Rob Portman speaks during an interview in Lebanon, Ohio. (Al Behrman/AP)

With Breanne Deppisch

THE BIG IDEA:

COLUMBUS, Ohio—A Monmouth University poll published yesterday puts Hillary Clinton ahead in Ohio by 2 points. The same poll has Republican Sen. Rob Portman leading by 15 points.

The Buckeye State was supposed to be ground zero in the battle for the Senate. Portman trailed in the polls as recently as this spring, but several handicappers have now taken the race off the map. National Democrats have canceled more than $7 million in Ohio advertising reservations, which has prompted GOP super PACs to follow suit. His surprising strength has increased the odds of the GOP holding onto its majority.

Former governor Ted Strickland has certainly not given up. He’s on the air with ads and campaigned with Bill Clinton in the congressional district he used to represent on Tuesday.

But the senator is running a textbook campaign, showing Republicans how to persevere in the year of Donald Trump and offering his party a path forward if November brings the debacle that most GOP insiders still anticipate.

Temperamentally cautious and stylistically moderate, Portman is the antithesis of Trump. Though he’s endorsed him, he steadfastly stays away every time the nominee visits the state. And in a year when The Donald has thrown out the rulebook, the un-Trump is demonstrating the enduring value of running a professional, un-Trumpian campaign.

Based on conversations with several operatives on both sides, here are nine explanations for why Portman is running so far ahead of Trump in Ohio:

1. Starting early:

National Republicans are panicking that Richard Burr could narrowly lose in North Carolina. People close to Senate leadership complain constantly that Burr still does not work very hard on fundraising or campaigning, and they are perturbed that he did not take his race seriously enough—despite their early warnings.

Portman was the opposite, they say. He always assumed he would have a difficult race, so he built a campaign apparatus at the beginning of 2015.

When Strickland got in, he was considered the Democrats’ best possible recruit. He had significantly higher name recognition than the incumbent because he had been governor. The first public poll of the race, from Quinnipiac in April 2015, had Strickland ahead by 9 points.

But more than three months before Trump even announced his candidacy, the Portman campaign was conducting focus groups to figure out the best lines of attack against Strickland. That turned out to be lost jobs during his gubernatorial tenure. The campaign had volunteers knocking on doors to identify voters by May of last year.

"The secret is we started targeting voters early, running an aggressive, data-driven, targeted campaign, much like Obama did in '08,” Portman manager Corry Bliss said in an interview at campaign headquarters here.

Ted Strickland speaks in Columbus. (Jay LaPrete/AP)

2. Carpet bombing his opponent:

The 60-year-old is the consummate insider in the year of the outsider. He attended Dartmouth, worked in George H.W. Bush’s White House and then served six terms in the House before George W. Bush named him U.S. Trade Representative. Then he became director of the Office of Management and Budget. He won an open Senate seat six years ago, was on Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential short list four years ago and was vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee two years ago. But he turned that potential baggage to his advantage: calling in chits and raising buckets of money.

In the past three months alone, Portman raised $4.5 million and he entered October with $7.6 million cash on hand. Strickland has not released his numbers, but Portman outraised him by $1 million in the second quarter.

Early money, amplified by the support from outside groups, allowed for shock and awe. Through the end of this June, as an illustration, Portman and his allies spent $31.7 million compared to $11.4 million from Strickland and his supporters.

Strickland spokesman David Bergstein noted that more money has been spent against Strickland than any Democrat in the country – and, through the summer, that included Clinton. This drove up his negatives. “Senator Portman has spent his career in Washington pushing the agenda of the rich and the powerful at the expense of Ohio’s working families, and these shadowy special interests are trying to buy this Senate seat for their lap dog,” Bergstein said.

3. Turning on trade:

The former U.S. Trade Representative shocked official Washington by coming out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership in February, despite voting for Trade Promotion Authority last year and speaking positively about the negotiations in the past. One Republican senator who backs the deal told me that this was the moment he realized TPP was going to die – because Portman’s opposition would make it impossible for wavering GOP members to get on board, even in a lame-duck session. Other free-traders such as Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey followed Portman’s lead, capitulating to a tide of protectionism fueled by Trump’s rise. (The Cincinnati Enquirer did a deep dive on Portman’s “sometimes contradictory record on trade” last week.  Read it here.)

4. Picking off labor endorsements:

The Teamsters, which represents 50,000 members in Ohio, endorsed Strickland in both of his races for governor. One of the biggest moments in the race came when Portman secured their endorsement. He also got the United Mine Workers, the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police and a local of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

A top official at the union, Ken Hall, said they backed Portman because their pension plan is underfunded and the senator, who sits on the Finance Committee, endorsed legislation to fix it. "The reason, the sole reason, is we got a commitment that he would support our members on the issue of pension reform," Hall said, according to the Toledo Blade.

Portman has used the Teamsters backing to appeal to other blue-collar voters who might not usually vote Republican:

5. Localizing the race:

Portman’s campaign has identified 22 buckets of voters, and they’re targeting each. This includes big groups like working women but also smaller groups. The campaign has identified 62,000 Jewish registered Democrats, and they’ve bombarded them with literature highlighting Strickland’s support for the nuclear deal with Iran.

There is also a big problem with algae blooms in Lake Erie. So the campaign has sent mailers and run ads like this one on the issue in the Toledo media market:

6. Passing legislation.

The number one issue in Ohio is the opioid epidemic. It cuts across demographic and geographic lines. Moms of all races, affluent or not, are panicked about black tar heroin being sold at their kids’ high schools.

Portman sponsored a bill called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act that passed the Senate in March. Democrats complained that it did not include enough money to make a big difference. Regardless, it was a big political win for Portman that has allowed him to make the case he’s effective.

Even local Democrats say Portman’s ads on the issue, produced by Jon Downs and Terry Nelson at FP1 Strategies, have been impressive. The campaign spent $1.1 million to air a powerful 60-second spot featuring the testimonial of a mother who lost her daughter to a heroin overdose:

7. Doing Hispanic outreach in a state where Latinos account for only 2 percent of the electorate:

Portman is spending a quarter of a million dollars to run a Spanish-language ad in the final weeks of the campaign, even though there is only one Spanish-language TV station in Ohio (a Univision affiliate in Cleveland).

