump will not denounce this offensive comment if asked about it today.

(Rick Wilkingrick/Getty)

-- Ratings: Monday’s debate was the most-watched ever, with 84 million viewers tuning in to see it live. That broke a record set by Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in 1980. No debate since then had exceeded 70 million viewers. For context, twice as many watched Monday as watched Bill Clinton debate Bob Dole in 1996. Experts predicted there would be a big dip in viewers after the first half hour, but what’s most striking about the overnight numbers was that most stayed with it for the full 90 minutes. That means they saw the final half hour, when the Machado exchange happened. (AP)

-- Establishment Republicans once again, privately, are slamming their heads against the wall because of their standard bearer’s embarrassing lack of self-discipline. In the Capitol, many GOP leaders tried to avoid discussing the debate and its aftermath with reporters:

  • Paul Ryan: “I was working out and working this morning, I didn’t watch. I wasn’t watching Fox News this morning. So I’m not going to comment on something I didn’t see.”
  • Marco Rubio: “I didn’t see (the debate), guys. I was on an airplane.”
  • Mitch McConnell offered just nine words during an afternoon news conference before moving on: “On the debate, I thought he did just fine.”
  • Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) waved off a reporter who approached him about the debate as an aide curtly said, “We’re not talking about that,” according to the Globe.
  • John McCain would only say that he thought it was “very interesting” as he hurried toward an elevator.

And this from Lindsey Graham:

-- Bottom line: One reason the debate was so painful for GOP elites who have accommodated Trump is that it offered another proof point that he cannot change. “Republicans learned again during the first presidential debate that no matter the setting, no matter the stakes, no matter the expectations, Donald Trump will insist on being Donald Trump,” Dan Balz explains. “He will rise or fall politically as himself — brash, unpredictable, volatile and true to his own instincts.”

Former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson concurs: “Trump has made some political gains over the past few weeks through greater discipline — speeches from teleprompters, carefully selected media interviews, no news conferences, a Twitter account in the hands of others. But the candidate has internalized none of this. He might as well have sung ‘I Gotta Be Me’ as his opening statement in the debate. It was Trump unplugged and often unhinged.”

-- The world reacts to other Trump claims from the debate:

  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg defended the alliance, pushing back on Trump’s claims it isn’t focused enough on terrorism. “NATO has played a key role in the fight against terrorism for many, many years,” Stoltenberg said. He also rejected Trump’s claim that his criticism led the alliance’s move to create a new top intelligence official. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Wall Street leaders denied that there is any evidence of a stock market “bubble” after Trump accused the Federal Reserve of playing politics and falsely manipulating interest rates to boost Obama. (CNBC)
  • Tim Kaine said Trump’s five-year “birther” campaign dragged the country back to a time when black people were slaves: “At my church, and in my neighborhood, and friends in Richmond, it’s an insult and it’s a painful one,” the senator said in a radio interview. “You know the history, an American African in this country could not be a US citizen because of the ruling of the Dred Scott decision. ... He’s got to be really pinned down on this question of why he did it, and did he really not know that this was painful to an awful lot of people.” (Buzzfeed)
  • Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Trump does not believe global warming is man-made. "He believes that global warming is naturally occurring," Conway said on CNN. "There are shifts naturally occurring." Then, hours later, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said there is “no question” humans are a factor in climate change. “There’s no question that the activities that take place in this country and in countries around the world have some impact on the environment and some impact on climate,” he said on the same network. (Politico)
  • The New York Police Department issued a statement saying that “stop and frisk” policing policies were not technically ruled to be unconstitutional. “A federal judge in New York did order remedies to ensure the NYPD applies the lawful policing tool constitutionally,” the department said. “Additionally, murders in New York City have NOT increased. In fact, as of yesterday, New York City has 16 fewer murders from this time last year, and, more importantly, the murder rate has decreased by 131 from this time in 2011, when stops were at their highest.” Trump’s comments were “multilayered fiction,” the New York Times concludes.

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

-- Breakthrough on the CR: Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi have struck a deal on Flint aid funding, removing a major obstacle in negotiations to keep the government from shutting down on Friday night. From Mike DeBonis: “Under the deal, the House will vote Wednesday on an amendment to a pending water projects bill that would authorize up to $170 million in infrastructure funds for communities like Flint whose water systems are blighted by “chemical, physical, or biological” contaminants.”

