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  1. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) is a “genteel Southerner,” he said in an interview Thursday ― and that’s one reason he thinks it was appropriate for GOPpresidential nominee Donald Trump to call his opponent, Hillary Clinton, a “nasty woman” at the final presidential debate this week. During Wednesday’s debate, Trump interjected with the insult as Clinton answered a question about Social Security. He didn’t take kindly to her attempt to paint him as a tax-dodging cheapskate ― a characterization that is demonstrably accurate. “Such a nasty woman,” Trump said. Moments before, he’d claimed that “nobody respects women more than” he does, a line that drew laughter from the audience. Within minutes, the “nasty woman” barb had become a rallying cry for women online. Speaking to radio host Alan Colmes the next day, Babin, who has endorsed Trump, supported not only the real estate mogul’s decision to go after Clinton, but also the assessment that Clinton is indeed “nasty.” Babin began by arguing that Trump had won the debate “hands down,” because he’d talked about the issues while all Clinton could do was “attack.” Colmes then brought up the “nasty woman” jab, and pressed the congressman about whether the remark was appropriate. “You know what, she’s saying some nasty things,” Babin replied “I’m a genteel Southerner, Alan,” he continued. “I think sometimes a lady needs to be told when she’s being nasty.”
  2. I want to talk about the very first answer Donald Trump gave in Wednesday's presidential debate. You may not remember it, because of all the insane things Trump said later, but Trump's first answer was foreshadowing for everything that would follow. Moderator Chris Wallace asked a broad question about what approach the Supreme Court should take in interpreting the Constitution. "It's just so imperative that we have the right justices," Trump said. Then he continued: "Something happened recently where Justice Ginsburg made some very, very inappropriate statements toward me and toward a tremendous number of people, many, many millions of people that I represent. And she was forced to apologize. And apologize she did. But these were statements that should never, ever have been made." I actually agree that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should not have injected herself into the election by calling Trump a "faker," even though he is one. But that's not what's important right now. What's important is that, when Donald Trump was asked what he thinks the Supreme Court should do with its power, the first thing he thought was important to address was that the justices on the court should be nice to him — and that he had made one of them apologize to him when she wasn't. This should not reassure conservatives who have somehow convinced themselves Trump's approach would be to appoint judges who would closely follow the Constitution, rather than judges who show sufficient respect to him personally. And over and over again during the debate, Trump brought matters back to himself — to his own detriment. When Clinton was answering awkward questions about the Clinton Foundation, Trump redirected the conversation to praise his own troubled foundation — prompting moderator Chris Wallace to press him on whether he used foundation funds to pay a legal settlement for his business. When talking about Russian interference in the US election, Trump again bragged that Russian President Vladimir Putin says nice things about him. If he didn't pay enough in taxes, he said that's because Clinton didn't do enough to make him pay. (In fact, when she was a senator, Clinton voted to close a loophole he may have used.) He said he only used foreign steel because Clinton didn't stop him from doing that, either. When Clinton later suggested Trump might find new ways to avoid paying taxes — a practice Trump has bragged about in the past, saying "that makes me smart" — he took personal offense, calling her "such a nasty woman." And when Clinton accused him of being so conspiracy obsessed and so unwilling to admit his own failures that he even accused the Emmy Awards of being rigged when he didn't win those, he chose to relitigate the issue, saying he really should have won an Emmy. So nobody should be surprised by the big headline out of Wednesday night's debate: That Trump would not commit to accepting the results of the election if he loses. "I will tell you at the time," he said. "I'll keep you in suspense. OK?" Well, no, it's not OK. But it's not surprising either. For Donald Trump, everything is about Donald Trump, including the electoral system that has held the United States together for nearly 240 years. If Trump wins, Trump will accept the results. If he loses, well, we'll see what Trump thinks is in Trump's best interest. Trump cares only about Trump, not America. But you already knew that, and so did the Republicans who have cravenly endorsed him. After this debate, those endorsements will become only more awkward. This is an editorial. The opinions and conclusions expressed above are those of the author.
  3. Rival candidates for the presidency, both beset by controversy, will spar over six topics including debt and immigration during final clash before election day. Las Vegas is due to witness its most surreal showdown since Mike Tyson repeatedly bit Evander Holyfield’s ear in the middle of a heavyweight boxing match, as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton square off in the third and final debate before the presidential election. For Trump, Wednesday night’s debate may be the last opportunity to salvage the dwindling support that in recent weeks has seemingly placed the election increasingly out of the Republican nominee’s reach. The encounter at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, comes as both campaigns are beset by controversy in the final stretch of the most unusual presidential campaign in modern history. Clinton has been forced to contend with the illegal hacking of her campaign chairman’s emails, leaked in tranches by WikiLeaks in what the US government has described as the work of Russian intelligence. Trump has faced even greater obstacles, stemming from an unearthed tape in which he boasted of groping women without their consent that prompted a number of women to come forward with accusations of sexual assault against the real estate mogul over a nearly three-decade period. The debate, moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, will focus on six topics: debt and entitlements, immigration, economy, the supreme court, foreign hotspots and fitness to be president. But as in the last two debates between Trump and Clinton, policy is expected to take a back seat to the unpredictable behaviour associated with Trump. The former reality TV star, who has spent the past week darkly warning of voter fraud, has one more chance to try to staunch his leaking support in the polls. Polling aggregator Real Clear Politics shows Clinton with an average lead of almost seven points in recent polls, a lead comparable to that of Barack Obama over John McCain at a similar point in the 2008 election. Even deeply Republican states such as Alaska, Utah and Texas are within the margin of error in some surveys and the Clinton campaign, buoyed by its momentum, is now investing in conservative battlegrounds that include Arizona, Indiana and Missouri. Clinton has maintained a tradition of burying herself in debate preparation in recent days, thus keeping a lighter footprint on the campaign trail. Trump, by contrast, has been notoriously averse to readying himself for the debates and has suffered through two below par performances. Even so, the Republican nominee mocked Clinton at a Colorado rally on Tuesday as “resting”. “It’s lying down and going to sleep,” Trump said, taking another veiled jab at Clinton’s health despite records disclosed by the former secretary of state last month showing no significant medical issues. Clinton’s campaign said her focus would remain on policy in the debate regardless of Trump’s efforts to rattle her with criticisms intended for a base that routinely engages in chants of “Lock her up” at his rallies. “What we have seen is that when she does do that, the character of Hillary Clinton that’s revealed to voters is someone that is quite capable of standing up to him and defending American values and reaffirming them,” Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for Clinton’s campaign, told reporters on Tuesday.