“I know how hard you work to pay your bills,” Portman says directly to the camera. “I want every family to have access to a good-paying job." He even approves the ad in Spanish: "Soy Rob Portman y apruebo este mensaje."

An English-language spot highlights the support of former Cincinnati Bengal star Anthony Muñoz, who is in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Watch the senator speaking Spanish:

8. Playing for the middle, not the fringe:

Clinton is outperforming Barack Obama with white suburban women in the suburbs of the three Cs—Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati. But Portman is winning with a fair number of the same people by speaking with a very different tone than Trump. He also has the full backing of the popular Gov. John Kasich, who refuses to support his party’s presidential nominee.

While he does not bring it up on the trail, in March 2013 Portman became the first Republican senator to come out for same-sex marriage, citing his son's revelation that he is gay as the main reason. This angered some social conservatives, but it helped bolster his image with these swing voters.

Among independents, Portman led 57 percent to 34 percent in yesterday’s Monmouth poll. His overall job approval rating is 52 percent, up from 39 percent in August.

Portman gets in a kayak along the Cuyahoga River on the sidelines of July's Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

9. Investing in the ground game:

Portman operates a dozen offices independently of both the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee. The campaign claims it has now made more than 4 million voter contacts.

Trump expressed shock after losing the Iowa caucuses about the importance of a good field operation, but he continues to not put in the resources necessary to have a serious get-out-the-vote effort. Trump allies say he has a better operation in Ohio than elsewhere because his state director ran the state for George W. Bush in 2004 and knows what he’s doing.

But the Wall Street Journal’s Reid Epstein went to check it out last week and found the effort lacking: “At 7:15 p.m. the night after his rally, the Trump campaign office in downtown Toledo was locked with no one inside. At another local Trump office, in suburban Perrysburg, two women sat by themselves at 8:30 p.m. … That same night, the Clinton campaign’s Toledo office was buzzing with supporters … making phone calls to voters until after 10 p.m. A Portman office on Toledo’s west side … stayed open until 10 p.m.”

During the Republican convention, which Portman treaded around carefully, he hosted more than 500 summer interns and volunteers at an appreciation event – held a politically-safe distance from Trump’s coronation in the Quicken Loans Arena.

-- To be sure, Ohio Democrats say they are not throwing in the towel. Strickland’s spokesman said their field operation is superior to Portman’s because they are coordinating closely with the state party and the Clinton campaign. If the Clinton team can galvanize the Obama coalition, including African Americans, that will benefit Strickland.

One data point that gives them hope the race will close late: A Quinnipiac poll released around this time in the fall of 2010 showed Strickland trailing Kasich by 17 points. He wound up losing by only 2 points. Quinnipiac’s latest poll, which was in the field this week, has Portman up 17 points as well.

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
With contributions from Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck).

Sign up to receive the newsletter.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

Satelite view of Hurricane Matthew (NOAA) 

-- Hurricane Matthew could wind up being the October Surprise. From Mark Berman: “The strongest storm system to threaten the United States in a decade roared toward landfall with Florida on Thursday, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes as the deadly hurricane took direct aim at Florida’s Atlantic shores and threatened further damage up the East Coast. Hurricane Matthew tore through Haiti this week, causing at least 10 deaths there and six more elsewhere, before moving onto the Bahamas in its last stop and then heading to Florida. While the storm weakened at one point, by Thursday morning it was a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph — and forecasters said it would likely be a Category 4 hurricane as it approaches Florida’s coast.”

Matthew is expected to begin strafing the state late Thursday and grind its way north on Friday, though tropical storm conditions are set to hit South Florida by later this morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. By early Saturday, hurricane conditions could extend into Georgia and South Carolina, the center forecast.

More than 1.5 million Floridians live in evacuation zones, according to Gov. Rick Scott (R). Late Wednesday, Scott asked President Obama to declare a federal emergency in Florida due to the storm’s “potential to bring devastating impacts to millions of Floridians.” In total, more than 2 million people were under evacuation orders from Florida to South Carolina. “This is serious,” Scott said during a briefing this morning. “This storm will kill you. Time is running out.”

A sign for the headquarters of the National Security Administration in Fort Meade. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)

-- An NSA contractor was charged with stealing highly classified information from the U.S. government. Ellen Nakashima, Matt Zapotosky and John Woodrow Cox report: “Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, who did technology work for Booz Allen Hamilton, was charged with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials … According to two U.S. officials familiar with the case, he is suspected of ‘hoarding’ classified materials going back as far as a decade in his house and car, and the recent leak of the hacking tools tipped investigators to what he was doing.” Martin was arrested in August, and the breadth of harm he is alleged to have caused is unclear -- though officials said some of the documents he took home “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”

Edward Snowden responds:

Migrant boats wait to be rescued in the Mediterranean Sea. Some people are holding up small children to signal desperation. (Aris Messinis/AFP)

-- More than 11,000 African migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea this week alone, fleeing to Italy on the deadliest migrant route of all. A photographer who traveled aboard a rescue boat to document the journey likened the overcrowded wooden vessels to modern-day slave ships, saying he often put down his camera to help. "I’ve seen a lot of death, but not this thing,” he told the New York Times.

Six-year-old Jacob Hall, the South Carolina boy who died of his wounds after a school yard shooting, is laid to rest at an emotional "superhero funeral."

