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Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder stands in front of Virginia’s state capitol. (Photo by Timothy C. Wright/For the Washington Post)

With Breanne Deppisch

THE BIG IDEA:

RICHMOND—Former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder thinks Hillary Clinton has blundered by trying to turn the presidential election into a referendum on Donald Trump. “When I ran for office, I never mentioned my opponent’s name. I always said, ‘Vote for me for these reasons,’” the 85-year-old Democrat said during an hour-long interview here yesterday. “Even today, she still needs to develop a message.”

Wilder, who in 1990 became the first elected black governor in U.S. history, said he knows many African Americans, especially millennials, who may not vote. “A lot of Democrats tell me they don’t see the need,” he lamented. “It’s not so much that people are turned off by Hillary as it is that they’re not turned on by anybody.”

Sitting in his corner office on the fourth floor of a public policy center that is named for him at Virginia Commonwealth University, Wilder called on Clinton to quickly lay out more detailed plans for improving schools, cutting crime and creating jobs. “If she doesn’t, the excitement that she needs might not be there,” he said. “For her to go out and say to the African American community, ‘I want you to elect me so that we can continue the legacy of Barack Obama,’ what exactly is it that you want to continue?”

“You cannot win this election without the African American vote,” he added. “Hillary obviously has the necessary qualifications. … But tell me how what you’ve done relates to what (the black community) needs.”

Wilder greets Tim Kaine and his mother, Kathy, before the 2005 event at which he endorsed him for governor. (Steve Helber/AP)

— Wilder passed along this advice during a recent conversation with Tim Kaine, who like him has served as both governor of the state and mayor of Richmond. He recalled telling Clinton’s running-mate, “You can help define the message. You can help make sure expectations are met by proposals and programs. … Simplify it. Make it block-letter, fourth-grade understandable in terms of what your message is. Let’s assume (Trump) is the worst guy in the world. Fine. What makes you better? Because you’re not considered the worst, but right next to it!

The grandson of slaves was a decorated war hero in Korea. In 1970, he became the first African American since Reconstruction to serve in the state Senate. In the face of resistance from the Democratic establishment, he was elected lieutenant governor in 1985. Four years later, he became governor.

— Wilder went out of his way to praise Trump for his recent outreach to the African American community. “Whether it’s genuine or legitimate or not, at least he’s doing it,” he said. “Either way, I think it’s good.”

He said he was chatting with a friend right after Trump visited Detroit the other weekend. “You’ve been sticking with the Democratic Party all these years,” the GOP nominee said, “and what has it gotten you?” “Then the guy turned to me and said, ‘You know, Doug, I hate to say this, but he is right,” Wilder recalled.

Wilder calls Trump a “huckster” but adds that “he’s good at it.” “Trump hasn’t laid out plans either, and I’m not surprised, but I would expect more on the Democratic side,” he said.

Barack and Michelle Obama arrive at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation at the Washington Convention Center on Saturday. (Olivier Douliery/EPA)

— Frustrations with Obama: Wilder was an early endorser of the president’s 2008 campaign, putting him at odds with many in the black Democratic establishment who at that point backed Clinton. But he withheld his endorsement during the 2012 reelection because he did not feel like the first black president had lived up to his promise and potential.

He draws parallels between the rioting in Charlotte this week and the riots of the late 1960s. Back then, Lyndon Johnson created a task force to study the unrest. The Kerner Commission, named for the Illinois governor who chaired it, called for investing more in urban schools and infrastructure, as well as more diverse local police forces. Wilder recently re-read the 426-page report. “None of those things were followed through with,” he said. “That’s 48 damn years ago.” He hoped Obama would spearhead those kinds of changes. “But it never developed … because it was not considered important,” Wilder said.

“The African American community has not been served,” the former governor said yesterday, referring to the last eight years. “Don’t piss on me and tell me it’s raining! In other words, be up front and say, ‘Look, we haven’t done what we needed to have done, and the group that’s most responsible for us being here … hasn’t been served.’ Admit it. Rather than tell people to quit whining when they’re asking for legitimate grievances to be addressed.”

Obama’s speech to the Congressional Black Caucus gala this past weekend rubbed Wilder the wrong way. He did not like the way the president said African Americans not voting for Clinton would constitute a “personal insult” toward him. “Damn, that’s heavy talk,” Wilder recalled thinking when he heard it. “Heavy talk!”

He said it’s too soon to say what Obama’s legacy will be. “Don’t tell people to quit whining when they have legitimate grievances,” he explained. “I’m entitled to my criticism of Obama because I was one of the first people to support him.”

