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Friday Talking Points -- Bad Hombres And Nasty Women Unite!

Maybe this, together with all the dark talk of "rigged elections" from Trump will finally provide a dash of enthusiasm for Clinton, here at the homestretch -- it'd certainly be a fitting end to the most bizarre presidential campaign of everyone's lifetimes.
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TOPSHOT - Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shake hands after speaking during the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at Waldorf Astoria October 20, 2016 in New York, New York. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shake hands after speaking during the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at Waldorf Astoria October 20, 2016 in New York, New York. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

So we had the final presidential debate this week, and Donald Trump went right on being Donald Trump, which should have surprised precisely no one by now. Our subtitle today, of course, refers to the two most amusing (or horrifying, take your pick...) things Trump said during the debate. Since then, both "bad hombres" and "nasty women" are trending online. Hey, when bad hombres and nasty women unite, anything could happen, right?

Maybe this, together with all the dark talk of "rigged elections" from Trump will finally provide a dash of enthusiasm for Clinton, here at the homestretch -- it'd certainly be a fitting end to the most bizarre presidential campaign of everyone's lifetimes. From the New York Times:

"Nasty Woman" T-shirts began selling on the internet. Naral Pro-Choice America advertised "NastyWoman" stickers.... Streams of Janet Jackson's 1986 hit "Nasty" increased 250 percent on Spotify after the debate, according to a Spotify spokesman. More than 8,000 people had taken up the phrase on Twitter by midafternoon, wielding it as a badge of honor.

Nastiness aside, last week had to be divided into "pre-debate" and "post-debate." The most prophetic article of the week came from Aaron Blake at the Washington Post, who -- before the debate, mind you -- was already noticing all of Trump's "rigged" talk. In an article titled "The GOP Is Trying To Put Out A Rigged Election Fire That It Helped Start," Blake placed the blame for this phenomenon exactly where it belongs: at the feet of the entire Republican Party.

A big problem for Republicans in all of this, though, is that they are fighting against the very same perceptions they have spent years promoting.

As Republicans have expanded voter ID laws to dozens of states across the country in recent years, the chief justification has been to combat voter fraud. Democrats have responded by pointing out just how few demonstrated cases of actual voter fraud there are (even fewer of which would be affected by voter ID laws), but Republicans have pressed forward, suggesting it's a big enough problem that it requires legislation.

The GOP's platform in 2012 included language supporting voter ID "to prevent election fraud, particularly with regard to registration and absentee ballots."

Blake then discusses the charges of media bias, concluding: "Trump's argument today is merely taking that idea to its logical extreme." The piece finishes with:

But they've done such a great job pressing claims of voter fraud and a biased media that many of them aren't just pushing back against Trump but, in a very real sense, against themselves.

We wrote more than a week ago on a similar theme (although using different examples). Republicans truly have no one to blame but themselves for Trump and all he stands for.

But to get back to the pre-debate wrap-up, last week the Post ran a story about possible voter intimidation (and even suppression) happening under the guise of a voter fraud investigation in Mike Pence's home state of Indiana:

The voter registration applications flagged by election officials in Marion and Hendricks counties "contained minor inaccuracies like missing Zip codes and area codes," [Patriot Majority USA Director Craig] Varoga said. "Based on the fact that they found (problems in) 10 forms out of tens of thousands... to launch a statewide investigation into a voter registration program is a political agenda."

Varoga said the investigation and raid were done to cripple his group's voter registration effort and to create fear and confusion among black voters. "Every single public employee involved in this illegal voter suppression and abuse of law enforcement is a partisan Republican," he said. "With every unlawful action and every partisan statement, they are providing more evidence that this is an abuse of civil rights and voting rights."

Astoundingly, Pence then made the round of all the Sunday morning talk shows -- mere days after this article ran, and none of the hosts asked him a single question about it. Want to know why people think the mainstream media is pathetic? Exhibit A. This wasn't a story from some fringe website or even from a biased news source -- it was from the Washington-freakin'-Post, and yet nobody brought it up when they had the chance. Pathetic.

Trump, out on the campaign trail before the debate, spent his time calling for Hillary Clinton to be drug tested before debating, and tearing up a TelePrompTer for fun and exercise. We are truly through the looking glass, folks. More and more women keep publicly accusing Trump of sexual misconduct, as well. Trump supporters, though, are still confident, perhaps dangerously so.

