First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Hillary Clinton has owned the 2016 airwaves for two-straight months
Exactly two months ago, Hillary Clinton's campaign went up with its first general election TV ads in battleground states, and in that time it has spent $61 million over the airwaves, while pro-Clinton outside groups have chipped in an additional $43 million. That's a combined $104 million in total ad spending for Team Clinton.
But in that same time frame, Donald Trump's campaign still hasn't spent a single cent on a general-election ad, with two pro-Trump outside groups coming to the rescue with $12.4 million over the airwaves. That's a nearly 9-to-1 advantage in ad spending. And it raises some important questions for the Trump campaign. When will it FINALLY start airing advertisements (with him trailing in key states and nationally 84 days to go until Election Day)? What is Trump doing with his campaign money (after the New York Times reported two weeks ago that Trump and the GOP had raised a combined $82 million last month)? And will any other outside groups come to Trump's defense? Political scientists, you now have an amazing case study on your hands: What happens in a presidential race when one side owns the airwaves for two-straight months?
Oh, and get this: The Green Party's Jill Stein ($189,000) and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson ($15,000) have spent more on ads than the Trump campaign ($0) in this general election.
Total Clinton ad spending so far:
Clinton campaign: $61 million
Clinton outside groups: $43 million
Total Team Clinton: $104 million
Total Trump ad spending so far:
Trump campaign: $0
Trump outside groups: $12.4 million
Total Team Trump: $12.4 million
SOURCE: Advertising Analytics/NBC News
NBC|SurveyMonkey tracking poll
Clinton 50%, Trump 41%: Meanwhile, the latest weekly national NBC|SurveyMonkey online tracking poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by nine points, 50%-41% -- virtually unchanged from last week's 51%-41% advantage for Clinton. Also from the poll: "[M]ore than four in 10 voters said she has the personality and temperament to serve effectively as president. This includes 39 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners and 23 percent of Independents who don't lean toward any party. Trump scores much lower. Just 17 percent of all voters say that Trump has the personality and temperament to serve effectively as president. Even among Republican and Republican-leaners, only 19 percent said Trump has the personality to serve effectively."
The Education Gap -- revisited
Want to know why the 2016 presidential race, according to the most recent round of NBC/WSJ/Marist polling, is closer in Iowa and Ohio than in Colorado or Virginia? Or why Team Clinton (the campaign + Super PAC) has stopped advertising in Colorado and Virginia? So much of it has to do with the composition of whites without college degrees in a particular state. The higher the percentage, the better for Trump. The lower, the worse. The numbers below are from our Hart-McInturff team that conducts the national NBC/WSJ poll -- the first column shows the percentage of whites age 25+ without a degree and the second column is the percentage that group is among all adults age 25+ in each state.
Trump's national security speech: Criticizer-in-chief but no coherent policy
NBC's Benjy Sarlin wraps up Donald Trump's national-security speech from yesterday. "[T]he national security framework he described was so contradictory and filled with so many obvious falsehoods that it's virtually impossible to tell what he would do as president… That's because Trump previously supported every single foreign policy decision he now decries. Despite claiming daily that he opposed the Iraq War from the start, Trump endorsed deposing Saddam Hussein in a 2002 interview and there's no record of him opposing the war until after it had began. As for exiting the Iraq War, he said repeatedly in 2007 and 2008 that America should withdraw immediately and later recommended the same course for Afghanistan. Turning to Libya, Trump recorded a video in 2011 demanding the Obama administration remove Gadhafi from power on humanitarian grounds. He went on to lie about his support for the Libya intervention in a Republican debate only to admit to it when confronted with footage of his old statements in a CBS interview. Finally, Trump called Mubarak's departure 'a good thing' at the time before turning against the idea years later."
Trump calls for "extreme vetting"
NBC's Ali Vitali has more on Trump's speech from yesterday. "Donald Trump on Monday promised 'extreme vetting' of immigrants, including ideological screening that that will allow only those who 'share our values and respect our people' into the United States. Among the traits that Trump would screen for are those who have 'hostile attitudes' toward the U.S., those who believe 'Sharia law should supplant American law,' people who 'don't believe in our Constitution or who support bigotry and hatred.' Those who Trump will allow in are 'only those who we expect to flourish in our country.' The Republican nominee did not disavow his prior proposal to temporarily ban all Muslims from the United States 'until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.' The position, released in December 2015, is still on the nominee's website. He did, however, call for a temporary suspension 'from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism' in order to succeed in the goal of extreme ideological vetting."
Clinton camp announces its transition leadership team
Finally, the Clinton campaign this morning announced its transition leadership team -- with former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar serving as chair. The transition co-chairs are former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the Center for American Progress' Neera Tanden, and former '08 Clinton campaign chief Maggie Williams.
On the trail
Hillary Clinton holds a voter-registration even in Philadelphia at 1:15 pm ET… Tim Kaine hits North Carolina… Donald Trump holds a rally in West Bend, WI at 8:30 pm ET… And Mike Pence is in New Mexico.
Countdown to Election Day: 84 days