Women wait to see Hillary in Orlando yesterday. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

— The more immediate problem for Democrats is the palpable lack of excitement for Clinton in the heart of this crucial battleground state. Driving through the predominantly African American sections of Richmond at this point four years ago, I remember seeing many displays of support for Obama. Yesterday, traversing the same streets on a rainy afternoon, I didn’t see any signs for Clinton.

Wilder has lots of anecdotes that support this. This past Saturday, he said a Clinton field organizer called him after a day of trying to register voters. The person was struck by how people in some neighborhoods were more enthused about voting in the Richmond mayor’s race than the presidential contest. “It’s sad when you think about it,” Wilder said.

Because the turnout models assume high African American turnout, Wilder believes the race in Virginia is tighter than the polls suggest. “The election will be closer than it should be,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a wipeout. They’ll have to work at it. … They’ve made some mistakes in Virginia. … It’s a state no one can take for granted anymore, and I like that.”

A Roanoke College poll published this morning puts Clinton up 7 points among likely voters in the Commonwealth, down from 16 points in their survey last month. Trump, for his part, will campaign this Saturday in Roanoke. Mike Pence rallied in Williamsburg on Tuesday night.

Polls typically do not have large enough sample sizes of African Americans to allow us to make statistically-significant claims about enthusiasm, which is why we give so much weight to anecdotal evidence. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, however, makes clear that voters overall are nowhere near as pumped about Clinton as they were about Obama four years ago. Only 79 percent of Clinton supporters who are registered to vote say they’re enthusiastic about voting for her, with just 33 percent calling themselves “very” enthusiastic. At the same point in 2012, 93 percent of Obama voters were enthusiastic about supporting him (and 56 percent were “very” much so). And, in September 2008, 96 percent of Obama voters were enthusiastic, 64 percent “very” much so.

HRC deplanes in New York late last night after a long day of campaigning and fundraising in Florida. Her motorcade was waiting. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

— Clinton’s allies insist that African Americans are not being taken for granted. They note that the candidate spoke candidly about “facing up to the reality of systemic racism” and called for police reform since announcing her candidacy.

There has also been months of outreach, especially in Virginia. Every week, the campaign sends African American local elected officials as surrogates to local festivals and black churches. Meetings for black community leaders have been convened in Hampton Roads, Richmond and Northern Virginia. There are field staffers organizing on historically black college campuses.

Following First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to George Mason University last week, students of color at the school organized a phone bank. South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn traveled to Virginia to meet with African American voters in barber shops. Anne Holton, Kaine’s wife, recently met with a diverse group of educators in Hampton Roads. Women who have lost children to gun violence are doing radio interviews with African American stations in Virginia and the D.C. market. And the surrogate operation has placed dozens of pro-Clinton opinion pieces in Virginia’s African American-owned newspapers.

Wilder sits in his office at VCU. (Amanda Voisard/For The Post)

— Wilder cautions that no single election can solve the country’s systemic problems. He estimates that “over half” of Trump’s supporters back him because they feel like government at all levels no longer works for them. “We’re in a pretty thick morass of indecision and lack of direction,” he said. “It’s not a matter of who is going to be the next president. … It’s what do we stand for. What are our core values? … The country is in a mess and it will not be resolved with the election of anybody in November.”

The former governor, who was wearing a double-breasted suit, still comes to work at VCU at least three days a week. He guest lectures at the school of government named for him, and he spends a lot of time trying to bring his dream of a museum about slavery to reality. He said it is still on track to open in Richmond in 2019 – to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first arrival of slaves at Jamestown.

He’s spending a lot of time these days trying to encourage Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) to appoint Rep. Bobby Scott to replace Kaine if/when he becomes vice president. Scott would be Virginia’s first black senator.

— Over half a century in public life, as he broke barrier after barrier, Wilder has earned a reputation as an iconoclast who tells it like it is. The governor anticipates he’ll get accused of “not being a team player” after this interview publishes. “If they say ‘he’s off the reservation,’ I’ve never been on any damn reservation,” he joked. “So don’t expect me to be. If people like myself don’t say it, who in the hell is?

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

RIOTING CONTINUES:

— North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency, deploying the National Guard to Charlotte as violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement continued for a second night in a row. One man was shot and is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The night began with a march of a few hundred people but turned chaotic when protesters attempted to follow police in riot gear into the lobby of an uptown hotel. Officers used tear gas, and then a reporter heard one shot and saw a man lying in the street near the hotel entrance. Demonstrators used outdoor seating to shatter windows of a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which then barricaded its doors. By midnight, dozens had gathered on a downtown highway loop to stop cars from passing. (Story by Cleve Wootson Jr., Lindsey Bever and William Wan; click here for a 3-minute video with scenes from the streets.)

