Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Flex Debate Muscles in TV Forum

Screen Shot 2016-09-08 at 10.12.17PATRICK HEALY

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Good Thursday morning.
Hillary Clinton vowed not to send American ground troops to Iraq “ever again,” and Donald J. Trump insinuated that he had learned shocking new information involving President Obama — without ever revealing what it was — as the two candidates made back-to-back appearances on Wednesday night at a forum that foreshadowed their highly anticipated debate this month.
Mrs. Clinton, who was frequently put on the defensive by audience members asking questions about her judgment, sought to reassure voters that she would be a forceful and steady commander in chief, noting her role in the killing of Osama bin Laden and pledging that defeating the Islamic State was her “highest counterterrorism goal.”
She promised air power and other support to Arab and Muslim allies but added, “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again, and we’re not putting them into Syria.”
Mr. Trump was withering in his attacks on Mrs. Clinton’s record while vague about his own, and he was defensive about his shifting stands on the Iraq war over the years. He repeatedly declared that he was ready to handle national security issues.
“A hundred percent,” Mr. Trump said, one of several instances he made blunt assertions but provided no details. He was especially insistent in defending his praise of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.
“I think when he calls me brilliant, I’ll take the compliment, O.K.?” Mr. Trump said.
Of the two candidates, Mrs. Clinton faced by far the tougher and most probing inquiry from the moderator, Matt Lauer of NBC, and from an audience of military veterans. Those questions covered topics including her use of a private email server while secretary of state, her vote authorizing the use of force in Iraq and her hawkish foreign policy views.
She appeared stilted at first, particularly when one Republican — a veteran who had held a top-secret naval flight clearance — said he would have been “prosecuted and imprisoned” if he had handled classified information as she had done on her private email server. He charged that she had “clearly corrupted our national security.”
“I appreciate your concern and also your experience,” Mrs. Clinton began, and she described the designations for classified material and how she had handled the most sensitive material “very seriously.”
“I did exactly what I should have done,” she said. “Always have, and always will.”
The forum was a rare moment when Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump all but appeared in the same room together, talking one after the other and facing the same audience and moderator. By the end of the night, the candidates had offered a study in contrasts on substance and style.
A sign outside the Trump International Hotel, Washington D.C. which is set to open next week.

Al Drago/The New York Times

The Republican presidential nominee’s new hotel is set to open in the capital, and like his campaign, it has been a polarizing proposition.

Donald J. Trump spoke about national defense at the Union League of Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Eric Thayer for The New York Times

In a speech at the Union League of Philadelphia, Mr. Trump called for an end to the military spending sequester and contrasted his views with those of Hillary Clinton.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn speaking at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. An image of the attack on the United States mission in Benghazi, Libya, is in the background.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Endorsements by retired officers have become a regular part of the presidential campaign. But some military experts say the importance of such support is overrated.

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio campaigning in Dayton in July.

Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Many Republican groups, who either reject Mr. Trump or see his campaign as a lost cause, are instead threatening to bury Senate Democrats in negative advertising.

Edgard Garrido/Reuters..

The minister, Luis Videgaray, is said to have championed the idea of inviting Donald J. Trump to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Matt Lauer with Hillary Clinton during Wednesday’s forum at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

The NBC anchor found himself besieged by critics of all political stripes, who accused him of unfairness, sloppiness and even sexism in his handling of the event.

On the Trail

Mr. Trump holds an event at a charter school in Cleveland. Mrs. Clintonspeaks to the National Baptist Convention and holds a rally in Charlotte, N.C.

Fact Checks

Donald J. Trump spoke about national security at the Union League of Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Scrutinizing Donald Trump’s National Security Speech


In his comments on security and the military, Mr. Trump included some misleading claims, and some plans that were little different from current policy.

Hillary Clinton before she took part in the presidential forum on Wednesday night.

Classified Emails and the Iraq War: Analyzing the AnswersAn examination of how truthful some of the responses were during the televised forum with Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump.

Donald J. Trump and his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, speaking with the news media en route to a campaign event in Youngstown, Ohio, this month.

Ty Wright for The New York Times

“I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii,” Mr. Pence said, departing from his running mate, who helped lead the “birther” movement and has, more recently, avoided the issue.

Hillary Clinton campaigning in Hampton, Ill., on Labor Day.

Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

She’s no longer leading by seven or eight points, but a clearer picture of where she stands will soon emerge as high-quality polls roll in.

Workers set up the stage at the Landmark Theater ahead of a campaign event for Hillary Clinton in Port Washington, N.Y., in April.

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Donald Trump as Lear? Hillary Clinton as Rosalind in “As You Like It”? Or as Hamlet? A former theater reporter sets the stage.

President Obama toured Wat Xieng Thong, a Buddhist monastery in Laos, on Wednesday.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

The president spent time at a monastery and went shopping, but he also used a visit to a university to press for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

President Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, in Hangzhou, China, on Saturday, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.

Pool photo by How Hwee Young

Some advocates fear the topic has fallen off the American list of priorities in the region amid Beijing’s rise as a geopolitical power.

America’s outlook generally improved under President Obama, with one big exception: Views on health and health care were mixed.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

More Americans said they were enjoying a higher standard of living, exercising more and generally thriving, the research group found, though fewer reported being in excellent health.

Mr. Obama last week at Midway Atoll, where his expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument created the world’s largest marine preserve.

A.J. Chavar/The New York Times

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What We’re Reading Elsewhere

The Atlantic looks at former President Bill Clinton’s time stumping for Mrs. Clinton, in particular his efforts to rally young voters, many of whom do not remember his administration.
Chris Clizza of the Washington Post has written that Mrs. Clinton’s health is not an issue in this campaign. He did, however, write in 2008 that John McCain’shealth was important in that year’s election. Nonetheless, the two issues, he argues, are “apples and oranges.”
The conservative editorial board for The Dallas Morning News, which “has not recommended a Democrat for the nation’s highest office since before World War II,” and wrote on Tuesday that Mr. Trump was “no Republican,” endorsed Mrs. Clinton on Wednesday. “We don’t come to this decision easily,” the board writes. Despite often having criticized Mrs. Clinton, the board adds: “Résumé vs. résumé, judgment vs. judgment, this election is no contest.”