THE BIG IDEA:

Good morning from the West Coast. Here are nine things I’ll be watching during tonight’s Democratic debate, which begins at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on CNN and runs two hours:

Will there be fireworks? Without Donald Trump, tonight surely will be much less entertaining than the first two GOP debates. There are unlikely to be personal attacks during the first showdown between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. As Philip Rucker previews on the front page of today’s Post, both candidates have signaled that they will wear VELVET GLOVES: “Each plans to focus on his or her own policy proposals and backgrounds, drawing comparisons with each other wherever appropriate but avoiding the kind of direct attacks that have been so prominent in the Republican race.”

But how hard does CNN try to orchestrate a Hillary pile-on? Producers want good television and ratings. If the two leading candidates do not go after each other aggressively, watch for moderator Anderson Cooper to try goading the three underdog candidates who will also be on stage into taking shots at them. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb or ex-Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee could come out swinging at the Democratic frontrunner and putative nominee. But if they pass, then it will fall upon the questioners to push Hillary on her private e-mail server, as well as her leftward lurch on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Keystone XL Pipeline and Wall Street reform.

Cooper insists he won’t tee up fights. “I’m always uncomfortable with that notion of setting people up in order to kind of promote some sort of a face-off,” Cooper said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

I don’t buy that. But it’s also possible that CNN will use the other two questioners, Dana Bash and CNN en Español anchor Juan Carlos Lopez, to play the bad cop to Cooper’s good cop. And CNN’s Don Lemon, reading questions submitted through Facebook, could pinch hit.

How does Clinton handle Sanders without being too dismissive? Let’s remember that Hillary is a very talented debater. She fared well in her two dozen showdowns with Barack Obama. Her relentless message discipline suits itself to this medium, and she has real gravitas coming from 25 years spent on the public stage. A lot of what people have heard about her recently was translated through the media filter; she comes across better in person than in defensive soundbytes.

Hillary seeks to look presidential and electable tonight, but she does not want to look stiff. While getting into an argument with her foes isn’t advisable, staying above the fray might make her look entitled. The key for Clinton is to show some energy and fire while also highlighting her experience. It’s a tricky balancing act, but pre-debate expectations are pretty low. So she should be able to pretty easily exceed them.

Will Bernie lose his temper? Sanders does not suffer fools and risks coming across as unlikable if he gets snarly. Back in Vermont, past rivals say it is relatively easy to get under the senator’s skin. Bernie is not prepping through mock debates, and he’s not used to mixing it up with critics.

Does Sanders, who is not even a registered Democrat, come across as outside the mainstream? On “Meet the Press” this weekend, Sanders said “no” when asked if he is a capitalist. “I’m a democratic socialist,” he reiterated.

Bernie is also on the wrong side of the Democratic base when it comes to both guns and immigration. He voted for background checks but has opposed an assault weapons ban, blaming his rural state’s love of firearms. Bowing to organized labor, and concerned about pressure on wages, he’s dubious of allowing more immigrants into the United States. Both are flashpoints that he could get pressed on from the left. If there are multiple follow-ups over his past votes on these issues, Sanders might get flustered.

Obama 2008 strategist David Axelrod notes in an op-ed that Sanders has not talked much about “flesh-and-blood human beings” and their stories. “One listens to Sanders’ jeremiads and is reminded of the old adage about liberals who ‘love humanity and hate people,’” Axelrod wrote for CNN.com. “The debate is an opportunity for Sanders to present a more empathetic side — less grumpy old man and more caring advocate. Sanders also almost certainly will field questions about his youthful writings as a left-wing polemicist, which seem a little crazy now, probably even to him.”

Can Sanders make inroads with minority voters? A CNN/ORC poll published yesterday showed that he’s only getting 4 percent among African-Americans in South Carolina. Clinton led with 59 percent of South Carolina’s black voters, who make up more than half the Democratic primary electorate in the state with the first Southern primary. Clinton crushed him 49 to 18 percent and, in Nevada, 50 percent to 34 percent. Sanders does well with white voters, which is why he’s led in Iowa and New Hampshire polls, but there are doubts he can thrive past the first two states on the nominating calendar.