Another shot of cops firing tear gas. (Gerry Broome/AP)

— Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney defended his officers’ actions, saying Keith Lamont Scott had a gun and posed an “imminent deadly threat” when he was shot on Tuesday afternoon. Police recovered a firearm but no book, Putney said, challenging the Scott family’s claims that he was unarmed and reading in his car.

Tulsa officer Betty Shelby, 42, fatally shot Terence Crutcher. The officers were responding to a stalled vehicle. He had no weapon on him or in his SUV. (Tulsa Police Department via AP)

— There was also a large protest last night In Tulsa, Oklahoma, with calls for the arrest of the officer involved in the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher.

— Trump said he is “very troubled” by the Tulsa incident, shifting from his typically forceful support of law enforcement as he suggested that the cop who fired her weapon “choked.” The full quote from last night’s rally in Cleveland Heights, Ohio: “I must tell you, I watched the shooting in particular in Tulsa. And that man was hands up. That man went to the car, hands up. … To me, it looked like he did everything you’re supposed to do. And he looked like a really good man. … This young officer, I don’t know what she was thinking. But I’m very, very troubled by that. Did she get scared? Was she choking? People that do that can’t be doing what they’re doing.” (Jose A. DelReal)

— Clinton offered condolences and called for prayers for both families, saying the number of black Americans killed by police officers is “unbearable” and must become intolerable. “I know I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know anyone who does,” she said of both cases. “This, though, is certain: Too many people are dead who shouldn’t be.” (Anne Gearan)

— Obama called the mayors of Charlotte and Tulsa to pledge help.

— Several family members of Terence Crutcher (the man shot in Tulsa) pushed back against suggestions that he posed a threat to officers: “He was my compassionate son,” Crutcher’s mother, Leanna, told CNN. “No one could ever do anything that would turn him away from being their friend. He loved people.” The Crutchers described their deceased relative as a devoted Christian and loving father to his three daughters, ages 15, 15 and 12, as well as his one son, who is 4. “Terence said he was going to make it big as a gospel singer,” his father said, adding, “We want this officer to be charged with first-degree murder.” (Peter Holley, Wesley Lowery and Derek Hawkins)

Weapons that were seized from ISIS are seen at an Iraqi army base in Camp Tariq near Falluja. (Khalid al Mousily/Reuters)

ISIS ESCALATES:

— Islamic State militants appear to have fired a shell loaded with a chemical agent during an attack on U.S. and Iraqi troops in northern Iraq. “If confirmed, it would be the first recorded chemical attack on U.S. troops since the Islamic State overran parts of northern and western Iraq in 2014,” Thomas Gibbons-Neff reports. “According to Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, only one of the shells lobbed at Qayyarah Airfield West, where U.S. troops are based, tested positive for a mustard agent. There were no U.S. casualties, Davis said, and the shell, ‘likely a rocket or mortar, was imprecise and crude.'”

— In related news, the Pentagon is seeking approval to send up to 500 additional troops to Iraq, as part of the campaign to retake Mosul from ISIS.

— ISIS has also begun ramping up arrests and executions in Mosul, another sign of desperation as the group faces the prospect of losing its northern Iraqi stronghold to the U.S.-led coalition. From Loveday Morris and Mustafa Salim: “The recapture of the city would be a significant step toward depriving the Islamic State of its territory and forcing the group back into an insurgency, which U.S. and Iraqi officials say is only a matter of time. Now, as Iraqi forces — and the U.S. troops advising them — move closer, the Islamic State has also been making preparations. The militants have constructed new (defenses) … There are no accurate estimates of the number of civilians remaining in the city, but the U.N. has said more than a million people could flee Mosul and its surroundings during the offensive.”

(Screenshot via the House Homeland Security Committee)

— The man accused of the bombing spree in New York and New Jersey referenced an eclectic mix of terrorist inspirations, including Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. In his journal, which Ahmad Rahami had with him during his shootout with police, the 28-year-old wrote about al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, radical American preacher Anwar al-Awlaki and Islamic State Spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani … On Wednesday, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) displayed an image of one bloody, apparently bullet-damaged page from the book.” (Matt Zapotosky, Sari Horwitz, Mark Berman and Ellen Nakashima)