-- Police fatally shot an unarmed black man at a San Diego area strip mall on Tuesday afternoon, after responding to a call that he was acting in an “erratic” manner. From Travis M. Andrews: El Cajon police said the man pulled an “unidentified object” -- which was not a firearm -- from his pants pocket, and assumed a “shooting stance,” thus prompting officers to open fire. Demonstrators quickly began gathering at the scene to protest his death.

Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Shimon Peres at the White House in 2012. 

-- Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president and prime minister who spent nearly seven decades as a public statesman, died in Tel Aviv after suffering a recent stroke. He was 93. “Mr. Peres, who held nearly every high office in his country and whose influence spanned 10 U.S. presidencies, was the last of a generation of politicians who came of age as Israel did and helped guide it through regional conflicts and economic restructuring,” Robin Shulman writes. "In addition to having been the president and serving as prime minister three times — once briefly in an acting capacity — he had been foreign minister, information minister, finance minister and defense minister.” Peres shared a Nobel Peace Prize for his short-lived framework for peace with the Palestinians, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama In 2012.

Hillary and Bill Clinton will attend Peres’s funeral in Israel on Friday, Haaretz reports, joining President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in.

President Obama's statement was poetic: “Shimon was the essence of Israel itself—the courage of Israel’s fight for independence, the optimism he shared with his wife Sonya as they helped make the desert bloom, and the perseverance that led him to serve his nation in virtually every position in government across the entire life of the State of Israel. No one did more over so many years as Shimon Peres to build the alliance between our two countries—an unbreakable alliance that today is closer and stronger than it has ever been.”

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf agreed to forfeit $41 million in performance pay and temporarily suspend his salary as investigators probe widespread wrongdoing inside the bank. The aggressive public effort comes as the bank seeks to hold top executives responsible for creating sham accounts, which impacted thousands of customers. (Renae Merle)
  2. A U.N. human rights panel said the U.S. owes black people reparations for a history of “racial terrorism.” A group of experts presented its findings on Monday, pointing to a “continuing link between present injustices and the dark chapters of American history.” (Ishaan Tharoor)
  3. Preschool teachers are more likely to expect misbehavior from young black children as opposed to their white peers, according to a new Yale study of implicit biases. The findings corroborate unequal levels of punishment that occur, even in preschool, among white and black students. (Emma Brown)
  4. A CDC whistleblower says the agency is using the wrong test to diagnose Zika, utilizing a method that misses nearly 40 percent of infections. His criticism has sparked an intense internal debate over detection of the mosquito-borne virus. (Lena H. Sun)
  5. The FBI is investigating a possible hack of Democratic Party staffer cell phones, and agents have reportedly begun reaching out to staffers about "imaging" their devices to search for evidence of nefarious activity. (CNN)
  6. Cybercriminals in Europe are offering their services for hire -- potentially allowing militant groups like ISIS the means to attack Europe, European Union authorities are warning. While officials say such techniques have not been used in any major attacks – and doubt their effectiveness – the revelation illustrates the perils of the darknet. (Reuters
  7. The two largest hospitals in Aleppo were bombed, halting their operations and deepening the city’s already-dire medical crisis. Two patients were killed in the strikes, and three hospital staffers were injured. (Liz Sly)
  8. Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been blocked from running for president again, after the country’s supreme leader decided his populist platform would prove too divisive in the 2017 election. The comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei signaled a “preemptive strike” against possible attempts by Ahmadinejad to build a movement to challenge Hassan Rouhani in May, Brian Murphy reports.
  9. The world’s first baby has been born using a controversial “three-parent” technique, in which U.S. scientists used DNA from three adults in a single embryo. Doctors will present research about the revolutionary new method in Salt Lake City next month. (Kerry Sheridan)
  10. Obama nominated Jeffrey DeLaurentis to be the first U.S. Ambassador to Cuba in more than half a century, part of a plan to improve relations with the country before the end of his term. DeLaurentis currently serves as the top U.S. diplomat in Havana. (Carol Morello)
  11. Three Republican senators revived a bill to ban online gambling, the day after it became public that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson gave $20 million to the Senate Leadership Fund, which has close ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Banning online gambling is a big cause for Adelson. (Catherine Ho)
  12. The IRS announced it will eliminate more than 7,000 jobs by 2024, reducing its workforce by more than eight percent as individuals and businesses shift from filing paper tax returns. (Justin Wm. Moyer)
  13. SpaceX founder Elon Musk laid out his conceptual plans to send humans to Mars, outlining in Mexico a path to a self-sustaining city on the red planet that he believes could be achieved “within 40 to 100 years.” (Christian Davenport)
  14. The Anti-Defamation League added Pepe the Frog to its list of hate symbols, grouping the alt-right meme with the swastika and the Confederate battle flag. (New York Times)
  15. The Houston gunman who injured nine people before he was shot to death was wearing military clothes and Nazi emblems during the attack. He was also carrying more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition. Authorities said the attorney may have faced financial troubles. (Derek Hawkins)
  16. A Rhode Island man says he's being harassed with turkeys. His neighbor placed 300 of the birds within feet of his property line right before guests arrived for a wedding. (The Providence Journal)
  17. A 16-year-old Siberian teen who hung over a balcony to impress a girl fell – and miraculously survived – a 23-story tumble. Witnesses credited a well-placed taxi with saving his life. (Fred Barbash)
David Wildstein, right, and his attorney Alan Zegas leave the federal courthouse in Newark. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

