If you go online, you will be deluged with opinions about tonight’s debate. We decided to give you the condensed versions. You can go to the links to find out more, but if you read our article, you can say, “Oh, yes, I heard about that,” when someone else goes on and on about the topic.


To begin. . .50 percent of likely voters think the debates will help inform their decision. . .including 10 percent who say they are not currently leaning either way. . .39 percent said the debates will not help, and 11 percent said they did not know. . .72 percent. . .said they want to see moderators point out when a candidate says something that is untrue.


Trump’s claim: “I was totally against the war in Iraq.”
Clinton’s claim: “What I did [with emails] was allowed by the State Department …”
Trump’s claim: “Fifty-eight percent of African-American youth are not working.”
Clinton’s claim: “Under [Obama’s] leadership, we’ve created 15 million new private-sector jobs.”
Trump’s claim: Clinton supports “open borders” and a “550 percent increase” in Syrian refugees.
Clinton’s claim: Trump “doesn’t make a thing in America except bankruptcies.”


[Libya] Obama says the worst mistake of his presidency. . .Do you disagree. . .?
[Syria] How likely is it that all the parties in the Syrian crisis — the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey –could cut a delicate deal. . .?
[TPP] Most of America’s important allies in Asia say the TPP is crucial to counter Chinese political and economic hegemony in the region. Why are they wrong?


[Russia] if. . .Putin intervened militarily in one of the Baltic states, would you favor invoking NATO’s Article 5 and sending forces to counter Russia?
[Nuclear Deterrence] how your willingness to have Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia acquire nuclear weapons enhance global security?
[ISIS] Unless you specifically lay out a plan, that promise is as empty as Nixon’s secret plan for Vietnam plan. How would you eliminate the Islamic State and how quickly?


[Israeli-Palestinian Conflict] What would you do differently, or should the U.S. stay out?
[Foreign Policy] Could you name a few of your most important foreign policy advisers?

Dick Morris has advice for Trump:

1. He should attack Bill’s record on bank regulation, making clear that his decision to deregulate banks as he left office opened the door to the ’07 and ’08 crash.
2. He should challenge her to close down the Clinton Foundation so there can be no pay-for-play deals involving a president.
3. In his outreach to African-Americans, he has stressed school choice — a chapter in our book. He can outflank Hillary on education and make strong inroads into the ranks of black women.
4. He needs to show a balanced approach to the recent police shootings and make clear that he will be sure that police violence against unarmed minority boys has to end.
5. Trump should hang Obamacare around Hillary’s neck. The issue has been almost absent from the campaign so far and it represents Obama’s and Hillary’s biggest failure on the national stage.

FiveThirtyEight did a debate briefing book. For sake of space, we’ll describe, not quote it.

Trump attacked Judge Curiel as unable to be impartial, because of his Hispanic heritage.
Trump gave Florida Atty. Gen. Pat Bondi a $25,000 campaign donation; she decided to drop her participation in the class action suit against Trump.

Trump solicited money from third parties; took credit for “donating” it to charities.
Trump hasn’t contributed to his own charity since 2008.

In 1973, Trump was sued for violating the Fair Housing Act.

Late last year, Trump called for banning all Muslims from entering the country.

Trump has praised Putin for ruling with an iron hand.
Trump Jr. has said, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”

Director James Comey said that she had been “extremely careless”

[UPI suggested there was] a “pay to play” ethos in Clinton’s State Department.

Trump may pay no tax, due to using loopholes. Also questions about charitable giving.
Mark Cuban claims Trump hides his tax forms because his personal wealth is a hoax.

Clinton was paid $675,000 for three speeches to Goldman Sachs.
Clinton has not released transcripts of those speeches.

Clinton has been investigated for the Whitewater real estate deal, and others.
She is also being blamed for the Monica Lewinski affair, and others.

Meanwhile, Frank Luntz has given advice to Hillary Clinton.

He’s going to try to beat you on spectacle. You need to beat him on substance. Your tone should be confident and prosecutorial, and your case is to prove that Trump is unfit for public office. . . Your mission is to demonstrate that every time he talks on the global stage, his words could defile the office, embarrass the country and, yes, even provoke a war. . .

Trump is the most disliked candidate in modern history. Put him on trial. Rattle him. When he is challenged, he hits back. He loses control. He says dumb stuff. So push his buttons and compel him to reveal to the world that he is not qualified for the job. . .

Your opening should then re-invoke the single biggest blunder of his post-convention campaign: his attack on the Gold Star Khan family. . .The second most damaging Trump trait is his affinity for dictators who are undoubtedly America’s adversaries. . .He produced a list of judges he’d consider appointing to the Supreme Court. Ask him to name half of them.

Luntz has also given advice to Trump.

Your mission now is to move from prosecutor to presidential. . . .So as you walk on the stage, consider this: you do not need to shock with spectacle. You need to surprise with sincerity. . .

[Clinton] will attempt to pin you down on the policy nuisances and details of your proposals. Be prepared to defend them. From making Mexico pay for the wall to your ideas for healthcare reform, you must be clear and concise in your explanation. The debate moderators will be tough. They will interrupt. They will demand specifics. Be prepared to provide them. . .

At some point early in the debate, perhaps even in response to the first question, you will need to show humility. It’s not enough to be Commander-in-Chief. Voters want to know that there is a heart behind the bluster. . .

You’ll read the word accountability many times in this document because that is your strength and her weakness. Business people are held accountable every single day by customers, employees, and the communities we serve. Politicians? Never.

Watch the debate live tonight at 9pm ET (8pm CT, 7pm MT, 6pm PT).

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Goethe Behr is a Contributing Editor and Moderator at Election Central. He started out posting during the 2008 election, became more active during 2012, and very active in 2016. He has been a political junkie since the 1950s and enjoys adding a historical perspective.

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