Joe Machin’s daughter, Heather Bresch, prepares to testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. (EPA/Michael Reynolds)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. House members eviscerated Mylan CEO Heather Bresch for jacking up the price of EpiPens by more than 500 percent. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) held up an EpiPen to highlight the contrast between “the juice” inside the autoinjector – which costs about $1 – and a two-pack of the pens, which now costs more than $600. (Carolyn Y. Johnson)
  2. Anthony Weiner carried on a months-long online relationship with a 15-year-old girl, during which she claims he asked her to dress up in “school-girl” outfits and pressed her to engage in “rape fantasies,” the Daily Mail reports. The online relationship began last January while she was a sophomore, and the cache of online messages shows that Weiner was aware she was underage. He does not deny it.
  3. Democrats are pushing a Senate-passed aid package for Flint, seeking to address the Michigan city’s water crisis as part of a stopgap spending bill in order to avoid a government shutdown. Negotiators continue to hash out details of the spending bill, which would extend federal funding through Dec. 9 and provide more than $1 billion to combat Zika. (Kelsey Snell)
  4. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified before the House Judiciary Committee for nearly four hours, answering a spate of hostile questioning from conservatives gunning for his impeachment. (Mike DeBonis)
  5. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said politics plays “no role” in decisions the Fed makes, pushing back after Trump claimed that interest rate decisions were politically motivated to help Obama. “I can say, emphatically that partisan politics plays no role in our decisions about the appropriate stance of monetary policy,” she said.
  6. The CDC confirmed more than 30 new cases of acute flaccid myelitis in the U.S. this year – a troubling spike in the mysterious, paralysis-causing illness that has drawn comparisons to polio. “Among the many unanswered questions about the condition are what causes it, how best to treat it and how long the paralysis lasts,” Dan Hurley writes.
  7. U.S. health officials have also identified a new cluster of drug-resistant gonorrhea infections, increasing concerns that doctors will soon be unable to treat the country’s second most common infectious disease. (Lena H. Sun)
  8. The GOP-led House fetal tissue panel said it will hold a California biotech company in contempt of Congress, prompting Democrats to storm out from proceedings. Republicans say the firm has withheld information despite subpoenas. (Mike DeBonis)
  9. A fire at a power plant in San Juan caused a blackout across Puerto Rico. affecting all 3.5 million residents. Officials expect power to be restored today, with hospitals, airports, and police stations to receive priority. (AP)
  10. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg pledged $3 billion toward a new disease-fighting initiative, aiming to accelerate scientific research with the ambitious goal of “curing all disease within our children’s lifetime.” (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
  11. A woman in India was stabbed more than 20 times in broad daylight. A video showing multiple people passing by and not intervening has caused national outrage. There has been a sharp uptick of violence against women in India. More than 800 women are harassed, raped or killed every day. (Travis M. Andrews)
  12. A teenager is seeking $66 million in damages from the city of Oakland’s police department, accusing cops of “using her for sex” after she attempted to escape a prostitution ring. A newly-filed document charges more than 30 officers of raping and victimizing her, saying they “furthered and deepened her spiral down into the sex trade.” (Cleve R. Wootson Jr.)
  13. New Yorkers have reported more than 400 suspicious packages since Saturday’s explosion in Chelsea. (New York Daily News)
  14. The MacArthur Foundation announced the 23 recipients of its “genius grants” at midnight. The highly-coveted distinction comes with $625,000. (Caitlin Gibson’s story; the full list)

FRESH POLLING:

— A Marquette University poll show Clinton up just 2 points (44-42) in Wisconsin. 

— A Fox News survey has Trump up in several swing states. He’s up 43-40 in Nevada, 45-40 in North Carolina and 42-37 in Ohio. Down-ballot Republicans are also faring well, with Sen. Rob Portman leading Ted Strickland by 14 (51-37) in Ohio. Sen. Richard Burr leads Deborah Ross by 6 points in North Carolina, and Joe Heck leads Catherine Cortez Masto by 7 points in Nevada.

— A Monmouth University poll shows Clinton besting Trump in New Hampshire by 9 points (47-38). The survey suggests Trump’s “birther” comments may have hurt him in the Granite State – 86 percent said they heard about Trump finally admitting that Obama was born in the U.S., but only 29 percent believe he made the comments sincerely.

— An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that nearly 70 percent of voters are concerned by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric towards women, immigrants and Muslims. More than half said they have “major” concerns. As a point of comparison, 64 percent of voters said Clinton’s private email use is concerning.

Trump in Toledo (AP/ Evan Vucci)

THE DAILY DONALD:

— Trump said he publicly acknowledged that Obama was born in the U.S. because he wants to “get on with the campaign.” It is the first time he has elaborated on his decision to recant the conspiracy theory. “Well, I just want to get on with, you know, we want to get on with the campaign,” Trump said in Columbus. “And a lot of people were asking me questions. And you know, we want to talk about jobs. We want to talk about the military. We want to talk about ISIS.”

— Flashback: Buzzfeed unearthed a 2011 radio interview with conservative host Laura Ingraham in which Trump said he was “very proud” of his campaign against the president’s legitimacy. He also discussed the possibility that Obama “might be a Muslim” and argued that his birth announcement could have been computer-generated. “I’m very proud of it,” he told Ingraham, who is now helping with debate prep. “I don’t like the term (‘birther’). I think it’s a demeaning term to the people that believe he should have a birth certificate.”