Let's see, how is Trump's campaign team doing? Well, they just lost their political director, who is going to "step back" from the campaign "for personal reasons." His job "was to focus on Trump's efforts on the ground in those battleground states," so that's probably going to hurt.

How is Trump's campaign team doing out in those battleground states? Well, they just severed ties with the state Republican Party chairman in Ohio, and they had to get rid of one of their own in Virginia as well. So, the battleground states seem to be going swimmingly for Trump.

Let's see, what else? Hillary Clinton has a huge cash advantage, heading into the homestretch. So she's going to spend some of it in Arizona, where Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders just appeared for her. She's got dozens of offices in the state already, the polls show her in the lead in this very red state, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio is polling down 15 points against his Democratic opponent. So Team Clinton smells a possible pickup, which would be historic.

Senator John McCain, already seeing "Madam President Clinton" on the horizon, casually admitted this week that of course Republicans would be united against any Clinton Supreme Court pick. This will make it so much easier for Chuck Schumer to get rid of the filibuster for such appointments next January, should the Democrats take the Senate back.

President Obama has decided what he's going to focus on after he leaves office, and it's a pretty worthy idea. He and Eric Holder are going to fight gerrymandering. This includes such things as pushing for redistricting reform and improving Democrats' position in statehouses across the country in anticipation of the 2020 Census and House of Representatives reapportionment. Democrats got their clocks cleaned in 2010, which is a big reason why Republicans have such a stranglehold on the House. Don't believe this is true? From the article: "In 2014, Republicans got 52 percent of the votes but won 57 percent of the seats." In many states that voted for Obama, the majority of the House delegation is Republicans, as well. Fighting such gerrymandering will be Obama's main political objective for the next few years, with an organization dedicated solely to redistricting reform. As noted, a worthy cause indeed.

OK, enough of that. On to the debate. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated for the final time in Las Vegas Wednesday night, and it was simultaneously the best night for Clinton and the best night for Trump. However, because Clinton's best is so obviously far, far beyond anything Trump could manage, she emerged the clear winner. Other than the "hombre/nasty woman" quotable lines from Trump, the debate boiled down to one simple statement Trump made: he was taking back his commitment (given in a previous debate with Clinton) that he'd abide by the election results. So, looks like no entertaining concession speech will be forthcoming late on the night of November 8th!

Condemnation of Trump's comments was swift, and came from all corners. Leading the pack are Republicans worried about their election chances, naturally, including Senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Rob Portman, and Ron Johnson. McCain had the most pertinent experience to draw upon, of course, and his voice was the clearest: "A concession isn't just an exercise in graciousness. It is an act of respect for the will of the American people, a respect that is every American leader's first responsibility." Also important: keeping Sarah Palin away from the microphone during the concession speech, of course.

Notably absent in this chorus was either GOP congressional leader, as Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell went into bunker mode, and kept their heads down all week. For Ryan it was probably a wise choice, as he had already been booed (with a "Paul Ryan sucks!" chant, no less) at a campaign event he did recently with Trump in Green Bay.

But perhaps the most stunning voice to denounce Trump was Maine's governor, Paul LePage. This is a guy who, previous to Trump's arrival on the Republican political scene, had been in the running for "craziest GOP elected official in the country" -- in fact, he almost seems to be proud of this dubious honor. LePage, after seeing the debate, said:

It's a stupid comment. I mean, come on, get over yourself. Donald, take your licks, and let's move on four years.

Wow. When you've lost Paul LePage -- when even he's saying "get over yourself" -- then your campaign is in a world of trouble.

Also bailing on Donald Trump was Michael Steele, who told an audience celebrating (!) the 40th anniversary of Mother Jones magazine: "I will not be voting for Trump." He becomes the third ex-GOP chairman to refuse to support Trump. As well as all their living ex-presidents. But inquiring minds want to know, what the heck was Michael Steele doing at a Mother Jones celebration? Doesn't seem like his type of bash, if you've ever read the magazine.

Steele didn't mince any words, either, saying that Trump had "captured that racist underbelly, that frustration, that angry underbelly of American life and gave voice to that," and admitting "I was damn near puking during the debates." Boy, with party-members like these, who needs Democratic enemies?