-- Hundreds of South Carolina mourners dressed as superheroes gathered for the funeral of Jacob Hall, the 6-year-old school shooting victim who died this weekend. His parents said the theme honored one of Jacob’s favorite things, while serving as a reminder of the triumph of good over evil in the world. They called for forgiveness of the shooter, a 14-year-old boy who killed his own father and then drove to Townville Elementary to fire on two children and a teacher as recess began. (Sarah Larimer and Julie Zauzmer)

Jacob's mother, Renae, dressed as Robin, and her son was dressed as Batman in his casket:

(Rainier Ehrhardt/AP)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. The U.N. Security Council endorsed Portugal’s former Prime Minister António Guterres to serve as its next secretary general, replacing South Korean Ban Ki-moon when he steps down at the end of the year. The 193-member General Assembly is scheduled to confirm him today. (Carol Morello)
  2. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case of an abused California boy who confessed under police interrogation to killing his neo-Nazi father. Lawyers have argued that Joseph, who suffers developmental disabilities, could not have possibly understood the implications of agreeing to give up his Miranda rights. (Kristine Guerra)
  3. Two top CIA officials will be compelled to answer questions under oath about the agency’s brutal counter-terrorism interrogations, a federal judge ruled. The decision is a response to an ACLU civil suit and will require the CIA’s former counter-terrorism center leader to testify about a program that used methods “widely condemned” as torture. (Greg Miller)
  4. A Pentagon investigation concluded that Defense Secretary Ash Carter's former senior military aide used his government credit card at strip clubs in Rome and Seoul (including in an area dubbed “hooker hill”), drank in excess and had "improper interactions" with women. An inspector general report says Maj. Gen. Ron Lewis, who is no longer on the job, improperly used his credit card, lied to a bank to get charges removed and, more broadly, said he was guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer. (AP’s Lolita C. Baldor)
  5. A U.S. soldier killed in eastern Afghanistan was a Green Beret with Maryland roots. Staff Sgt. Adam S. Thomas, 31, was killed by an improvised explosive device during an operation against the Islamic State in the Nangarhar province. His death, the third U.S. combat fatality in Afghanistan this year, comes as special operations forces continue to assist local forces in several parts of the country. (Dan Lamothe)
  6. Samsung announced it will acquire Viv Labs, buying the artificial intelligence startup founded by the creators of Apple’s “Siri” voice assistant. The move comes one day after Google announced its new foray into the smartphone world --  suggesting an increasingly strained relationship between the two companies. (Elizabeth Dwoskin)
  7. The Obama administration sent its special envoy to Colombia’s peace process back to Havana, meeting with Colombian leaders and FARC rebels to discuss the fate of the country’s peace deal after it was rejected by voters. Both sides have agreed to continue abiding by a current ceasefire as leaders work to salvage the agreement. (Karen DeYoung)
  8. Chicago announced it will sever business ties with Wells Fargo for one year, seeking to hold the bank responsible for a wide-ranging sham account scandal. The newly-approved measure will freeze the bank out of any work in the city, including underwriting its bonds. (Bloomberg)
  9. Embattled blood-testing startup Theranos announced it is shuttering all of its clinical labs, moving to focus its “undivided attention” on a smaller miniLab platform while cutting its workforce by more than 40 percent. The changes, outlined in a letter from CEO Elizabeth Holmes, are expected to impact about 340 workers. (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
  10. The Justice Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a report outlining how police can recruit and retain officers from different backgrounds, just as President Obama issued an executive order instructing national security agencies to do the same. Officials said those fields, which have traditionally been dominated by white men, need to adopt creative tactics to attract women and minorities. In some cases, they might even rethink such commonplace requirements as criminal background checks and physical fitness tests. (Matt Zapotosky)
  11. Police shot and killed a suspect who was armed with a machete while inside administrative offices at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field. (Cindy Boren)
  12. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein endorsed California Attorney Gen. Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate, cementing her as the chosen candidate among top Democrats and dealing another stinging blow to the campaign of rival Rep. Loretta Sanchez. (Los Angeles Times)
  13. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has abandoned his own proposal to eliminate a key advantage for veterans applying for federal jobs.The senator, under pressure from the veterans lobby and locked in a tough reelection fight, told the American Legion he will remove language from a defense policy bill that would have taken away a veteran’s right to twice go to the head of the federal hiring queue. ( Lisa Rein)
  14. The NFL updated its drug policy to include tests for synthetic marijuana. The announcement comes just months after then-Patriots linebacker Chandler Jones was admitted to a hospital after ingesting the drug. (Mark Maske)
  15. Houston Astros prospect Brooks Marlow came under fire after tweeting that ESPN shouldn’t let women call baseball games. “No lady needs to be on ESPN talking during a baseball game ’specially [Jessica] Mendoza,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to the woman who in 2015 became the ESPN’s first female analyst in MLB postseason history. (Jake Russell and Bryan Flaherty)
  16. New research from Johns Hopkins University political scientists finds that Washington’s “unelected bureaucrats” (such as Hill staffers) have grown increasingly detached from the rest of the world. Their report says these civil servants harbor “utter contempt” for ordinary citizens. Jeff Guo notes that the criticism is a little heavy-handed.
  17. South Carolina hunters landed a 13-foot, 800-pound alligator while boating outside Myrtle Beach. The group initially thought they hooked their fishing line to a tree stump before the massive beast lunged into the air. They embarked on an hours-long wrestling match with the gator before its eventual capture. (Sarah Larimer)
  18. Apparently dogs can sniff out more than just bombs and cancer – new research on canine olfactory systems says they can literally “smell time”! The case is being argued by the founder of Barnard’s dog cognition lab. (New York Magazine)

FRESH POLLING:

-- New polling from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs suggests that Trumpism is here to stay – underscoring how concerns about immigration, refugees and globalization in the GOP predate Trump and are thus unlikely to dissipate. Via Scott Clement and Jim Tankersley:

  • Since 2006, Republicans have become increasingly disillusioned with globalization and trade: Today, Democrats are more likely to view those issues more positively than Republicans do, 74 percent to 59 percent, and half-again as likely to do so as core Trump voters (49 percent).
  • Immigration concerns are even more pronounced, with 80 percent of core Trump supporters saying immigrants and refugees pose a “critical threat” to the country. Trump's core supporters are significantly more likely to prioritize controlling illegal immigration than Republicans overall, 83 to 68 percent.
  • The Post is co-sponsoring and livestreaming an event about the poll at the Woodrow Wilson Center at 10 a.m. this morning. (Watch here.)

-- A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll shows Clinton with a double-digit lead over Trump -- but if she were somehow running against Mike Pence instead, the race would be a statistical dead heat. Right now, 50 percent of voters said they would vote for Clinton if the race was held today, while 40 percent said the same for Trump. But her lead is all but erased in a hypothetical matchup against Pence: 46 percent said they would vote for the Indiana governor, while 47 percent said they would continue to back Clinton.