— Trump called for the national implementation of “stop and frisk” laws, urging expansion of a controversial policy that allows police to detain and search people under often-vague conditions. “We did it in New York,” Trump said during a Fox News interview, adding that “it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind.”

Available data overwhelmingly disproves his claim. “In every year, at least 80 percent and often 90 percent of those who were stopped were found not to have done anything wrong,” Philip Bump writes. A separate study found the policy had no effect on the number of robberies and burglaries. And the policy was, of course, applied disproportionately to communities of color: NYCLU data shows more than half of those detained and searched were black. Nearly a third were Latino.

Trump used $10,000 of Trump Foundation money to buy this portrait of himself. (Havi Schanz)

— Univision anchor Enrique Acevedo helped find a missing four-foot Trump portrait that the Republican nominee purchased using $10,000 of charity money (likely in violation of federal tax law). From David A. Fahrenthold, who led an online hunt for the painting: “It was a four-foot-tall portrait of Trump himself, painted by Miami Beach-based artist Havi Schanz. In 2014, the painting had been auctioned off during a charity gala … Trump himself was the winning bidder. Then, later, Trump actually paid for the painting with a check from his [Trump Foundation] charity. Tax law experts have said that this could violate a law against ‘self-dealing,’ which prohibits nonprofit leaders from spending charity money to buy things for themselves.” If the Trump Foundation paid for the painting, experts said, it had to be put to charitable use. “It couldn’t just be hung, say, on the wall of one of Trump’s golf clubs.” 

Except that’s exactly where it is – hanging on a wall in Trump’s Doral, Fla., golf resort. The curious Univision anchor wandered the quiet halls of the resort, showing a photo of the painting to late-night cleaning staff. “Have you seen this picture?” he asked, in English and Spanish. “They said, ‘Oh yeah, it’s downstairs.’” And there Acevedo found it, hanging on the wall of the resort’s Champions Bar and Grill. No plaque? No “Donated by the Trump Foundation”? “There was nothing like that,” Acevedo said.

— Celebrity boxing promoter Don King used the “n-word” while introducing Trump at a Cleveland campaign event. King’s freewheeling remarks came during a speech in which he discussed the struggles that black Americans face. The heavily-choreographed event included several members of Trump’s “diversity outreach network.”

The full context: “I told Michael Jackson, I said, ‘If you’re poor, you’re a poor negro.’ I would use the n-word. ‘But if you’re rich, you’re a rich negro. If you are intelligent, intellectual, you’re an intellectual negro. If you’re a dancing and sliding and gliding n—–,’ — I mean negro! You’re a dancing and sliding and gliding negro. So dare not alienate because you cannot assimilate.” Behind him, Trump kept a steady grin as King used the epithet and quickly corrected himself, Jose DelReal reports.

— Trump offered support for a GOP-led push to maintain U.S. control over ICANN, endorsing the top legislative priority of Ted Cruz. “The fight to prevent control of ICANN from transitioning to international stakeholders on Oct. 1 has become a sticking point in negotiations over the stop-gap spending bill in recent weeks,” Kelsey Snell reports. “Trump’s latest announcement will likely make it more difficult for negotiators to resolve the issue.” The Texas senator still refuses to endorse Trump. But Cruz, who will not say whether he will seek to block a year-end spending bill if his ICANN legislation is not included, tweeted his thanks:

THE DAILY HILLARY:

Hillary Clinton confers with staff aboard her campaign plane above Florida last night. That’s Huma Abedin at left. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

— Clinton made an intense push in Orlando to win over disabled people and their families. From John Wagner and Abby Phillip: “By reaching out to the disability community, Clinton may be trying to attract not only Democratic-leaning voters but also voters who may be leaning toward Trump — notably disabled veterans. In her Wednesday speech, Clinton pledged to fully support ‘a group of Americans who are, too often, invisible, overlooked and undervalued, who have so much to offer but are given too few chances to prove it.'”

Behind the scenes, the campaign has already enlisted more than 200 advocates for the disabled, who have been vouching for Clinton on social media, developing policy and raising some $1.3 million for her campaign. She first delivered a speech on Autism policy in January. “A lot of families and people with disabilities are single-issue voters, where this is the primary issue in deciding who to vote for,” said Allison Wohl, executive director of a disability rights organization. “So the campaign sees an opportunity.”

Trump, who mocked a disabled journalist during the primaries, has yet to introduce a disability policy. He defends himself by saying he spent millions of dollars making his buildings accessible. He does not mention that this is mandated by federal law.