-- More damning details about Chris Christie’s role in Bridgegate: The head of Trump’s transition team LAUGHED when he was told during a 9/11 memorial service in 2013 that lanes on the George Washington Bridge had been closed as political retaliation against a mayor who declined to endorse him, former ally David Wildstein testified in court yesterday. The former Port Authority employee said the New Jersey governor made no attempt to reopen the lanes, the New York Times reports. “Instead, his former ally said, the governor was clearly delighted and seemed to savor the scheme. And after learning that the Fort Lee mayor’s persistent and urgent calls for help were being ignored, Mr. Christie said in a sarcastic tone, ‘I imagine he wouldn’t get his calls returned.’ Photographs shown at the testimony corroborate his testimony, with Wildstein, Christie and former staffer Bill Baroni all seen together at a 9/11 memorial service in Lower Manhattan.”

Clinton rallies in Raleigh yesterday afternoon. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

THE DAILY HILLARY:

-- Clinton won the endorsement of former Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner, a GOP maverick who also served as Navy secretary in the 1970s. “Warner’s decision not to support his party’s nominee … is intended to send a signal in the five-term senator’s battleground home state and beyond that mainstream, security-minded Republicans should side with Clinton,” John Wagner writes. Warner will appear alongside Tim Kaine in Virginia today, at a campaign event centered on military issues.

-- The Arizona Republic, by endorsing Clinton today, throws its weight behind a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in the paper’s history. The editorial board praises Clinton’s immigration policies and slams Trump for his incoherent policy ideals. The real estate magnate "is not conservative and he is not qualified," the board writes.

-- Michelle Obama recorded a commercial for Clinton that will air in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. She says Hillary will be a good president for children. The First Lady will campaign today for HRC in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. (Click the image above to watch.)

Trump rallies last night in Melbourne, Florida. (Spencer Platt/Getty)

THE DAILY DONALD:

-- “Trump is actually doing his foundation a favor, by ‘storing’ its portrait on his golf resort wall, his adviser says,” by David Fahrenthold: Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn offered a new explanation for why a portrait of Trump — paid for by his charitable foundation — wound up on display at a Trump-owned golf resort in Florida. Trump, he said, was actually doing his charity a favor, by "storing" its painting on the wall a Trump National Doral bar. “There are IRS rules which specifically state that when a foundation has an item, an individual can store those items — on behalf of the foundation — in order to help it with storage costs,” Epshteyn said on MSNBC. “And that's absolutely proper.” The real estate developer is “doing a good thing for his foundation,” Epshteyn insisted. His remarks appear to be the first time anyone in Trump’s camp has explained the rationale behind the placement of the portrait, first discovered last week by a Univision journalist.

-- Trump’s campaign claims it raised $18 million in the 24 hours following Monday night’s debate. From Matea Gold: About one third of the money was donated online, the majority of which will go directly to Trump's campaign. The rest of the funds were secured over the phone for a joint fundraising committee with the RNC, solicited by a group of 100 top party fundraisers who gathered at the Trump Tower. Attendees included New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, Los Angeles investor Elliott Broidy and Dallas investor Gentry Beach. Finance Chairman Steven Mnuchin said they had expected to get $5 million.