OK, let's check in with the experts. Steve Schmidt, one of the most savvy Republican Party strategists around, is predicting Trump won't have a leg to stand on if he decides to call the election rigged. Why not? Because:

The question is, how close will Clinton get to 400 electoral votes? She'll be north of 350, and she's trending towards 400 -- and the trend line is taking place in very red states like Georgia, Texas and Arizona.

Hoo boy. This is a Republican strategist saying this, with two whole weeks to go. Non-partisan election-watchers are predicting pretty much the same thing. The well-respected Stu Rothenberg just wrote an opinion piece titled: "Trump's Path To An Electoral College Victory Isn't Narrow. It's Non-Existent."

The mocking has even begun, from the left. Want to bet who Trump's going to blame his epic loss on? Keep this link handy, because it has a dandy little chart of all of Trump's conspiracies (and this was drawn before the debate, mind you) to pick from. Why, it could be anybody! Because as we all know, Trump's not going to take one iota of the blame himself.

Is the election depressing you? You certainly aren't alone. So here are two final items to cheer everyone up. First, legalization of recreational marijuana has hit the highest point in public opinion polling that it ever has -- a full 6 out of 10 Americans think the War On Weed should end now, totally and completely. This is an election issue, the article helpfully explains, for a big reason. Full legalization is on the ballot in California (with 40 million residents) as well as four other states:

If the Golden State, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada all vote "yes" next month, almost one-quarter of the U.S. population will soon be living in a state where recreational marijuana is legal -- up dramatically from the current 5 percent of the population that now does.

So get out and vote, stoners!

Finally, for everyone depressed at the depth of nastiness this election has sunk to, we have a cheerful and uplifting message from our neighbors to the north. Check out the video Canadians just sent us all, to convince us that America is already great. We think we speak for all Americans in saying: "Thanks, eh? That was just what we needed!"

There was one grim piece of news this week, as a Republican campaign office in North Carolina got firebombed this week. Anyone -- from any political persuasion -- needs to condemn such acts of political terrorism strongly, of course, and you can add our voice to that chorus. Violence is simply unacceptable in the political arena, no matter how nasty it gets.

But we did want to give an Honorable Mention to a group of Democrats who took it upon themselves to raise some money to help pay for repairs. They set a goal of $10,000, which they reached within a few hours, and turned off the donations after hitting $13,000. This is Democrats helping Republicans in the spirit of condemning violence, so it was a silver lining to a very ugly incident.

But the rest of this section is going to be pretty short and sweet, because we are handing Hillary Clinton our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week for her debate performance, which was superb. The reason this section's going to be short is that the entire talking points section is a recap of the debate, so there's not much else to say about it here.

[It is our standing policy not to provide links to candidate web pages, so you'll have to search Hillary Clinton's site on your own to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]

Hillary Clinton deserves at least a (Dis-)Honorable Mention this week as well, if the WikiLeaked account of her talking about environmentalists (whom she snarkily told: "Get a life") and Bernie Sanders supporters turns out to be accurate.

We really don't think all the leaks have damaged Clinton with the voters so far, and our best guess why this is so is either that Trump is sucking all the oxygen from the room (as he's been doing all along) with scandals that are much juicier and more prurient, or that opinions about Clinton are already "baked in the cake" and aren't going to change anyone's vote at this point. Clinton-lovers will discount the stories as Russian lies, Clinton-haters weren't going to vote for her anyway, and the Bernie Sanders supporters already suspected Clinton has held this attitude all along -- the emails are nothing more than confirmation of these long-held suspicions. With no evidence to back this claim up, though, we think that the Bernie people who are ready to vote for Hillary went through the process of accepting Clinton for who she is during and just after the national convention.

Of course, if Donald Trump weren't being such a clown on a daily basis, the email leaks might have hurt Hillary more -- if they were the only thing the press had to talk about, in other words. But again, that's just speculation.

But our true winners of the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week are Scott Foval and Robert Creamer. Nope, we had never heard of them, either. Here's the story about how they got stung:

Scott Foval and Robert Creamer, two little-known but influential Democratic political operatives, have left their jobs after video investigations by James O'Keefe's Project Veritas Action found Foval entertaining dark notions about how to win elections. Foval was laid off Monday by Americans United for Change, where he had been national field director; Creamer announced Tuesday night that he was "stepping back" from the work he was doing for the unified Democratic campaign for Hillary Clinton.