Does O’Malley get a post-debate bounce? It’s hard to foresee the Maryland governor becoming even less of a factor in the Democratic contest. A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll published yesterday showed that he’s getting just 4 percent among Democratic primary voters in his home state! (Hillary leads in Maryland with 43 percent, followed by Joe Biden at 26 percent and Sanders at 20 percent.)

No one has pushed harder for more debates than O’Malley.  If he does not have a breakout performance, his money struggles will become more acute and it will be harder to woo early state activists. “If he gives a mediocre performance, he’s done,” a Democratic operative with ties to the Maryland governor told The Post’s John Wagner.

Does Jim Webb show up? The ex-Virginia senator is the biggest wildcard because you never know what you’re going to get. Since announcing his candidacy, he’s done very little campaigning. But Webb, the former Navy secretary and Vietnam veteran, has a very impressive resume that could allow him to go toe-to-toe with the ex-secretary of state on foreign policy. He could criticize Clinton on Syria, Iran and possibly her vote to go into Iraq, which he opposed. As for his strategy: “Eisenhower didn’t yap about D-Day in advance,” a Webb spokesman told Time.

Does tonight make Joe Biden more or less likely to run? The vice president has no public events on his calendar today, but you can bet he’ll be watching the debate from his home at the Naval Observatory. To help gin up excitement, CNN not only announced that Biden pre-qualified for the debate. Even after his team said he wouldn’t attend, CNN made a show of having a sixth podium at the ready in case he changes his mind.

If Clinton does really well, quelling the doubts of some of her anxious supporters, Biden is less likely to jump into the race. If the debate is a jumble, joining the fray will certainly seem more attractive.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

— Clinton’s private server was very vulnerable to external hacking, according to fresh details reported by the Associated Press. “Clinton’s server appeared to allow users to connect openly over the Internet to control it remotely, according to detailed records compiled in 2012. Experts said the Microsoft remote desktop service wasn’t intended for such use without additional protective measures, and was the subject of U.S. government and industry warnings at the time over attacks from even low-skilled intruders. Records show that Clinton additionally operated two more devices on her home network in Chappaqua, New York, that also were directly accessible from the Internet. One contained similar remote-control software that also has suffered from security vulnerabilities, known as Virtual Network Computing, and the other appeared to be configured to run websites.”

— Two people were killed and at least 16 were injured in a stabbing attack on a Jerusalem bus, as the latest round of violence between Israelis and Palestinians escalated. Witnesses said the perpetrator was a Palestinian who was killed by police when the bus driver escaped and notified them. Israeli police said two attackers were involved: one with a knife and the other with a gun. Since last month, seven Israelis and 27 Palestinians have been killed in the violence.

— Insurgents fired two shells at the Russian embassy in the Syrian capital as hundreds of pro-government supporters gathered outside the compound to thank Moscow for its intervention in Syria, an AP reporter who was at the event reports: “It was not immediately clear if there were casualties. Opposition fighters in the suburbs of the capital have targeted the embassy in the past but it was not clear if Tuesday’s attack targeted the rally.”

— Bowe Bergdahl’s lawyer is attacking John McCain for possibly interfering with military justice. “A day after the disclosure of an Army lawyer’s recommendation that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl face neither jail time nor punitive discharge for walking off his Army outpost in Afghanistan in 2009, Senator John McCain, chairman of the committee that oversees promotions of senior military commanders, said that Sergeant Bergdahl was ‘clearly a deserter’ and that he would convene a hearing if the sergeant was not punished,” the New York Times’ Richard A. Oppel Jr. reports. “Mr. McCain’s statement drew a sharp rebuke on Monday from Sergeant Bergdahl’s lawyer, partly because the four-star Army general who will ultimately decide the fate of Sergeant Bergdahl is considered likely someday to face a hearing for his next job before Mr. McCain’s committee. Sergeant Bergdahl’s lawyer, Eugene R. Fidell, accused Mr. McCain of improperly seeking to influence the outcome of a major military prosecution.”