-- Trump’s boast that not paying any federal income tax makes him smart rubbed undecided voters the wrong way. Our Mary Jordan convened an informal focus group of six in North Carolina, and she reports that they gasped when they heard him say that. “Another person would be in jail for that,” said Jamilla Hawkins, 33.

-- The question of whether whites and men have too much power says a lot about whether you back Clinton or Trump, according to fresh Washington Post/ABC News polling: “Trump leads Clinton 57 to 28 percent among voters who say neither whites nor men have too much influence in the U.S., while he trails Clinton by 52 points among voters who say both whites and men have too much influence, 14 to 66 percent.” Some other key takeaways, via Scott Clement:

  • Trump’s support is fueled heavily by white men, who back the Republican nominee by a whopping 40-point margin. (White women are a near-even split, 46 to 44 percent.) Meanwhile, Clinton's holds 50-point lead among all non-white voters, 69 to 19 percent.
  • Nearly 40 percent of voters say men have too much influence in the U.S., while one-third says the same about whites. “Putting those questions together, voters split evenly, with 48 percent saying whites or men have too much influence, while 48 percent say neither group does.”
  • The survey highlighted the depth of partisan divides: Democrats are twice as likely to say men have too much influence as Republicans, and three times as likely to say whites have too much sway in the country.

-- John H. Sununu endorsed Trump, reversing course after decrying the real estate developer as someone who would hurt down-ballot Republicans. The former New Hampshire governor, who was chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush, praised Trump as the only candidate who can "bring bold change" to Washington. His son, Chris, is the GOP nominee to be governor. (AP)

-- The word “America” is spelled wrong on restaurant menus in Trump’s new D.C. hotel. “Specifically, if you ordered the ‘Benjamin beer silver bucket,’ priced at $100 per person, you would be treated to ‘unlimited Amerrica beer,’” the Daily Beast reports.

-- Sean Hannity, who reportedly makes $30 million a year, rushed to defend Trump in the aftermath of the debate, slamming “overpaid” media “elites” for calling Clinton the winner. “My overpaid friends in the media, well, they have their chauffeur-driven limousines, they like their fine steakhouses and expensive wine lifestyles,” Hannity said on his show Tuesday. “None of them are feeling this, the people you’re watching on TV, and therein lies the contempt.” (Derek Hawkins)

Hands clasped in friendship, Adolf Hitler and England's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain at Munich in 1938. (AP Photo)

-- If you read one book review today: “In ‘Hitler,’ an Ascent From ‘Dunderhead’ to Demagogue,” by Michiko Kakutani: “How did Adolf Hitler — described by one eminent magazine editor in 1930 as a ‘half-insane rascal,’ a ‘pathetic dunderhead,’ a ‘nowhere fool,’ a ‘big mouth’ — rise to power in the land of Goethe and Beethoven? What persuaded millions of ordinary Germans to embrace him and his doctrine of hatred? How did this ‘most unlikely pretender to high state office’ achieve absolute power in a once democratic country and set it on a course of monstrous horror?” Biographer Volker Ullrich explores some of the characteristics that led to his rise. Here are five:

  • “Hitler was often described as an egomaniac who ‘only loved himself’ — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization…”
  • “Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a ‘bottomless mendacity’ that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message.”
  • “Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising ‘to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness,’ though he was typically vague about his actual plans.”
  • Hitler’s ascension was aided and abetted by the naïveté of domestic adversaries who failed to appreciate his ruthlessness and tenacity, and by foreign statesmen who believed they could control his aggression. Early on, revulsion at Hitler’s style and appearance … led some critics to underestimate the man and his popularity, while others dismissed him as a celebrity, a repellent but fascinating ‘evening’s entertainment.’”
  • “Politicians … suffered from the delusion that the dominance of traditional conservatives in the cabinet would neutralize the threat of Nazi abuse of power and ‘fence Hitler in.’”