The moves came after 36 hours of coverage, led by conservative and social media, for O'Keefe's video series "Rigging the Election." In them, Foval is filmed telling hidden-camera-toting journalists about how they have disrupted Republican events. Foval also goes on at length about how an organization might cover up in-person voter fraud. In another Tuesday night statement, the Creamer-founded Democracy Partners, which used Foval as a contractor, denounced both Project Veritas and the statements caught on camera.

For getting caught talking about dirty tricks, both men deserve this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award, at the very least.

[Since they just got fired and are now private citizens, our policy is not to provide contact information for such persons, sorry.]

Volume 413 (10/21/16)

Before we dig in to the talking points, we have a program note for everyone. This column will not appear next weekend, because even though we're deep into election season, it will also be the last calendar day I'll be posting before Hallowe'en. Since Mondays are now "Electoral Math" column days, I can't actually post my yearly spooky column on Hallowe'en itself, so that's what you've got to look forward to next Friday. Fair warning, and prepare to be scared silly by next week's column. And I've already done last year's Hallowe'en column on Trump and Hillary, so I'm going to have to get extra-creative this year. Stay tuned! Since it's Hallowe'en and all, I can ironically say: "Same bat time, same bat channel!"

Speaking of amusing slogans from television shows, we do have one note to add to the excerpts from Clinton's debate performance, simply because we have a rather juvenile sense of humor. Clinton, talking about the economy, said the following: "So now we've dug ourselves out of it, we're standing, but we're not yet running. So what I am proposing is that we invest from the middle out and the ground up, not the top down." This immediately brought to mind the scene from The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror VII" where one of the aliens (Kang and Kodos), disguised as Hillary's husband Bill, during a presidential debate, uttered the immortal line: "I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!" Hey, we warned you we were about to get juvenile....

With that out of the way (ahem), let's get to the more serious parts of the debate. Hillary Clinton brought her chef's knives to this debate, and promptly filleted Trump up one side and down the other, which is why we're running such an extended amount of the transcript today. Hillary had her best debate night yet this week, and it's worth taking a look back at all the different ways she sliced Trump up.

Hillary Clinton's Best Debate Moments

Clinton started off with an excellent answer on what she'd look for in a Supreme Court justice, which is certainly worth reading for anyone who intends to vote for her for that very reason. But we've already got a ton of material here to work with, so you'll have to look it up yourself on the debate transcript (which takes far less time to read than watching the whole debate).

The first truly notable moment was when Hillary made a case she should have been strongly making from the start: Donald Trump uses undocumented workers, so how can anyone believe anything he says on the issue?

Now, what I am also arguing is that bringing undocumented immigrants out from the shadows, putting them into the formal economy will be good, because then employers can't exploit them and undercut Americans' wages.

And Donald knows a lot about this. He used undocumented labor to build the Trump Tower. He underpaid undocumented workers, and when they complained, he basically said what a lot of employers do: "You complain, I'll get you deported."

I want to get everybody out of the shadows, get the economy working, and not let employers like Donald exploit undocumented workers, which hurts them, but also hurts American workers.

Trump, tellingly, didn't even attempt to answer this charge, likely because he knows it is both true and easily provable.

In the segment on the economy, Chris Wallace tossed both candidates a softball, essentially asking them why their economic plan would create more jobs than their opponent's. Now, for some context, for the past week or so, a certain groupthink had been emerging from the punditocracy. All the inside-the-Beltway types decided that what Clinton needed to do during this debate was to "make the case" for why she wanted to be president. This is rather jaw-dropping, because that's exactly what she's been doing for months, out on the campaign trail, but whatever. In any case, I thought her answer to the jobs question was her best summation of why she wants to be president, and (hopefully) will shut up all those loose lips at the Georgetown cocktail parties. [This was just previous to the amusing Simpsons-like quote, we should mention.]

Well, I think when the middle class thrives, America thrives. And so my plan is based on growing the economy, giving middle-class families many more opportunities. I want us to have the biggest jobs program since World War II, jobs in infrastructure and advanced manufacturing. I think we can compete with high-wage countries, and I believe we should. New jobs and clean energy, not only to fight climate change, which is a serious problem, but to create new opportunities and new businesses.

I want us to do more to help small business. That's where two-thirds of the new jobs are going to come from. I want us to raise the national minimum wage, because people who live in poverty should not -- who work full-time should not still be in poverty. And I sure do want to make sure women get equal pay for the work we do.