— Former “West Wing” cast members are stumping for Clinton in Ohio this weekend, hosting a spate of events on behalf of the Democratic nominee in Cleveland, Sandusky, Toledo, Columbus and elsewhere. Richard Schiff (Toby Ziegler), Allison Janney (C.J. Cregg), Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman), Dulé Hill (Charlie Young), Joshua Malina (Will Bailey) and Mary McCormack (Kate Harper) will participate. (Politico)

— “Clinton Struggles to Replicate Obama’s Small-Donor Juggernaut,” by the New York Times’s Jonathan Martin: “In an illustration of the lack of enthusiasm for her among some liberal activists, just 24 percent of the contributors to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign so far have given $200 or less. In 2012, 43 percent of the money to Mr. Obama was from contributors who gave $200 or less, and this year 58 percent of the giving to Mr. Sanders’s grass-roots bid came from small-dollar donors.

Why it matters: “Without this online network, Mrs. Clinton is being made to continue with an aggressive calendar of fund-raisers with rich donors as Election Day grows near — events that can limit her time in swing states and reinforce concerns that give rank-and-file Democrats pause.”

— The coverage gap: A new study finds that Trump’s campaign garnered 822 minutes of screen time on the nightly news broadcasts of ABC, CBS and NBC between Jan. 1 and Labor Day – likely more than any presidential candidate in history. Clinton commanded just 386 minutes in the time, which includes 89 minutes spent on the investigation of her emails as secretary of state. “Yes, Trump has gotten more news coverage (at least the network TV kind) than Clinton. Lots and lots of it. But … the difference might not mean much at all to voters,” Paul Farhi argues.

THE DEBATE IS IN FOUR DAYS:

— Both sides are managing expectations:

Clinton’s campaign is worried that debate moderators have “lowered expectations” for Trump ahead of the first debate, expressing public concern that the Republican nominee’s lack of policy proposals could portend a set of easier questions on Monday night. “My biggest concern is … that people accommodate their questions and lower the bar of their questions to suit the candidate in front of them,” communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters on the Clinton plane. “That has happened with Trump in the past.” (John Wagner)

Trump’s campaign released a memo saying he’s not spending much time preparing. “He’s not rehearing canned 30-second sound bits or spending hours in the film room like an NFL player,” wrote Trump spokesman Jason Miller.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., right, leave the Senate in 2001. (Kenneth Lambert/AP)

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

— HYPOCRISY ALERT, via Paul Kane:  “John McCain and Russ Feingold used to be synonymous with their crusading overhaul of the campaign finance system that eliminated big money from federal elections. But after a sea change to campaign finance laws [following Citizens United] … McCain and Feingold are now benefiting from the largesse they once fought so fiercely against.” Supporters of Sen. McCain, seeking a sixth Senate term, have boosted his campaign through a super PAC financed almost entirely by six-figure donations from Wall Street titans and other corporate executives. Feingold (D), trying to reclaim his old Senate seat in Wisconsin, has been boosted by outside groups financed through ‘dark money’ committees that don’t reveal their donors. Neither is particularly happy about it, but they are not apologizing. The pair’s stance is perfectly understandable given today’s political climate. But it’s an amazing turn of events for the once loud champions of overhauling the campaign finance system.”

Saudi Arabia is facing incredibly intense scrutiny from Congress, even if it beats back the veto override. From Karoun Demirjian: “A series of bills before Congress this month is the surest sign yet that Saudi Arabia can no longer claim the privileged status it has held largely unchallenged for decades in Washington. As the fight over terrorism escalates, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are taking aim at the longtime U.S. ally with a double-header of legislative rebukes to the Kingdom over its alleged ties to extremists and military campaigns in Yemen. The first came Wednesday, when the Senate voted on a resolution to [temporarily] restrict arms sales to Saudi Arabia … Congress is also preparing to override an expected presidential veto this week of a bill to let the families of Sept. 11 victims sue Saudi Arabia over alleged ties to the terrorists.” Said the Brooking Institution’s Bruce Riedel, “Criticism of Saudi Arabia has come out of the closet, and I don’t think it’s going to go back in.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

— ZIGNAL VISUAL

Some of the reaction to Don King using the N-word at Trump’s event:

You can’t make this stuff up…

This image of Trump-as-president is taking off online:

Keith Ellisons says #SkittlesWelcome after Donald Trump Jr. compared Syrian refugees to the candy:

Will Bailey is excited to go to Ohio as a Clinton surrogate:

Barbra Streisand posted this photo in support of Clinton:

Ugh, it’s that time of year…

Michael Moore shared a cartoon from the New Yorker:

Inauguration set-up has officially started:

Spotted in D.C.:

Another beautiful sunset over the National Mall:

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

— “Who’s In Charge of America After a Catastrophe? Who Knows?” by Garrett Graff: “The ‘designated survivor’ has long been one of Washington’s favorite parlor games—imagining what America would be like if a catastrophe befell the capital during a State of the Union and the most powerful office in the land were delivered unwittingly to the cabinet official who had been hidden away as the president-of-last-resort. For about three hours the designated survivor teeters on the edge of becoming the most important person in the world. But the even weirder thing is what might happen [afterwards] … Indeed, the presidential succession plan is the rare Washington story that’s even stranger—and contains even more unexpected twists—than the Hollywood version.”