GET SMART FAST:

  1. Iran has reportedly convicted Jason Rezaian, The Post’s Tehran correspondent, who was charged with espionage and has been in prison there for 14 months. But Iran didn’t reveal his sentence, and Rezaian could face 10 to 20 years. The secrecy around the verdict suggests that the Islamic Republic may still be pressing for a prisoner swap of three Iranian-Americans in exchange for 19 Iranian prisoners being held in the U.S. for circumventing sanctions. Post Executive Editor Martin Baron called the verdict “an outrageous injustice” and “contemptible.” (Read Baron’s full statement here.)
  2. Zimbabwe will not charge the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the Lion. The country’s Environment Minister said Walter Palmer’s hunting papers were in order, and therefore he could not be charged, per Reuters.
  3. A 37-year-old mom will become the third ever woman to complete the Army Ranger School course today. (Dan Lamothe)
  4. “A federal judge has concluded that officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection manipulated the federal hiring system to create jobs for a group of politically connected, unqualified candidates — but he exonerated a senior personnel official because she was unaware of the misconduct,” per Lisa Rein.
  5. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this morning on whether their 2012 ruling that ended automatic life sentences for juveniles applies retroactively to those sentenced, in some cases, decades before the court’s 2012 decision, BuzzFeed previews.
  6. New academic research argues that our conception of DNA is wrong. Instead of a double helix, some scientists have imaged supercoiled DNA, revealing that its shape is much more dynamic and that it wiggles and morphs into different shapes. (I4U News)
  7. Paramount Pictures and Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company have optioned the rights to make a movie about a book being written on the Volkswagen emissions scandal. (AP)
  8. Turkey’s government says ISIS is the prime suspect in suicide bombings that killed at least 97 people in Ankara over the weekend. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the attacks were intended to influence the outcome of November elections. (Reuters)

POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:

  1. Jeb Bush will roll out a plan for repealing and replacing Obamacare in New Hampshire today. His approach includes a tax credit for purchasing health plans and upping limits on contributions to health savings accounts. (Sean Sullivan writes up an outline from the campaign)
  2. Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) e-mailed colleagues to say he intends to run for House speaker, but he’ll step aside if Paul Ryan decides to enter the race. (Texas Tribune’s Abby Livingston)
  3. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) endorsed Sanders at a pre-debate rally in Las Vegas, the second member of Congress to do so. (John Wagner)
  4. Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler sent a cease-and-desist letter asking Donald Trump to stop playing ‘‘Dream On’’ at campaign events. (Boston Globe)
  5. Trump said in New Hampshire yesterday that he and his rich friends should “voluntarily” forgo their Social Security benefits. “I have friends that are worth hundreds of millions and billions of dollars and get Social Security. They don’t even know the check comes in,” he said at a No Labels forum. (Wall Street Journal)
  6. David Kochel, one of Bush’s top campaign strategists, has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. (Bloomberg)
  7. Chris Christie called Obama a “weakling” and threatened to shoot down Russian planes conducting airstrikes in Syria if he was president. “My first phone call would be to Vladimir [Putin], and I’d say, ‘Listen, we’re enforcing this no-fly zone,’” the New Jersey governor said on MSNBC. “And I mean we’re enforcing it against anyone, including you. So don’t try me. Don’t try me. Because I’ll do it.”
  8. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, formally launched his campaign aimed at unseating Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. The announcement at a community college was long expected but sets the stage for a marquee race of 2016. (Raleigh News and Observer)
  9. Ted Cruz says he’s raised $1 million in the first 9 days of the fourth quarter. We should get Q3 numbers from Jeb and several remaining candidates in the next 72 hours…

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

— Hope fades on Obama’s vow to bring troops home before presidency ends,” by Greg Jaffe: “In meeting after meeting this spring and summer, President Obama insisted that the last American troops in Afghanistan would return home by the end of his presidency, definitively ending the longest war in American history. … Then in August, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came in with one more plan to maintain a counterterrorism force of as many as 5,000 troops in Afghanistan to prevent a reemergence of al-Qaeda and to battle Islamic State fighters seeking a foothold in the country. Dempsey’s plan was a quick, back-of-the-envelope exercise, according to senior administration officials. This time, though, Obama didn’t dismiss it. ‘I think that’s an argument that can be made to the American people,’ Obama said, according to a senior administration official who took part in the meeting. … Afghanistan has been the one constant that spans his two terms in office. As an inexperienced president, Obama decided to send more than 50,000 American troops into Afghanistan. … In early October, Obama summed up one of the biggest lessons he’s taken from America’s interventions in these fractured societies. ‘What we’ve learned over the last 10, 12, 13 years is that unless we can get the parties on the ground to agree to live together in some fashion, then no amount of U.S. military engagement will solve the problem,’ Obama said.”