I feel strongly that we have to have an education system that starts with preschool and goes through college. That's why I want more technical education in high schools and in community colleges, real apprenticeships to prepare young people for the jobs of the future. I want to make college debt-free and for families making less than $125,000, you will not get a tuition bill from a public college or university if the plan that I worked on with Bernie Sanders is enacted.

And we're going to work hard to make sure that it is, because we are going to go where the money is. Most of the gains in the last years since the Great Recession have gone to the very top. So we are going to have the wealthy pay their fair share. We're going to have corporations make a contribution greater than they are now to our country.

That is a plan that has been analyzed by independent experts which said that it could produce 10 million new jobs. By contrast, Donald's plan has been analyzed to conclude it might lose 3.5 million jobs. Why? Because his whole plan is to cut taxes, to give the biggest tax breaks ever to the wealthy and to corporations, adding $20 trillion to our debt, and causing the kind of dislocation that we have seen before, because it truly will be trickle-down economics on steroids.

So the plan I have I think will actually produce greater opportunities. The plan he has will cost us jobs and possibly lead to another Great Recession.

At the end of the back-and-forth on the economy, Clinton scored a great shot, in a line she should have been using prominently in all the debates. Make it personal!

There's only one of us on this stage who's actually shipped jobs to Mexico, because that's Donald. He's shipped jobs to 12 countries, including Mexico.

But he mentioned China. And, you know, one of the biggest problems we have with China is the illegal dumping of steel and aluminum into our markets. I have fought against that as a senator. I've stood up against it as secretary of state.

Donald has bought Chinese steel and aluminum. In fact, the Trump Hotel right here in Las Vegas was made with Chinese steel. So he goes around with crocodile tears about how terrible it is, but he has given jobs to Chinese steelworkers, not American steelworkers.

Once again, Trump had no answer to any of these charges, because he knows they are true. Instead, his argument devolved into: "You should have stopped me by changing all the laws!" He fundamentally misunderstands the role of First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, and insisted that Hillary Clinton should have singlehandedly revamped the tax laws during her "30 years" in public life. Clinton was ready for this, and pounced. This was one of the best moments in the entire debate for her, in fact.

HILLARY CLINTON: He raised the 30 years of experience, so let me just talk briefly about that. You know, back in the 1970s, I worked for the Children's Defense Fund. And I was taking on discrimination against African-American kids in schools. He was getting sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination in his apartment buildings.

In the 1980s, I was working to reform the schools in Arkansas. He was borrowing $14 million from his father to start his businesses. In the 1990s, I went to Beijing and I said women's rights are human rights. He insulted a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, called her an eating machine.

DONALD TRUMP: Give me a break.

CLINTON: And on the day when I was in the Situation Room, monitoring the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was hosting the "Celebrity Apprentice." So I'm happy to compare my 30 years of experience, what I've done for this country, trying to help in every way I could, especially kids and families get ahead and stay ahead, with your 30 years, and I'll let the American people make that decision.

Hillary Clinton obviously watched the recent PBS documentary, which presented both her life and Donald Trump's in exactly the same format -- switching back and forth on the timeline to show what each was doing during each decade. The documentary was well worth watching, but Clinton's answer distilled it into a few paragraphs. Nicely done!

Wallace then asked Trump directly about all those women who had been making sexual misconduct and sexual assault charges against him. Trump insisted that they had all been "debunked," despite having no evidence whatsoever to back this claim up.

Clinton was obviously ready for this exchange, too. Once again, the most effective weapon to use against Trump is his own words, quoted back to him.

CLINTON: At the last debate, we heard Donald talking about what he did to women. And after that, a number of women have come forward saying that's exactly what he did to them. Now, what was his response? Well, he held a number of big rallies where he said that he could not possibly have done those things to those women because they were not attractive enough for them to be assaulted.

TRUMP: I did not say that. I did not say that.

CLINTON: In fact, he went on to say...

CHRIS WALLACE: Her two minutes -- sir, her two minutes. Her two minutes.

TRUMP: I did not say that.

WALLACE: It's her two minutes.

CLINTON: He went on to say, "Look at her. I don't think so." About another woman, he said, "That wouldn't be my first choice." He attacked the woman reporter writing the story, called her "disgusting," as he has called a number of women during this campaign.

Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don't think there is a woman anywhere who doesn't know what that feels like. So we now know what Donald thinks and what he says and how he acts toward women. That's who Donald is.

This led to the most-mocked moment of the night, when Donald Trump stated: "Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody." The crowd responded with: "(LAUGHTER)" prompting Wallace to shush them.

Clinton then spiked the football in the end zone and did a dance. She tied Trump's treatment of women to his treatment of, well, everyone.

CLINTON: Well, every time Donald is pushed on something which is obviously uncomfortable, like what these women are saying, he immediately goes to denying responsibility. And it's not just about women. He never apologizes or says he's sorry for anything.

So we know what he has said and what he's done to women. But he also went after a disabled reporter, mocked and mimicked him on national television.


CLINTON: He went after Mr. and Mrs. Khan, the parents of a young man who died serving our country, a Gold Star family, because of their religion. He went after John McCain, a prisoner of war, said he prefers "people who aren't captured." He went after a federal judge, born in Indiana, but who Donald said couldn't be trusted to try the fraud and racketeering case against Trump University because his parents were Mexican.

So it's not one thing. This is a pattern, a pattern of divisiveness, of a very dark and in many ways dangerous vision of our country, where he incites violence, where he applauds people who are pushing and pulling and punching at his rallies. That is not who America is.

And I hope that as we move in the last weeks of this campaign, more and more people will understand what's at stake in this election. It really does come down to what kind of country we are going to have.

Wallace then prompted Trump's biggest mistake of the evening -- one that is still reverberating throughout the country -- when he responded: "What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense." after being asked whether he'd accept the election's results. Since Trump had been focusing on many claims that the election was about to be "rigged," Clinton was once again ready to pounce.

CLINTON: Well, Chris, let me respond to that, because that's horrifying. You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him.

The FBI conducted a year-long investigation into my e-mails. They concluded there was no case; he said the FBI was rigged. He lost the Iowa caucus. He lost the Wisconsin primary. He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering; he claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him. There was even a time when he didn't get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him.

TRUMP: Should have gotten it.


CLINTON: This is -- this is a mindset. This is how Donald thinks. And it's funny, but it's also really troubling.


CLINTON: So that is not the way our democracy works. We've been around for 240 years. We've had free and fair elections. We've accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election. You know, President Obama said the other day when you're whining before the game is even finished...


WALLACE: Hold on. Hold on, folks. Hold on, folks.

CLINTON: just shows you're not up to doing the job. And let's -- you know, let's be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating -- he's talking down our democracy. And I, for one, am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of position.

This may have been the moment when Hillary Clinton absolutely put the election away, folks. But there were two final zingers that are also worth pointing out. The first came when Trump tried to use his "Bernie Sanders said you have bad judgment" line, in an attempt to woo Bernie voters to his side. Clinton answered back with the answer she really should have had ready all along.

CLINTON: Well, you should ask Bernie Sanders who he's supporting for president. And he has said...

TRUMP: Which is a big mistake.

CLINTON: ... as he has campaigned for me around the country, you are the most dangerous person to run for president in the modern history of America. I think he's right.

And finally, the biggest jaw-dropping moment ever witnessed in a modern presidential debate by a Republican. Sure, the whole "election's going to be stolen from me" thing was astonishing, but this was downright shocking. Hillary got Trump to admit something no Republican has ever (to our knowledge) said in a debate since at least 1980. Clinton teed it up:

You know, back in 1987, he took out a $100,000 ad in the New York Times, during the time when President Reagan was president, and basically said exactly what he just said now, that we were the laughingstock of the world. He was criticizing President Reagan. This is the way Donald thinks about himself, puts himself into, you know, the middle and says, "You know, I alone can fix it," as he said on the convention stage.

And then Trump, a few responses later, just flat-out admitted something that will surely guarantee to keep a large number of Republicans from voting for him:

Because I did disagree with Ronald Reagan very strongly on trade. I disagreed with him. We should have been much tougher on trade even then. I've been waiting for years. Nobody does it right.

Badmouthing Saint Ronald of Reagan? With tens of millions of Republican voters watching? Somebody please explain why, exactly, some Democrats were afraid to let Hillary Clinton debate so much during the primaries? If she can get a Republican to admit he disagreed with Ronald Reagan on national television, then we have to conclude she's one of the best debaters we've ever seen.

[That's it for this week, for anyone who made it all the way to the end of this tome -- see you all again in two weeks, for our final Friday Talking Points before the election!]

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