THE BATTLEGROUNDS:

-- Politico, “Clinton campaign in ‘panic mode’ over Florida black voters,” by Marc Caputo and Daniel Ducassi: “To kill [Trump's] chances of capturing the White House, [Clinton] needs to win Florida. And to do that, she needs a big minority turnout. But Democrats are beginning to worry that too many African-American voters are uninspired by Clinton’s candidacy, leading her campaign to hit the panic button this week and launch an all-out blitz to juice-up voter enthusiasm.” Bill Clinton embarks on a North Florida bus tour Friday in an attempt to draw African-American crowds. President Obama is expected to campaign here at least twice. And Michelle Obama will likely visit Florida as well, in addition to the pro-Clinton ad she cut that’s currently airing statewide. “Part of the problem Clinton faces is that Obama, the actual black president, is the toughest of acts to follow. It’s not just Clinton’s margins with black voters that concerns Democrats. It’s whether African-American voters turn out in force for her in a pivotal state whose 29 electoral votes are essential to the GOP nominee's path to an Electoral College victory.”

-- Bloomberg, “The Clinton Campaign Has a Millennial Math Problem,” by Sasha Issenberg and Steven Yaccino: “It is understandable if Hillary Clinton’s team is traumatized by having to fight once again for New Hampshire. The first-in-the-nation primary state delivered her a crucial comeback victory against Barack Obama in 2008 and then, eight years later, dealt her what was perhaps last spring’s most all-encompassing defeat. New Hampshire’s ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ reputation isn't just tourism-merchandise swagger; the state has a substantial pool of voters who choose not to join a party. Among them are 35,717 independents who voted in the 2016 Democratic primary but didn't vote in 2008—a good indicator of the type of Sanders backer who might not be compelled by party loyalty to rally behind the woman who beat him for the nomination. And they are not just Bernie Bros: 54 percent are women.”

-- That Clinton chose to stage her post-debate victory lap in North Carolina was telling and underscores the heightened importance of the politically-turbulent state. From John Wagner: “Clinton’s advisers believe that support from North Carolina’s sizable African American population … is keeping the Republican-leaning state in play. Though Trump has seen an uptick in the polls here in recent weeks, his gains have been more modest than in some other battleground states, such as Iowa and Ohio, whose populations are less diverse. North Carolina, which has 15 electoral votes, has historically been favorable turf for Republicans in presidential races. [But] Democrats see longer-term trends in the state working in their favor: an influx of white college-educated professionals along the urban and suburban corridor … and an uptick in the African American share of the electorate — part of the legacy of Obama’s campaigns.”

-- Boston Globe, “Tightening contest thrusts New Hampshire into possibly pivotal role,” by Michael Levenson: “This proudly prickly swing state could emerge as [Clinton’s] last bulwark against a [Trump] victory in November. With Clinton’s poll numbers having slipped, both campaigns increasingly view New Hampshire’s relatively tiny prize of four electoral votes as pivotal in determining the next occupant of the White House. ... Polling averages show Clinton currently clinging to a five-point lead over Trump in the state, but party operatives and political observers say the margin could be closer ... ‘If the race does close and becomes as close as the races were in 2000 and 2004, then a single state — even a small state like New Hampshire — can determine the outcome,’ said the University of New Hampshire’s Andrew E. Smith. 'There’s a lot of concern in the Clinton camp that they can’t take anything for granted.'" 

-- Jeb! is now a guest lecturer at Harvard. Bush will co-lecture a course this fall on education and participate in faculty-led student study groups, per CNN. (AP/John Bazemore)
After an evening of door-knocking, Richmond mayoral candidate Joe Morrissey regroups. (Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post)

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

-- “In Virginia’s capital, a political ‘bad boy’ upends race for mayor,” by Paul Schwartzman: “Everyone in Richmond knows about Joe and Myrna Morrissey, as do many across Virginia and as far away as Europe, having feasted on a gush of salacious stories three years ago about the then-55-year-old state lawmaker who went to jail for cavorting with his 17-year-old receptionist. Myrna Warren is now Morrissey’s 20-year-old wife — the couple married in June — and she has become a centerpiece of his unlikely quest to become Richmond’s next mayor … That he is white and she is black only added another level of intrigue to the saga. At a time when American politics is dominated by two presidential candidates with mountains of personal baggage, Morrissey, now 59, is starring on his own stage with enough proverbial Samsonite to fill a fleet of cargo planes. Yet, in the same way that [Trump] defies the gravity of his many indelible missteps, polls show Morrissey, a Democrat, with an imposing lead over six opponents."