— One real-life designated survivor recounted his nightlong experience as “Armageddon congressional chief of staff” in 2004: “A speechless flight into darkness was followed by a sightless (they didn’t give me night vision goggles) landing at an undisclosed location. Landing in total darkness in a helicopter is one of the more disorienting flying experiences I have ever experienced. We were met by a combination of men in suits and men in fatigues and a tone that made it clear that while this is a contingency event, it is one that has been practiced and [for which] they are prepared.”

  • ON THE BUNKER: It was comforting to know we have enough toilet paper for a nuclear half-life – even if we would have to sleep in bunk beds.”
  • ON THE FOOD: “They must not want you to be hungry if you need to rebuild after Armageddon – we were fed steak and lobster while we listened to the president’s applause lines [on tv].”
  • ON TRAVELING TO THE SECRET DIGS: “… I noticed that every warning light on the panel of the Huey had started to blink as we rocked in the freezing wind. No one seemed to react. I asked the chief over the intercom if there was a problem. He leaned forward and banged the top row of warning lights with the palm of his hand and they all went out. Problem solved.”

William Weld and Gary Johnson speak at the SiriusXM Libertarian Presidential Forum at the National Constitution Center last week in Philadelphia. (Photo by Bill McCay/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

— Katie Couric asks William Weld on her podcast about Trump’s claim that he’s an alcoholic. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson’s running mate, the former governor of Massachusetts, is asked about Trump’s comment that, “I don’t talk about his alcoholism, so why would he talk about my foolishly perceived fascism?” Weld replies, “If he wants to plead guilty to fascism, I’ll plead guilty to drinking wine.” Two other nuggets from their conversation:

He said that he does not think HRC has a problem with honesty and trustworthiness: “I may get crosswise with Gary here, but no I don’t think that. I think it’s not a stretch to say there’s some pay-to-play aspects to the relationship between the foundations and the government…but in the scheme of things that doesn’t match the level of shouting that’s going on by everybody else.”

On Gary Johnson’s Aleppo gaffe: “He knows how to talk to the people and make things stick. He does not have an Oscar Wilde facility with language.” (Download the whole podcast here.)

Marla Maples and Tiffany Trump in New York earlier this month. (Steve Zak/Getty Images)

— The Daily Beast, “Spiritual Healing with Marla Maples, Trump’s Ex-Wife,” by Olivia Nuzzi: “Marla Maples was taking Angelina Jolie’s side. Sitting outside Boulud Sud … the woman who famously broke up [Trump’s] first marriage and went on to become his second ex-wife was sympathizing with the movie star who succeeded her as an ‘other woman’ obsessively covered by the tabloids, and whom the tabloids now claim was cheated on herself. ‘I love her, but she’s also human. Guess what? We all are.’ She would know. It was her very human ambition that brought her to New York City from Tunnel Hill, Georgia, as an aspiring model and actress in the 1980s, and her human passion that led her to pursue her love for the married man … and her human instincts that compelled her to move out West after their 1997 divorce to shield her daughter from the gossip-hungry town that would’ve eaten her alive had she not been so prolifically and unusually spiritual. And as unlikely as it sounds, it’s her human desire for a life of her own—removed from her past—that’s brought her here, to a cafe with a reporter in the middle of the campaign that may elect her ex-husband president of the United States.”

— New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman contrasts Bob Gates and Vladimir Putin vis-a-vis Trump: “Right now, two of the world’s foremost former spymasters are sending uncoded messages about what it will mean for America and the Western alliance if [Trump] is elected president. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce former C.I.A. Director Robert Gates and … former K.G.B. agent Vladimir Putin … Putin is voting Trump. Gates is not. Trump, narcissist that he is, thinks it’s because Putin really admires his leadership qualities. No, Donald. It’s because Putin knows a mess-maker when he sees one, and the thought of America being led by a man who would be wildly unpopular [across the globe] … is for Putin a dream come true. The old K.G.B. could never make that happen. So, young people, listen up: Hillary doesn’t light your fire? O.K., I agree, she is a flawed candidate. But she can responsibly manage the affairs of state. Trump is beyond repair and won’t just light your fire — he’ll burn the house down. Ask the old spies.”