-- A Quinnipiac University swing state poll shows GOP Senate incumbents gaining in Pennsylvania and Florida (as well as Ohio):

  • Pat Toomey is outpacing Democratic challenger Katie McGinty by 8 (50-42) in Pennsylvania. (A Monmouth University survey released Tuesday showed them tied at 46 percent.)
  • Marco Rubio continues to hold a 4 point advantage, up 48-44 over Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Sunshine State.
  • In North Carolina, Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic challenger Deborah Ross and are tied neck-and-neck with 46 percent each.

-- Some good perspective on these numbers: Philip Bump says it’s best to think of these polls in a broader, evolving context – a tug of war game rather than a hardening final result. “That little flag dangling over the middle of the state gets yanked one direction or the other. If it's hanging over the Democratic side when voting is done, Clinton wins the electoral votes. If it's over the Republican side, they go to Trump,” he writes. “A poll a month before the final tally is less a predictor of the final result than it is an indicator of how the rope is being tugged. A number of tugs in one direction over a short period of time tells you something about how the race will end up! But most polling consists of little tugs in either direction, without much movement overall.” With that in mind, the flag is currently in Clinton’s camp – and she’s currently in a surer position than Obama was at nationally in 2012. Read more.

-- A national survey of Asian Americans finds Clinton with a massive 41-point lead over Trump, besting the real estate developer 55 percent to 14 percent. Seven in 10 undecided voters are also leaning towards Clinton, while just 20 said they’re closer to casting their ballot for Trump.

-- Eight of 10 voters in New York City said they definitely do not want to see either Ivanka or Donald Jr. ever run for mayor, according to a Wall Street Journal-NBC 4-Marist poll that shows incumbent Bill de Blasio with a 40 percent approval rating that makes him hugely vulnerable to a challenge next year.

Tim Kaine and Mike Pence debate Tuesday at Longwood University in Farmville. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

-- The V.P. match-up was a ratings bomb. From CNN Money’s Brian Stelter: “About 37.2 million people tuned in to the nine television channels that carried the debate live, according to Nielsen. … The 2012 VP debate, between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, averaged 51.4 million viewers. The Biden-Sarah Palin debate in 2008 ranks as the most-watched VP debate ever, with 69.9 million viewers, largely attributed to curiosity about Palin. The 2004 Dick Cheney-John Edwards match-up drew 43.5 million. To find a lower-rated VP debate than Tuesday, you have to go back to 2000, when 28.5 million people watched Cheney and Joe Lieberman debate.” (TV Newser breaks the ratings down by channel.)

Trump and Clinton at Hofstra University. (Evan Vucci/AP)

THE NEXT DEBATE IS SUNDAY NIGHT:

-- When Obama was struggling to come back from a weak first debate in 2012, it was words from Bill Clinton that really hit home: “You don’t win the second debate by relitigating the first one," he said. Trump might do well to heed that counsel, Karen Tumulty writes in a smart curtain-raiser, especially because the event will be conducted in a town-hall style format -- where candidates will respond to specific concerns of individual Americans, and where voters will be studying candidates for their ability to relate. The history of presidential debates done in this style suggests that stagecraft, body language and empathy matter more than they do in conventional settings." In 1992, one audience member even implored the candidates, “Can we focus on the issues and not the personalities and the mud?”

Town hall debates “test two things at once: the depth of your substantive knowledge and also your capacity for empathy. They test your head and your heart,” said former Bill Clinton adviser Paul Begala. It was Clinton’s husband who owned this format in 1992, and the former secretary of state has plenty of experience doing it too.

Some Republicans say the debate style could be good for Trump, known to feed off the energy of crowds. “I think he’s better than her at talking from the heart,” said GOP debate coach Brett O’Donnell. “The question is, how will he do it, and how well will he do it?”

-- Clinton spent yesterday hitting the books prepare for the St. Louis showdown. The Democratic nominee held a five-hour, policy-focused session attended by policy advisers Sara Solow and Kristina Costa; her director of research, Tony Carrk, who has been a part of her debate prep team; and several other close aides, such as Jake Sullivan, Karen Dunn and Ron Klain. She plans to spend the coming days continuing her prep off the trail and will hold a series of mock debates. (Abby Phillip)

-- Trump has been studying video footage of his widely-panned performance last week and practicing new attack lines, a source said, but “he still grows impatient with often-tedious preparations.” Aides are urging him to imitate Pence. "Stay calm ... and avoid political traps," one told Janet Hook and Reid Epstein in the Wall Street Journal.

-- Trump says he will NOT comment on Bill Clinton’s infidelity on Sunday. “I want to win this election on my policies for the future, not on Bill Clinton’s past,” he said in an email to Page Six’s Richard Johnson reports. “Jobs, trade, ending illegal immigration, veteran care, and strengthening our military is what I really want to be talking about.”

-- Tim Kaine may have been dinged as "a one-liner robot” for his overly-rehearsed debate answers, but his acerbic performance revealed that the Clinton campaign’s strategy for these debates extends far beyond the stage. “They [ultimately] had a larger goal in mind than winning the debates themselves: to create a series of compelling sound bites that they planned to weaponize for the reminder of the campaign," Abby Phillip explains. "They logged scores of hours of preparation. They recited laundry lists of Trump’s faults. Their clear objective: to record him and his running mate embracing, denying or evading controversial positions that Trump has taken in recorded speeches.”

Yesterday the Clinton campaign tweeted out a list of dozens of moments “mentioned at the debate" (most of them by Kaine) with citations to back them up. On Wednesday, they unveiled a 90-second super-cut of Pence’s denials. That pattern is likely to continue Sunday. The Clinton campaign’s plan for the debates has been to "take it in isolation and put it in an ad," former Harry Reid aide Jim Manley notes. "It’s just the gift that keeps on giving!"