Mohammad Saber Sharifi, once the Olympic coach for Afghanistan's women's boxing team, at his new home in Leesburg, Va. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

-- “He trained girls to box in Afghanistan. Then he ran for his life from the Taliban,” by Rick Maese: “Mohammed Saber Sharif was born a fighter, so he’s not used to sitting still. For now, he has no choice. He came to the U.S. nine months ago with some clothes and a pile of yellowed newspaper clippings, photos and mementos collected from four decades in boxing. He left behind a wife and four children, a career as a boxing coach and a dream of helping women in Afghanistan aspire to something more than life as second-class citizens. After the fall of the Taliban, Sharif helped introduce dozens of Afghan women to boxing, eventually becoming the country’s national boxing coach and leading one fighter to the brink of the Olympics. [But] nearly a decade after Sharif started coaching young Afghan women, the successes are unclear, and the dangers feel as present as ever. If he stayed, he was certain of his fate: ‘Death was waiting for me 100 percent,’ he said.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

An opening #2016 thought from a Never Trump Republican:

Trump spent the day congratulating himself for his sub-par performance at the debate:

But there was a problem with some of his comments, including this one:

Laura Ingraham snapped a selfie with Kellyanne Conway at Fox News:

Ex-Romney strategist Stuart Stevens took a shot at Conway on Twitter:

She shot right back:

Meanwhile, Obama congratulated Clinton:

This Instagram post from Clinton became the most-liked photo of either candidate during the election:

Though this one is quickly gaining on it:

Of all the Clinton-related memes, this one was among the most original:

Not Steny Hoyer though:

BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski bashed the RNC for trying to help Trump lie about his original position on the Iraq War:

The BuzzFeed editor then tangled with the RNC's chief strategist on Twitter:

Some Never Trumpers still had a lot to say about Trump's sniffing during the debates:

Reporters continued to unearth more nasty comments from Trump about Alicia Machado:

Machado is having a big moment:

How CNN wrote about her in 1997 (it is even more cringeworthy in retrospect):

Look at that picture, and then look at this reality check:

A California Senate candidate praised Machado for her courage:

Rosie O'Donnell thanked supporters:

Elizabeth Banks and other celebrities are jumping on Trump for his comments:

Kevin McCarthy hung out with Mickey Mouse:

Photo of the week:

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

They're not like us --> Ivanka Trump told Business Insider that several of her childhood hobbies taught her about life and success: "I had a whole lot of lemonade stands growing up, which were helpful in learning about business on the most fundamental level," she said in an interview. “But the Trump kids' lemonade stands weren't like most other kids' lemonade stands. ‘First of all, my mother wasn't about to let us set up shop with a lemonade stand at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street — and to do so in the lobby of Trump Tower would have been just a little too precious, don't you think?’ … So they made an arrangement to set up shop one summer at their house in Greenwich, Connecticut. Ivanka writes that she and her brothers used their ‘wily charms and persuasive marketing skills’ to get their bodyguard, their parents' driver, and some of the household staff to buy enough lemonade to cover their expenses. 'They took pity on us and dug deep for their spare change,' she said."

-- LA Times, “Deaths on the Mediterranean Sea don't keep migrants from trying to reach Europe,” by Molly Hennessy-Fiske: “When the smuggler’s boat sank a dozen miles off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, 17-year-old Attia Abdu Qamary fell into the choppy water with hundreds of other frightened migrants. More than half looked like him -- teenage boys. A friend at his side slipped away. ‘I saw him go down,’ Attia said later, eyes blank behind long lashes. ‘He was holding my hand.’ As migrants and refugees seek to escape poverty and violence in their homelands, the Mediterranean Sea crossing from North Africa to Italy has become among the busiest and deadliest, and the number of youths attempting the crossing has dramatically increased …” The journey has killed 3,165 migrants trying to reach Europe this year, on pace to exceed last year's total. And now, the European Parliament chief is calling for Egypt’s aid to be tied to an agreement similar to the one reached with Turkey in to limit European migration.

