Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said he’s mulling a presidential run because of his concern over the direction of the GOP, specifically regarding national security. King: “Whether it’s me or anyone else in the Republican Party who runs, I hope we run on having strong national defense and also carrying the banner high. Waving the banner of the United States of America and realizing that whatever other countries may do or whatever complaints they may have, no one has done more for freedom than the United States. But most of all, Americans need to have faith in their leader that he’s not going to back down when things get tough.”
In an interview, King “was unsparing about his own party, too, saying he’s gravely concerned that Republicans are starting to project the same image of timidity in international affairs that has plagued Democrats over the years.” King singled out Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), saying: “He’s a knee-jerk isolationist. Just the level of his arguments — ‘build bridges in the U.S. rather than Afghanistan’ — has superficial appeal. But what does that mean? Does he consider, analyze — what happens when we withdraw?”
King “went so far as to say that the rise of anti-war voices in the GOP threatens to make Democrats the better option for voters who want a strong national defense.” King: “I want to make sure our alternative is better than theirs. … If I’m going to be criticizing the Obama policies, and then we end up nominating someone whose policies I think are more dangerous than [Obama’s], we’ve failed as Republicans.” (Politico)
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"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."
Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."
NBC's Lester Holt hasn't hosted the "Nightly News" since Tuesday, as he's prepped for moderating the first presidential debate tonight—and the first of his career. He's called on a host of NBC talent to help him, namely NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andy Lack; NBC News president Deborah Turness; the news division's senior vice president of editorial, Janelle Rodriguez; "Nightly News" producer Sam Singal, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, senior political editor Mark Murray and political editor Carrie Dann. But during the debate itself, the only person in Holt's earpiece will be longtime debate producer Marty Slutsky.
"The House passed legislation late Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from making any cash payments to Iran, in protest of President Obama's recently discovered decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash in January. And while the White House has said Obama would veto the bill, 16 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the measure, 254-163."
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”