HOT ON THE LEFT

“Disney Pulls Costume After People Angered Over Brownface,” from Buzzfeed: “Disney said Wednesday it is pulling a brown-skin tattoo costume of Maui, a Polynesian demigod … in the upcoming film Moana, after people accused the company of cultural appropriation. The ‘authentic’ costume was described on the Walt Disney Store’s website as including ‘allover Maui body tattoo screen art,’ an ‘island-style skirt,’ ‘photorealistic teeth art appliqués,’ and ‘padded arms and legs for mighty stature.’ Disney said in a statement that the team behind Moana has taken great care to respect the cultures of the Pacific Islands that inspired the film and that they regret offending some people with the costume.”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT

“University Sponsors a Ball Pit for Students to Sit In and Talk About Hurt Feelings,” from National Review: “Students at the California State University–Northridge sat around in a big ball pit …. and talked about hurtful words and their feelings as part of a school-sponsored inclusive language campaign. …The campaign lasted for a week, was put on by the University Student Union (USU), and cost more than $1,000 in student fees. It’s not clear exactly how much of that money was spent on the ball pit rental, or if there is any research supporting the idea that sitting in a ball pit while having a discussion provides any educational and/or therapeutic benefits. Other features of the campaign included a spinning wheel with offensive words, which students would spin and then discuss whether they found the language offensive.” “When I hear the word ‘edgy,’ it makes me feel triggered,” one student reportedly said.

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Trump campaigns in Chester Township, Pa. Pence is in Colorado Springs, Colo. Kaine rallies with supporters in Reno, Nev.

At the White House: Obama speaks at the 2015 National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal ceremony and is interviewed, along with Michelle Obama, by ABC’s Robin Roberts. In New York, Biden holds bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq, President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus and Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akinci.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. to resume consideration of the motion to proceed to the legislative vehicle for the short-term CR.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

“Why aren’t I 50 points ahead?” — Hillary Clinton, addressing to a labor union conference about Trump’s flaws“If you do know somebody who might be voting for Trump, stage an intervention. Try to talk some sense into them. Lay out the facts. The facts are on our side, about what I’ve done versus what he’s done. Remember, friends don’t let friends vote for Trump.”

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

— Today is the first day of fall! But the temps suggest otherwise, per the Capital Weather Gang forecast: “The area remains on the edge of the cloud shield associated with the deluge still lingering in southern Virginia. The clouds are high-level ones, so the sun filters through sufficiently to push highs into the low to mid-80s, with warmest readings likely to be northwest of the city, where clouds are fewest.”

— The Nationals beat the Marlins, 8-3.

— Traffic to National Harbor could more than DOUBLE after the MGM National Harbor casino opens later this year, according to a new projection. The resort is expected to attract 20,000 visitors per day, exacerbating growing congestion problems in southern Prince George’s County. (Luz Lazo)

— Apple is in talks to potentially launch a flagship store and events center inside Washington’s historic Carnegie Library, eschewing its traditional glass-box design as it seeks to gain control of the 113-year-old digs. (Jonathan O’Connell)

— Maryland police are trying to identify a group of up to 100 motorcyclists and dirt bike riders who surrounded a state trooper in a marked SUV in Prince George’s County. “They surrounded him and slowed down,” a police spokesman said, dispersing only after the officer requested backup. (Dana Hedgpeth)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

“The Daily Show” got Trump supporters to explain why they believe certain whacky conspiracy theories. It’s must-see TV:

Check out this star-studded ad against Trump, including several people who backed Bernie Sanders in the primary — with a funny ending about Mark Ruffalo:

Bloomberg created a minute-long video of Trump impersonating other people talking about him — click to watch:

Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman, a graduate of Stanford, addressed the recent police shootings and tied it to the national anthem protests. “It’s not right for people to get killed in the street,” he says. Watch the full two minutes:

In case you haven’t seen it, the Clinton campaign released this video showing the star of the classic “Confessions of a Republican” ad reenacting his 1964 TV spot to denounce Trump:

Here’s the original:

A new 30-second sport from Trump says “Washington insiders will stay in control” if Clinton wins:

Luis Gutierrez ate Skittles and talked about diversity at a House hearing:

The Huffington Post walked through U.S. brands that are running ads inspired by the election:

Conan O’Brien imagined candy-related Trump ads after the Skittles controversy:

People in London freaked out over an In-N-Out pop-up:

Finally, on “The Late, Late Show,” Alanis Morissette sang an updated version of her 1995 hit “Ironic.” (Watch here.)

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