Trump watches children play soccer during a visit to the International Church of Las Vegas. (Evan Vucci/AP)

FIVE GOOD READS ON TRUMP, THE BUSINESSMAN:

-- New York Times, “Trump’s Ventures Began With a Lot of Hype. Here’s How They Turned Out,” by Steve Eder and Alicia Parlapiano: An investigation of Trump’s business announcements found that few went off without a hitch: of some 60 endeavors examined, one-third never got off the ground, one third delivered a “measure” of promised success but also encountered substantial problems, such as lawsuits and government investigations. The remaining third “generally” met expectations. Two highlights:

  • The art of the news release: Former adviser Jim Dowd recalled how Trump insisted on extensively rewriting news releases with larger-than-life terms. Some common ones? “Definitely ‘unprecedented.’ Definitely ‘the best of the best.’” And he began holding so many news conferences that the throngs of journalists began to wane. They began to ask “Really, another one?” said Dowd. 
  • Trump’s strategy: sell the name. “There were entertainment endeavors: a concept for a Trump animation series akin to ‘The Simpsons’; a speaking tour in Australia that was canceled … and ‘Trump Tycoon,’ a smartphone app that sold for ‘$2.99 but the advice is priceless.’” (He said recently he could not recall the app.)

Quote du jour:  “[Trump] acknowledged that sometimes he announced deals before they were fully baked. It was part of the plan, he said, to gauge the public’s response, like a trial balloon, to see whether a deal was worth doing. ‘It is an awfully good way of testing things, I’ll be honest with you,’ he said. ‘There’s no investment, as opposed to doing the deal and letting it be a failure.” As president, he said he might use the same approach to policy making.

-- AP, “Trump Tower: Home to family, empire and claims of kickbacks,” by Jake Pearson and Jack Gillum: “Six years after George Gjieli left federal prison, where he'd been sent for trying to break out a triple murderer, Donald Trump gave him a job running Trump Tower, where the billionaire businessman lived and worked. For a decade, the Albanian immigrant, whom federal prosecutors had described as having ‘utter disdain for the laws of our country,’ was the live-in residential superintendent of Trump's most prized Manhattan high-rise. Meanwhile, he was accused in court papers of coordinating a cash-for-jobs racket inside the building … When Trump hired Gjieli after a face-to-face interview in 1991, the man didn't mention his criminal past and Trump didn't ask him about it, Gjieli said. (Records of his conviction were publicly available at the time.)” And a wrongful termination suit filed by a former elevator operator accuses Gjieli of forcing workers to pay for their positions – a charge that Gjieli did not dispute. “Sure, all the guys pay the money,” he said in a 2005 deposition. “It was a common practice when you get the job.”

-- For DECADES, Trump has cut big checks to state attorneys general after they started reviewing his business practices, according to a story on the front page of today's Wall Street Journal. From Michael Rothfeld and Alexandra Berzon: “Records show Mr. Trump, his family and associates donated in particular to attorneys general in New York, from Robert Abrams in the 1980s through incumbent Eric Schneiderman. The money was given often when Mr. Trump’s companies had decisions pending in these offices. In total, Mr. Trump has given about $140,000 to a dozen people who either were state attorneys general or running for the post from 2001 to 201.4 … Some of the recipients returned the contributions. Totals before 2001 weren’t available.” Trump’s donations stretch back to 1985.

From February:

-- Newsweek, “Trump’s tax records: a tale of business and failure,” by Kurt Eichenwald: “It wasn’t just 1995. Five years of tax information from the 1970s that [Trump] provided to the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety show mismanagement and losses that could have pushed him into personal bankruptcy—but for the largesse of his Dad. …Trump’s success in [his first major] deal—as well as every project that preceded it—came because he was born with a silver shovel in his mouth. ... Fred Trump personally guaranteed his son’s first construction loan from his banker at Chase Manhattan in 1978, allowing his son to rebuild what is now the Grand Hyatt New York. Through the same banker, Fred also arranged for his son to obtain a personal line of credit of $35 million – issued without so much as even a written agreement. Trump’s personal finances collapsed in the same year."

-- BIG PICTURE: "The tax records show that, even in the years leading up to Trump’s first big losses, Trump’s personal income failed to rise above the level of comparatively minuscule,” Eichenwald writes. “He reported $76,210 in income to the IRS for 1975; $24,594 in 1976; and $118,530 in 1977. In other words, his 1978 losses totaled almost twice his combined income from 1975 through 1977. His 1979 losses were 15 times his combined income for those three years. No one could withstand these types of losses given the comparatively paltry amount of money available to offset them. So Trump took the same route he did for the rest of that decade and in decades to come: He borrowed more to keep himself afloat.”

-- Trump’s longtime tax accountant rejected the idea that the Republican nominee deserves any of the credit for employing complex strategies to lower his tax bill and those of his companies. “I did all the tax preparation,” Jack Mitnick told “Inside Edition.” “He never saw the product until it was presented to him for signature.” Mitnick worked for Trump and his father, Fred Trump, for nearly 30 years, from the 1960s until 1996. (HuffPo)

MORE ON THE DONALD:

-- Ronald Reagan's son Michael revoked his earlier endorsement of Trump after the GOP nominee suggested, without basis, that Hillary is unfaithful to her husband. “No way do I or would my father support this garbage,” he wrote, saying Nancy Reagan would have voted for Clinton and that she was “appalled” before her death when people likened Trump to her husband. “Not the Party of Reagan,” he tweeted, and, “If this is what the Republican Party wants leave us Reagans out.” Dana Milbank has a great column on the blow this has dealt to the “Reaganization of Trump." 

-- The Secret Service had to escort a Colorado mother and her 7-year-old disabled daughter from a Trump rally after supporters of the GOP nominee became “hostile.” From The Denver Channel: Jennifer Mau and her daughter attended the rally as an undecided family – but drew ire from Trump supporters after deciding to leave early. The pair were reportedly harassed and followed as they tried to exit the venue, with one yelling: “If she loved her daughter she should vote for Trump.” The mother told the local affiliate that the Secret Service then came to escort them.

-- And employees at a North Carolina civil rights museum that denied Trump’s request to appear there last month have received death threats from his supporters via phone calls and on social media: “The callers were threatening to come over and burn down the building and to shoot up the building,” the museum’s CEO said. “They’ve lessened in frequency this week, but they’re still coming in.” (Raleigh News & Observer)

Melania Trump and Heidi Klum with Donald at the Park Avenue Plaza in 2008. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

-- It turns out Trump has appeared in at least three adult films produced by Playboy. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Chris Massie have uncovered two more movies, in addition to the one they found last week. In the 1994 and 2001 films, Trump is depicted photographing clothed models and interviewing prospective Playmates before telling one she has "what it takes.” This is relevant because Trump launched a nasty attack on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, accusing her of appearing in a dirty movie.