-- “An Associated Press investigation found police officers across the country abuse confidential law enforcement databases to get information on romantic partners, business associates, neighbors, journalists and others for reasons totally unrelated to police work. In the worst cases, officers have stalked, harassed and tampered with criminal cases using details obtained through criminal history and motor vehicle databases.” Some choice examples:

  • “A Miami-Dade police sergeant used Florida's driver database to conduct unauthorized searches on dozens of celebrities, politicians, high-profile newsmakers and fellow officers.” Among them: basketball stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Scott's son.”
  • “A Michigan State Police dispatcher admitted querying a confidential law enforcement database dozens of times over 15 years and selling personal information to attorneys.”
  • “An Auburn, Washington, police commander searched for a license plate after being contacted by a friend who'd been involved in a hit-and-run incident, then provided that information to his friend and told him to drive by that location to find the suspect.”

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“Stuck in a Tulsa Jail as a Cop Killed Her Husband, Terence Crutcher,” from the Daily Beast: “The day Terence Crutcher died, his widow was stuck in jail. Frenchel Johnson, Crutcher’s common-law wife of 16 years and the mother of his three children, was incarcerated on an assault charge Sept. 16. That evening, Officer Betty Shelby fatally shot Crutcher as he stood outside his vehicle with his hands up … Johnson found out about his death on a lockup television. According to the widow, Crutcher’s father assured her he’d get her out of jail but never came through. Indeed, Crutcher’s kin and their lawyers kept Johnson a secret from the outside world …’I was believing him [but] it was all a lie,’ she said. ‘They were leaving me in there so they could take care of all this business.’”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT:

“School adopts gender-neutral homecoming court, so there might be no ‘king’ or ‘queen,’” from  Donna St. George: “Breaking with the tradition at many of the nation’s schools, students at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School will adopt a gender-neutral homecoming court this year, moving away from the longtime practice of electing a boy as ‘king’ and a girl as ‘queen.’ Students in each grade will vote for two classmates from a ballot of finalists, with the top vote-getters crowned at the school’s homecoming football game. It’s a change that means those honored at halftime on Oct. 7 could include two boys, two girls, transgender students or a boy-girl duo. “It provides an opportunity for all students to be involved in something that was exclusionary,” said [SGA President] Jacob Rains. ‘Who are we to put people into those categories?’”

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Trump campaigns in Council Bluffs, Iowa and Waukesha, Wis.; Pence is in Leetonia, Ohio. Clinton holds an event with Bernie Sanders in Durham, N.H.

At the White House: Obama travels to Richmond for a town hall hosted by CNN and to speak to troops at Fort Lee. Biden speaks at a DSCC event in Chicago.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. to resume work on the legislative vehicle for the short-term CR.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox reacted to the debate. "My impression was the beauty and the beast," he told Philip Rucker. "She was gracious, she looked very presidential ... He is an imperialistic gringo."

 

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

-- Don’t forget your umbrella! A cloudy, rainy day is ahead, per the Capital Weather Gang: “Might see some patchy morning fog or mist, with occasional showers possible through the course of the day, and perhaps a few rumbles of thunder, too. Highs should reach the low-to-mid 70s under mostly cloudy skies."

-- The Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2.

-- Once again, though, injuries threaten to haunt the Nationals in October. Wilson Ramos and Stephen Strasburg will not be available for the team as the playoffs begin.

-- Planned Parenthood opened its sole D.C. location this week, unveiling a nearly $20,000 million, 27,000-square-foot health facility in Northeast. Officials expect the new facility to serve more than 12,000 people in its first year. (Perry Stein)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Katy Perry encouraged fans to vote with this sketch:

Conan O'Brien had a similar idea:

Watch Clinton channel The Office's Jim Halpert in this clip of the debate from Slate (click here).

Howard Dean doubled down on his assertion that Trump has a problem:

These ex-Obama aides tried calling Sean Hannity to get evidence of Trump's original position on the Iraq War. He answered his cell phone and then hung up on them:

Seth Meyers took a closer look at the debate:

The Onion put together its own highlights reel:

Think Clinton vs. Trump was brutal? Check out the actual fight that broke out between parliamentary candidates in Georgia:

Can't get enough debates? Get ready for next week's with the VP candidates!

This little girl in Charlotte made a tearful plea to her community: