POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Trump Somehow Blows Softball Interview

Gary Johnson doesn’t know what Aleppo is, whereas Donald Trump, of course, knows Aleppo. He will be the greatest Aleppo president. It’ll blow your mind. Ryan Lochte was banned from visiting the White House, upsetting the swimmer deeply as he loves the bags of mini burgers it sells. And The Hill published its annual “Most Beautiful” list, which next year will probably be the surest way to gain access to the Trump administration. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, September 8th, 2016:

RECOUNTING LAST NIGHT’S FORUM - Namely, all the things Trump said that would’ve sunk another candidate. Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel: “1. Threatening To Fire Generals: Trump called for firing most, if not all, of the current military brass...2. Embracing A Foreign Autocrat Trump raved about Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings, and … drew a moral equivalence with Obama (with Putin coming out on top)...3. Blaming Victims For Military Sexual Assault: Trump stood behind his 2013 assertion that essentially blamed the epidemic of sexual assault in the military on the fact that women are now allowed to serve alongside men...4. Lying About Iraq War Support: Trump once more lied about his position on the Iraq War...5. Discussing What Happened In Classified Briefings  Trump claimed that his during the intelligence briefings he’s received as president, his briefers made it clear (in their body language) that they were dissatisfied with President Obama’s current counter-terrorism policies...6. Boasting About Disrupting An Ally Government: Finally, Trump bragged about getting a Mexican government official to resign after his visit: an odd and counterproductive boast about a close regional ally that Trump himself has recently tried to play nice with.” [HuffPost]

CLINTON TRIES TO KEEP ATTENTION ON TRUMP MISSTEPS WITH PRESS CONFERENCE - An actual press conference, not one of those ‘o hai guyz!’ gaggles on the plane. Louis Nelson and Gabriel Debenedetti: “Hillary Clinton and her campaign sought to fan the flames around Donald Trump on Thursday after the Republican nominee asserted that U.S. ‘generals have been reduced to rubble’ and suggested that some top military officials need to be booted. The former secretary of state convened a rare press conference on the tarmac of West Plains, New York, and proceeded to lash her rival for bad-mouthing the military...Clinton’s campaign was eager to jump into the news Thursday morning after last night’s forum, looking to have the last word on foreign policy by addressing reporters before taking off for a campaign stop in North Carolina. ‘He attacked dozens of former flag officers by saying that, quote, ‘we’ve been losing for a long time,’’ Clinton said at her press conference Thursday morning. ‘That’s how he talks about distinguished men and women who have spent their lives serving our country, sacrificing for us. That’s how he would act as commander in chief.’” [Politico]

WHAT YOUR REPUBLICAN UNCLE WILL BE EMAILING YOU IN A WEEK OR SO - Seth Borenstein: “It’s no Nobel Peace Prize, but Barack Obama has a new honor to brag about. Scientists have named a parasite after him — and there’s no worming out of it. Meet Baracktrema obamai, a tiny parasitic flatworm that lives in turtles’ blood. A new study officially names the two-inch-long, hair-thin creature after Obama. Thomas Platt, the newly retired biology professor at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana who chose the name, says it’s an honor, not an insult. Really.” [AP]

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GARY JOHNSON SUFFERS TRUMP MOMENT, DOES NOT SUFFER TRUMP CONSEQUENCES - Alana Horowitz Satlin: “Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson doesn’t know what Aleppo is, but that doesn’t prevent him from having an opinion on it.  On MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,’ the former governor of New Mexico was asked what he’d do if he were elected president about Aleppo, a major city in northern Syria ravaged by the country’s civil war. ‘What is Aleppo?’ he responded. After hosts explained to Johnson that fighting in Aleppo is one of the roots of the Syrian refugee crisis, he launched into a detailed opinion about the U.S. role in the situation.” [HuffPost]

Johnson’s gaffe and response still are 500% more presidential than Donald Trump: “Johnson insisted in his statement that he did understand the significance of Aleppo. ‘Can I name every city in Syria? No,’ he said. ‘Should I have identified Aleppo? Yes.’ He earlier told Bloomberg Politics that, ‘no one is taking this more seriously than me.’ ‘I feel horrible,’ he said. ‘I have to get smarter, and that’s just part of the process.’” [Ibid]

REINCE PRIEBUS’ AWFUL YEAR GETS WORSE - Though this time he can’t blame Donald Trump. Maybe he consumed too much Baileys cereal. Paige Lavender: “Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took a hit at Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Thursday, the day after he tweeted that the presidential hopeful should have smiled more during a televised forum. In a tweet posted after NBC’s Commander-In-Chief forum, Priebus criticized Clinton for having ‘no smile’ while talking about foreign policy: ‘@HillaryClinton was angry + defensive the entire time - no smile and uncomfortable - upset that she was caught wrongly sending our secrets.’ Clinton brushed off Priebus’ comments during a press conference, saying she didn’t smile during the forum because she was talking about serious issues. ‘I don’t take anything seriously that comes from the RNC,’ Clinton said.” [HuffPost]

Here’s a great mashup of all the times Clinton and Trump smiled during last night’s forum (spoiler: Clinton actually smiled more).

HOPEFULLY THE GUY CARRYING THE NUCLEAR BRIEFCASE WILL KEEP HIS COOL - Jesus Herbert Christ, this election. Ken Dilanian, Robert Windrem and William Arkin: “As U.S. officials cast doubt on Donald Trump’s claim he read the ‘body language’ of intelligence officials at a recent briefing, NBC News has learned exclusive details of what unfolded in the room — one of Trump’s advisers repeatedly interrupted the briefers until Chris Christie intervened, sources said. The Aug. 17 briefing is attracting fresh scrutiny after Trump said at NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum that he divined that intelligence officials were ‘not happy’ with President Obama. ‘What I did learn,’ Trump said, ‘is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow ... what our experts said to do ... And I was very, very surprised. ‘I could tell — I’m pretty good with body language — I could tell they were not happy.’ Timothy Barrett, a spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence, declined to comment Thursday on Trump’s characterization.” [NBC News]

TRUMP CAMPAIGN LATCHES ONTO NEW CLINTON CONSPIRACY THEORY - To be fair, Lizard People breath out of their ears, and we shouldn’t get into the habit of respiration-shaming. Sam Levine: “Donald Trump’s campaign is pushing an absurd conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton wore an earpiece during an NBC News forum Wednesday, in just the latest example of Trump and his supporters circulating things that are untrue in an effort to attack the Democratic nominee. The new accusation was detailed in a story on Infowars, a site run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The story features a zoomed-in picture of Clinton with her ear circled, purporting to show a device hidden there. (Her ear just seems shiny, if anything.) Despite a lack of any evidence, the story claimed that the earpiece showed Clinton cheated during the forum or had a health issue. The article was retweeted by Donald Trump Jr. and A.J. Delgado, a Trump adviser. The story also led The Drudge Report, the influential conservative website.” [HuffPost]

GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE HAS TIES TO SLAVERY APOLOGIST - Greg Gianforte is clearly in the running for this year’s Todd Akin Award For Achievements In Really Weird Views On Women and Race. Dana Liebelson: “The Republican candidate for governor of Montana has ties to Douglas Wilson, an Idaho pastor who once wrote, ‘one could argue that the black family has never been stronger than it was under slavery,’ and maintains that women are ‘created to be responsive and dependent to a man.’ Greg Gianforte, the wealthy technology entrepreneur who’s challenging incumbent Steve Bullock (D) for the Montana governor’s seat, served with Wilson on the board of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, which the pastor co-founded. (Wilson is an ex officio member of the board, which means he doesn’t vote.) Both men spoke at the group’s conferences in 2014 and 2015. Gianforte praised Wilson at the 2014 conference. “We have been Classical Christian from day one ― 20 years,” he said. ‘And I really appreciate Douglas Wilson’s comments about, avoiding, you know, vision drift.’” [HuffPost]

IN SEARCH OF LESBIANS WHO WANT TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN - Our own Jennifer Bendery did some investigating: “Are there lesbians out there who are voting for Trump? I don’t know of any in my lesbian circles in Washington, D.C. I didn’t come across any in July at the Republican National Convention, where I sought out LGBT attendees. I could only find one article that featured an interview with lesbian Trump supporters. There were two of them. Is that it? Two? I decided to try to find a Trump-supporting lesbian to see what makes her tick. I hit up about 20 lesbian friends to see if they knew anyone. There’s only so many of us, I figured the six-degrees-of-separation theory would be my greatest asset. Their responses were not helpful. ‘Bahaha,’ emailed one friend.” [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a smiling dog in outfits.

RYAN LOCHTE WILL NOT GLEEFULLY PET BO - Lochte will not be allowed to press his face against the White House’s windows, either. AP: “Ryan Lochte is banned from swimming through next June and will forfeit $100,000 in bonus money that went with his gold medal at the Olympics, part of the penalty for his drunken encounter at a gas station in Brazil during last month’s games. The U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming announced the penalties Thursday… He’ll get no monthly funding from either organization, can’t access USOC training centers, must perform 20 hours of community service and will miss Team USA’s post-Olympics trip to the White House. Agreeing to four-month suspensions were Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen, who were with Lochte at the gas station. Those sanctions, which end Dec. 31, also strip funding and training access and preclude them from the White House visit.” [AP]

COMFORT FOOD

- The first of undoubtedly countless iPhone 7 spoofs.

- Today’s best headline.

 TWITTERAMA

@morninggloria: Hard to believe Matt Lauer, a human Quality Inn, was not a great moderator for a political forum

@emmaroller: *taps mic*
uhhh, how about those clowns in Washington, am I right?
*sweeps the Pulitzers*

@mobute: When Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen die, what are TV journalists going to talk about going outside their house to enjoy to seem normal?

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