— “While at State, Clinton chief of staff held job negotiating with Abu Dhabi,” by Rosalind S. Helderman: “During her first four months at State, Mills also held another high-profile job: She worked part time at New York University, negotiating with officials in Abu Dhabi to build a campus in that Persian Gulf city. At State, she was unpaid, officially designated as a temporary expert-consultant — a status that allowed her to continue to collect outside income while serving as chief of staff. She reported that NYU paid her $198,000 in 2009, when her university work overlapped with her time at the State Department, and that she collected an additional $330,000 in vacation and severance payments when she left the school’s payroll in May 2009. The arrangement, which Mills discussed for the first time publicly in an interview with The Washington Post, is another example of how Clinton as secretary allowed close aides to conduct their public work even as they performed jobs benefiting private interests. Another key Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, spent her last six months as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff in 2012 simultaneously employed by the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global charity, and a consulting company with close Clinton connections. Similarly, Mills remained on the Clinton Foundation’s unpaid board for a short time after joining State.” Read Roz’s Q&A with Mills.

— Bob Woodward’s new book about Alexander Butterfield — who disclosed Nixon’s secret White House taping system — goes on sale today. David E. Hoffman writes a story about one of the highlights in “The Last of the President’s Men“: “Nixon believed that years of aerial bombing in Southeast Asia to pressure North Vietnam achieved ‘zilch’ even as he publicly declared it was effective and ordered more bombing while running for reelection in 1972, according to a handwritten note from Nixon disclosed in (Bob’s) book. … Nixon’s private assessment was correct, Woodward writes: The bombing was not working, but Nixon defended and intensified it in order to advance his reelection prospects. The claim that the bombing was militarily effective ‘was a lie, and here Nixon made clear that he knew it,’ Woodward writes.”

Manuel Roig-Franzia tells the story of how Butterfield and Nixon came to collaborate on the book: In 2011, Butterfield visited Woodward’s home in South Annapolis, Md., and the two “hit it off.” Woodward’s wife, Elsa, realized the story would best be told in a book.

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Clinton is a more polarizing figure than the other Democratic candidates, particularly on social media, where strong criticism from conservative sites and tweeters makes up a large portion of the chatter about her candidacy. Sanders, meanwhile, is buoyed by liberal net-roots support. The chart below from our analytics partners at Zignal Labs tracks the sentiment of all Twitter mentions by state over the last week. The blue states are states where Sanders has a higher positive sentiment. Red states are ones where Clinton’s sentiment is higher than her Democratic rival. The darker the color, the wider the gap between the two:

While Sanders rivals Clinton’s traffic on Twitter, the former Secretary of State continues to dominate traditional media, particularly broadcast television, where Sanders has had a hard time breaking through. That suggests that tomorrow might be the first time that many Americans will actually see Sanders in action.

According to Facebook, the five most talked about issues in the U.S. from Sept. 10 through Oct 10 were: Religion, Guns, The Economy, Homeland Security and Terrorism and Racial Issues. Via Facebook, below is the volume of conversation on the social network about each candidate. The interactions figure includes not only the activity on the candidate’s page, but all of the likes, posts, comments and shares about that candidate from throughout the Facebook ecosystem in the U.S.:

–Pictures of the day:

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) snapped a photo of the debate arena in Las Vegas. The DNC chair has incensed liberal activists by allegedly uninviting her own vice chair, Tulsi Gabbard, after she called for more debates. Gabbard, a Hawaii congresswoman, said the message was conveyed to her chief of staff by the chief of staff for Wasserman Schultz, who is widely perceived as pro-Hillary. The DNC publicly denied it, but Sanders’ campaign offered Gabbard a ticket.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) posted a photo of himself with his wife, Judy, at a family wedding over the weekend:

Jason Chaffetz, still running for Speaker, shared a photo of his airport dinner:

The Clintons celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on Sunday:

–Tweets of the day:

A spokesman for Paul Ryan lowered expectations for news in the Speaker’s race this week:

Lincoln Chafee issued a predictably dull statement ahead of the debate. “I’m already nodding off,” tweeted Madeline Marshall, a video journalist with the Wall Street Journal:

Chafee also shared this photo of himself preparing for the debate:

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) called for Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty to hand the case of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old who was shot to death by police, to a grand jury. McGinty’s office released two reports concluding that the shooting death was “reasonable,” drawing criticism from activists and Rice’s family:

While many people celebrated Columbus Day, Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) noted that Monday was also Indigenous Peoples Day:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) criticized California for becoming the second state to automatically register voters:

Former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) thanked medical staff after his recent hospital stay:

— Instagrams of the day:

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) wound up on the Maine coast after a weekend of RVing:

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) walked in the Columbus Day parade in Newport, R.I.:

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

— New York Times, “Latest Unease on Right: Ryan is too far left,” by Jennifer Steinhauer: “Far-right media figures, relatively small in number but potent in their influence, have embarked on a furious Internet expedition to cover Representative Paul D. Ryan in political silt. … He is being criticized on issues ranging from a 2008 vote to bail out large banks to his longstanding interest in immigration reform to his work on a bipartisan budget measure. On Sunday night, the Drudge Report — a prime driver of conservative commentary — dedicated separate headlines to bashing Mr. Ryan on policy positions. … The influence of conservative websites has enraged members who were once considered right of center themselves, and who are desperately trying to keep Mr. Ryan from getting spooked. ‘Anyone who attacks Paul Ryan as being insufficiently conservative is either woefully misinformed or maliciously destructive,’ said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma. ‘His critics are not true conservatives. They are radical populists who neither understand nor accept the institutions, procedures and traditions that are the basis of constitutional governance.'”

—  Politico, “A ‘cancer’ on the Clinton candidacy,” by Glenn Thrush and Annie Karni: “Indeed, from the minute news of Clinton’s secret personal email server broke this past March, she had reacted by lashing out at her enemies—and repeatedly demanding of her inner circle, ‘How do we get past this?’ Neither the campaign nor the candidate have definitively answered that question, and the months of indecision, uncertainty and mounting legal threat have left Clinton, for the second time in her two presidential campaigns, a deeply vulnerable front-runner. From the start, the email controversy—and her campaign’s handling of it—has been an exercise in exasperation, according to people involved in the effort. The wiry and wily John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, thought right away that she needed to dump everything out in public as quickly as possible to avoid the deadly drip-drip-drip. ‘We need to throw the facts to the dogs, and let ’em chew on it,’ Podesta told the candidate. But Clinton’s answer—and that of her lawyer David Kendall and her former State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills—was a ‘no’ when Podesta and other advisers asked for some details. Foggy Bottom needed to review the emails, they were told, and besides, half of them, the ones deemed ‘personal,’ had already been deleted … ‘Why does the other side always know more than we do?’ an aide pointedly asked Kendall during one call early in the unfolding email drama. But little more was forthcoming, according to a longtime Clinton adviser who recounted the incident.”

— Associated Press, “Panama condo owners to Donald Trump: You’re Fired!” by Jeff Horowitz: “The directors of the Trump Ocean Club met July 28 on urgent business. They needed to fire Donald Trump. The building’s residents and condo owners had invested in the namesake, a 70-story waterfront tower along Panama Bay, on the strength of Trump’s reputation. But during the four years that Trump Panama Condominium Management LLC had managed the property, Central America’s largest building, a team installed by the Trump family was accused of running up more than $2 million in unauthorized debts, paying its executives undisclosed bonuses and withholding basic financial information from owners. … The Trump Organization sent its response days later. ‘Your letter is a complete sham,’ wrote the Trumps’ top lawyer, Alan Garten. He accused the board of ingratitude and criminal trespassing. After refusing to accept being fired, Garten declared that Trump’s company was quitting – and demanded a $5 million termination fee.”

— USA Today, “ISIL Death Toll at 20,000, but stalemate continues,” by Tom Vanden Brook: “The U.S.-led bombing campaign has killed an estimated 20,000 Islamic State fighters, an increase from the 15,000 the Pentagon reported in July, according to a senior military officer. … But despite the higher number of casualties and the airstrikes’ erosion of morale among ISIL fighters, the militant group continues to draw new fighters to Iraq and Syria. The overall force, the first official said, remains about where it was when the bombing started: 20,000 to 30,000 fighters.”

— (Oregon) Statesman Journal, “Kitzhaber breaks his silence,” by Carol McAlice Curry: “Former Gov. John Kitzhaber ended nearly eight months of silence this week to criticize Portland-based media outlets for creating a frenzied atmosphere of falsehoods that ended with his resigning his unprecedented fourth term in mid-February. But he said that Sept. 9 and Sept. 13 admissions by The Oregonian newspaper that it had run ‘an untrue news story that put me and my administration in a false light’ have compelled him to speak publicly for the first time since his resignation to ‘weigh in on the discussion’ … ‘Although I was not contacted concerning the retraction, the admission by The Oregonian that it knowingly and materially altered a public document and inserted false information into a direct quote to support a predetermined narrative exposes a troubling pattern, which includes both factual errors and the selective mischaracterization of public records,’ Kitzhaber wrote.

HOT ON THE LEFT

Confederate flag supporters indicted in clash with black partygoers. From the New York Times: “In an unusual legal maneuver, the district attorney in (a) suburb of Atlanta has won indictments against 15 supporters of the Confederate battle flag, accusing them of violating the state’s anti-street gang ordinance during a confrontation with black partygoers in July, the district attorney said on Monday. Prosecutors say that members of the group, which calls itself ‘Respect the Flag,’ threatened a group of African-Americans participating in an outdoor party on July 25.”

HOT ON THE RIGHT

Sheldon Adelson warms to Marco Rubio. From Politico: “One of the Republican Party’s most sought-after contributors is leaning increasingly toward supporting Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is racing to win the backing of other uncommitted megadonors who have the potential to direct tens of millions of dollars his way and alter the contours of the Republican primary fight. Last week, during a campaign swing through Las Vegas, Rubio held a meeting in Adelson’s offices … Adelson, seated at the head of his conference table, heaped praise on Rubio’s performance.”

DAYBOOK:

— What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Besides the Democratic debate… In Iowa, Rand Paul campaigns in Davenport, Dubuque, Fayette, Waverly and Cedar Falls while live streaming his full day on Facebook. Elsewhere in the state, Ted Cruz makes stops in Keokuk, Burlington and Mt. Pleasant; Mike Huckabee speaks in Iowa City and Bobby Jindal attends an event in Decorah. In New Hampshire, Jeb Bush delivers his speech about repealing ObamaCare in Manchester and speaks to town halls in Keene and Lebanon. Also in the Granite State: Lindsey Graham is stopping in Derry, Bedford, Concord and Newport, while John Kasich campaigns in Bow, Tilton and Littleton.  

— On the Hill: The Senate and House are in recess.

— At the White House: President Obama meets with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “How about having the military focusing on hunting down and killing the bad guys…instead of treating it as this crucible for social justice innovations?” — Ted Cruz on Monday in Iowa, referring to the integration of transgender soldiers.

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

“Cloudy skies and scattered showers arrive thanks to a fast cool front. This un-fair weather friend should mainly affect the morning, but we could see a brief moderate shower or two in the afternoon also in between breaks of sunshine. Temperatures warm to the lower to middle 70s as winds blow from the southwest at just 5 to 10 mph,” reports the Capital Weather Gang.

Channing D. Phillips won the nomination to be U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C. The first thing he needs to do: wrap up the office’s troubled five-year probe of ex-District Mayor Vincent Gray.

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden criticized his own play-calling in the team’s 25-19 overtime loss to Atlanta.

The New York Mets beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 13-7, in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

President Obama gave some advice to Kanye West on running for president during a San Francisco fundraiser:

Grammy award winner Pharrell told Ellen DeGeneres that “it’s Hillary time”:

Rand Paul drove through Iowa listening to “The White Stripes”:

Finally, in tragic news, a month-old baby giraffe collapsed at the Fresno Zoo during a preview of the exhibit.