-- “Trump is tearing the NFL apart,” by Bleacher Report Magazine's Mike Freeman: “Interviews [with dozens] of NFL players about Trump over the past four months reveal that scenes of a divided America sparked by the candidate have been replicated inside at least a half-dozen locker rooms of its most popular sport. Some players cite low-level confrontations. Others say friendships have ended. At least one coach has insisted there be no more player discussions of Trump—not a ban on politics in general, just Trump—while on team property.” Now, four weeks into the NFL season and four weeks from Election Day, a straw poll has illustrated starkly divisive results within the league – with 20 of 22 black NFL players saying they planned to vote for Clinton, while 21 of 21 white players said they plan to cast their votes for Trump. “In a league … where anything-goes banter is encouraged and racial lines can be blurred, perhaps the most striking finding in the interviews over the course of the general election is what’s been left unsaid."

-- “Just how big is Trump? We asked 5 experts to — you guessed it — weigh in,” by Kerry Lauerman: Trump’ doctor’s note released on “The Dr. Oz Show” last month claims Trump is 236 pounds and 6-foot-3 -- placing him pretty heavily in the “overweight” BMI category. But how does he measure up under the glare of those who size up others for a living? We asked five experts — a former police chief, a well-known fitness trainer, a dietician, a master tailor and a 60-year carnival veteran — to take a closer look.

  • Norm Stamper, a 34-year police veteran: “If a police officer were asking me to describe a suspect, I would say that he looks to be about 250 pounds and maybe more, maybe 260."
  • L.A.-based trainer Gunnar Peterson: “I met [Trump] 30 years ago … I think he carries the weight well. I have heard he does not work out, which is lamentable in my opinion. My guess is he’s between 228-242 lbs.”
  •  Ray De Frates recently retired after 62 years as a carnival "guesser," pegging people's weight, age and birth month:  "If I were to guess the man, I would guess 252 or 255 pounds.”
Clinton campaigns in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

THE DAILY HILLARY:

-- Billionaire Tom Steyer, alarmed about the lukewarm support for Clinton on college campuses, is funneling more money toward millennial outreach efforts. From John Wagner: “NextGen Climate, the advocacy group funded by (the environmentalist), is expanding its presence to 300 college campuses in a dozen presidential battleground states … That’s up from a goal of 200 when the group launched a $25 million effort in May to help educate millennials about what it sees as crucial but sometimes overlooked differences between Clinton and [Trump] on climate change.” The group has added four states — Michigan, Virginia, Florida and Wisconsin — to the eight it originally targeted and is now doing persuasion work related to Senate races and other contests. “I think we’re going to be on more campuses than even the Clinton campaign,” Steyer said in an interview.

-- Bill Clinton made an appeal to the “common man” as he continued his Ohio bus tour, seeking to win over disaffected Democrats in hard-luck Youngstown as he warned that a vote for Trump is “shortsighted.” From Anne Gearan: "Look, there's a reason for the road rage today," Clinton said. "People go 15 years without a raise, they're mad.” It was a tough sell, even with fresh ammunition — the news that Trump used dumped Chinese steel in building construction. "Are we going to build walls or bridges?” Clinton asked the group, a mostly white, blue collar audience. “All over the world, people are facing this, and lots of those people have said, 'Oh no, I want the walls. I can't stand all this change. I want to go inside, close the door, turn the lights off and hope when I wake up in a few years it'll be better,'" Clinton said. "This is understandable. I completely understand what is going on. But it's not the right decision."

-- The Atlantic endorses Clinton in its November issue, saying that Trump “might be the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency.” It is the third time since the magazine’s founding in 1857 that it has endorsed a presidential candidate. (The others were Abraham Lincoln and LBJ, separated by more than 100 years.) Read the endorsement.

  • QUOTE DU JOUR: The magazine’s 1964 endorsement of Johnson was primarily motivated by opposition to Barry Goldwater, whose “limited capacity for prudence and reasonableness” particularly worried editors. “We think it unfortunate that Barry Goldwater takes criticism as a personal affront; we think it poisonous when his anger betrays him into denouncing what he calls the ‘radical’ press …” they wrote. “There speaks not the reason of the Southwest but the voice of Joseph McCarthy[:] We do not impugn Senator Goldwater’s honesty. We sincerely distrust his factionalism and his capacity for judgment.”

-- Two Brooklyn-based filmmakers organized a “pantsuit power” flash mob event for Clinton in Union Square, enlisting volunteers from across the country and sourcing hundreds of suits from thrift stores all over New York. The event and resulting video are part of their effort to help people connect to Clinton and “feel her humanity,” said the pair, adding that they were “tired of the narrative of the candidates being ‘two sides of the same coin’ with one as a lesser evil.” (The Guardian)

-- Director Lee Daniels created a 1-minute ad for Clinton aimed at getting African Americans to register to vote, featuring several stars from the TV show "Empire.” They say Barack Obama’s legacy is on the line and that they trust Hillary. Actors appearing include Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Gray, Trai Byers, Jussie Smollett, Tasha Smith, Gabourey Sidibe and Grace Byers. The campaign says the spot will run in battlegrounds and digitally. (Watch here.)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (Wong Maye-E/AP)

-- Not ready for prime-time: Gary Johnson declined to name North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a New York Times interview, the latest in a string of well-documented foreign policy stumbles. Asked by Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns whether he knew the name Pyongyang’s dictator, the former governor simply replied, “I do.” He repeatedly demurred: “You want me to name” the person, he repeated, then paused, before adding dryly, “Really.” (He never supplied a name.)

Trump supporters in Coral Springs, Florida.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

-- “A TRUMPISM OF THE LEFT?” “Trumpism represents the conquest of the still relatively staid world of politics by tabloid seaminess and the reality-television carnival,” says New York Times’ Ross Douthat. But that that carnival is hardly limited by ideology or partisan affiliation -- which begs the question: could a Trump-style celebrity takeover someday befall the Democrats as well? “The differences between the Democratic Party’s younger, poorer, browner base and its older, whiter, richer and more moderate leadership are a potentially unstable equilibrium,” Douthat writes in his weekly column. “If Trump has thrived by imitating Europe’s right-wing nationalists, a Trumpism of the left would imitate the left-wing populists of Latin America and Asia … This may sound implausible, indeed frankly un-American — but so did the ascent of Trump’s National Front-ish politics, and yet here we are. Cultural and demographic change can ripple into politics slowly, and then all at once. The elite checks on a gonzo left-wing populism are real and powerful, but so are the cultural forces roiling underneath.”

THE BATTLEGROUNDS:

-- “‘We’re so sexy and important’: How Pennsylvania became the prom queen of 2016,” by Karen Heller: “If it’s Wednesday, it must be Michelle Obama. Not to be confused with Tuesday of last week, when Joe Biden came a-courting. [Clinton returned this week with an event in suburban Haverford] … a couple of days before Trump stopped by Geno’s Steaks, the neon-and-Cheez Whiz photo op in South Philly. Barack Obama? Bill Clinton? Yep. Everyone wants a large chunk of Pennsylvania, and by large, we mean all 20 of its electoral votes. Politically speaking, it’s always sunny in Philadelphia. For years … Pennsylvania has often seemed an afterthought among the East Coast cognoscenti, not so much flyover country as train-through. Now it’s winning the popularity and swimsuit competitions. Pennsylvania is this election’s Florida and Ohio. The New York Times argued ‘Why the whole Trump-Clinton election could probably just be held in Pennsylvania’ -- most days, it seems as though it is.”

-- Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey gave a different answer to the Trump-as-role-model question than his New Hampshire colleague Kelly Ayotte: “No — Donald Trump is not a role model; not for my kids and I don’t think for most American kids,” he said at a stop in Wilkes-Barre, where he spoke with prison employees. “The vulgarity and gratuitous insults of people is not exactly the way I encourage my kids to behave.” The Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Hughes notes the first-term senator still hasn’t decided whether to support Trump and he also said that he didn’t think that Clinton fits the definition of a role model. (New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hasan is now running an ad attacking Ayotte for the gaffe, which she has since recanted.)

-- “Police in Harrisonburg, Virginia, are combing through voter-registration forms linked to a private group founded by a prominent local Democrat after an incident in which authorities discovered that 19 dead Virginians were registered to vote in the Shenandoah Valley city,” Nick Anderson reports. “Harrisonburg Police Lt. Roger Knott said Wednesday that investigators are looking for irregularities in registration forms connected to a group called HarrisonburgVOTES. Knott said the investigation, which began in August, is focused on possible instances of forgery, identity theft and voter fraud. He said police have identified a ‘sole suspect,’ but he declined to name the person, and no charges have been filed in the case. … Former Harrisonburg mayor Joe Fitzgerald has blamed a James Madison University student for the incident … Fitzgerald, a Democratic Party activist who served as mayor from 2002 to 2004, was listed as a founder of HarrisonburgVOTES … Fitzgerald said he fired the student and contacted police in August when he learned about the alleged actions.”

-- Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball’s said Clinton’s lead in the Electoral College has regenerated, and that she has gotten an “obvious bounce” since the first debate. “She has arrested her September decline and has grabbed a lead that suggests she could match or even exceed [Obama’s 2012] victory, the team writes. But her path may look slightly different than Obama’s: “Both states are beginning to report early and absentee voting statistics, and while it may be too early to draw conclusions about Florida (where Clinton’s polling lead is clearer), North Carolina’s early numbers suggest Democrats are slightly improving on their numbers from four years ago.” Meanwhile, there is little sign that Trump is making progress in other states that the team has rated as “Leans Democratic” such as Pennsylvania, despite Trump’s showing in more blue-collar parts of the state. There’s also no indication that he’s moving Michigan, New Hampshire, or Wisconsin: “Although we’re keeping these four states in the ‘Leans Democratic’ column, they are closer to being ‘Likely Democratic.’ Practically speaking, Trump probably can’t win unless he carries at least one of those, and maybe two.” (Read the full post by Kyle Kondik, Larry J. Sabato, and Geoffrey Skelley.)

Robert Wheel has a fascinating list of 2016 “streak breakers” – listing longstanding blue and red counties that Trump and Clinton could flip this year. Some have only voted for one party EVER.

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

-- “How 10 mega-donors already helped pour a record $1.1 billion into super PACs,” by Matea Gold and Anu Narayanswamy: “Super PACs seeking to influence the 2016 elections have collected more than $1 billion, a record haul driven by jumbo-sized contributions from rich donors on both sides of the aisle. Just 10 mega-donor individuals and couples contributed nearly 20 percent of the $1.1 billion raised by super PACs by the end of August, according to a [Post] analysis The total exceeds the $853 million that super PACs collected in the entire 2012 cycle. In a reflection of how once-reluctant Democrats have fully embraced the big-money system, the top givers were split roughly equally along party lines, with five Republicans, four Democrats and one independent, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.” On the left, donors are pumping millions into Clinton-backed super PAC Priorities USA. On the Republican side, however, money is largely flowing to down-ballot in order to help Republicans keep control of the Senate. (Check out their cool graphic of the biggest donors.)

-- “How Walmart plans to transform the way we buy groceries,” by Sarah Halzack: “On a sweaty September morning in the Nashville suburbs, Anna Brummel pulls her white SUV into a Walmart parking lot to stock up on groceries. But she never sets foot in the store. The mother of three had tapped out her order on her smartphone earlier while lying in bed. And now, she parks in a designated spot during a time slot she selected, and Walmart workers load up her car with the goods they picked and packed for her. Walmart is America’s largest grocer, and its aggressive expansion of pickup services has turned its parking lots into a laboratory for the future of online grocery shopping — one of the trickiest puzzles in all of retail. With the pickup model, Walmart is testing whether its best weapon in this digital fight is its most old-school — and hardest to replicate — asset: a network of more than 4,600 stores.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

A segment devoted to Asian American voters that aired in primetime on Fox News is drawing a backlash. 

Here's the video:

From Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii):

Watters defended the segment:

Megyn Kelly noted on her show that Sean Hannity goes really easy on Trump. “Donald Trump, with all due respect to my friend at 10 o’clock, will go on Hannity and pretty much only Hannity and will not venture out to the unsafe spaces these days, which doesn’t exactly expand the tent for either one of them. There. That’s my two cents," she said.

Hannity lashed out at his colleague on Twitter:

When a viewer called him out for not being collegial, Hannity responded:

Twitter traded lots of jokes about Al Gore campaigning for Clinton:

Selina Meyer is getting used to Snapchat:

Spotted at a Trump rally:

Click to watch as he gets shouted down:

Ever heard this rationalization for a Trump vote? We had not:

On the phrase "trading barbs," which appeared in an obnoxious number of news stories about the V.P. debate:

Macklemore was at the White House for an event on the opioid crisis:

But Jake Tapper and others unearthed this tweet, raising questions:

Trump is convinced he knows the correct pronunciation of "Nevada:"

He's wrong:

The dean of the Nevada press corps piled on:

Trump also dodged a question about his position on storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, suggesting that he does not really know much about the issue:

Kirsten Gillibrand baked with son Henry:

Eva Longoria spent a moment with Clinton:

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

-- Huffington Post, “‘I Can’t Breathe’: Disturbing Video Shows Father Of Four Begging Guards For Help Before He Died In Jail,” by Ryan J. Reilly: “’I can’t breathe.’ Michael Sabbie ― a 35-year-old stay-at-home father of four ― said it after five guards piled on top of him inside the Bi State Jail … ‘I can’t breathe.’ Sabbie ― who packed his kids’ lunches, drove them to and from school, and carted them around to their after-school activities ― said it again after a sixth officer pepper-sprayed him as he lay on the concrete floor. [But] Sabbie, who at that point had been in custody for roughly 48 hours, was dead by the morning. The basic details of Sabbie’s death, one of more than 800 jail deaths counted [since July 2015] … wouldn’t normally raise much suspicion. The initial news reports said that Sabbie was found “unresponsive” suggesting he died in his sleep. “But calling Sabbie’s death ‘natural’ obscures more than it illuminates, and would hide the failures that very likely could have prevented his death … [Except] in Sabbie’s case, there’s video.

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“A 90-Year-Old Woman Who’s Voted Since 1948 Was Disenfranchised by Wisconsin’s Voter-ID Law,” from The Nation: “Christine Krucki was born in Lublin, Wisconsin, in 1925. She first voted in the 1948 presidential election and has voted ever since. She’s an independent who has voted for John F. Kennedy but also [Reagan] and [Bush]. But after Wisconsin passed its strict voter-ID law in 2011, Krucki lost her right to vote. She made three trips to the DMV, bringing an Illinois photo ID, proof of residence in Wisconsin, a birth certificate and her marriage certificate but could not get a Wisconsin photo ID for voting.” After Gov. Scott Walker said the voter-ID law “works just fine,” her daughter penned an angry letter to lawmakers. The April 2016 presidential primary in Wisconsin was the first election in her life in which Krucki was unable to vote.

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT:

“Students told not to use term ‘Greek Life’ because of ‘cultural appropriation,’” from The College Fix: “Students involved in a fraternity or sorority at the University of California Merced have been instructed not to use the terms ‘Greek,’ ‘rush’ or ‘pledge’ because they are ‘appropriating Greek culture’ and are ‘non-inclusive,’ several students told The College Fix. “Greek Life” is an ubiquitous term that for decades has represented and encompassed fraternity and sorority activities and organizations nationwide …” In interviews, some students openly voiced their frustration, calling the changes “ridiculous.” “Our traditions have continued for over 200 years,” said one student. “Greek Life is part of our own American university culture.” He added the updated terms are the latest result in the “plague of political correctness.” 

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Pence campaigns in Gettysburg and Johnstown, Pa. Kaine is in Pittsburgh, while Bernie Sanders rallies for Clinton in Ann Arbor, Lansing and Grand Rapids, Mich.

At the White House: Obama welcomes the Pittsburgh Penguins to the White House, then Obama and Biden have lunch. Later, Biden speaks at the National Memorial Service for Shimon Peres at the Adas Israel Synagogue.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

“He will gut you. And he will walk over your cold, dead body and he won't even flinch.” – Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) on Trump

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

-- Fall lovers, rejoice! We’re finally getting to experience some cooler October temps, per today’s Capital Weather Gang forecast: “Patchy fog is a possibility in the early morning in some areas as winds are nearly calm. Sunshine should quickly burn the fog away and by afternoon skies are partly to mostly sunny. Highs reach the low-to-mid 70s.”

-- More than 50 guards and inmates at a Maryland state prison were charged in a widespread bribery and drug conspiracy, with guards accused of smuggling cell phones, tobacco and drugs into the facility in exchange for money and sex. The arrests were the culmination of a years-long investigation that unearthed what authorities said was a culture of corruption embroiling the state’s largest prison. (Ann E. Marimow and Peter Hermann)

-- Five Loudoun County teenagers are slated to be charged with defacing a historic black schoolhouse in the county – allegedly vandalizing the wooden structure with spray-painted swastikas, “white power” and other hate symbols. Members of the community are planning a restoration event at the schoolhouse this weekend. (Moriah Balingit)

-- A University of Virginia study found that 10 percent of Virginia schoolchildren are “chronically absent,” missing 18 plus school days in a single year. The study comes as educators seek to identify and combat chronic absenteeism, prompted in part by a new Department of Education initiative measuring attendance rates across the country. (Moriah Balingit)

-- A 47-year-old Alexandria woman, Paula Marshall, has been charged with fatally shooting her 75-year-old husband. They lived in the 1100 block of Duke Street. (Dana Hedgpeth and Rachel Weiner)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Watch these first-graders react to Trump:

Hillary's newest ad:

Lin-Manuel Miranda took The Tonight Show's Internet Pop Quiz:

Miranda also reacted to Cecily Strong's impression of him on SNL:

Trump gushed over Pence's debate performance:

Pence talks a lot about the “broad-shouldered” leadership and strength of his running-mate:

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe tried to dance a little bit at a post-debate rally for Tim Kaine in Farmville: