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.
Clinton is outspending Trump over the airwaves by a 5-to-1 margin
Hillary Clinton and her allies continue to dominate Donald Trump and pro-Trump outside groups in the 2016 advertising race. According to ad-spending data from NBC partner Advertising Analytics, Clinton's campaign has spent $96.4 million in ads in the general election, versus $17.3 million for Trump's campaign. That's more than a 5-to-1 advantage for Clinton. And then when you factor in outside groups, it's $156.6 million for Team Clinton, and $33.6 million for Team Trump. That's almost a 5-to-1 advantage. Here are the numbers through this week:
- Clinton camp: $96.4 million
- Pro-Clinton outside groups: $60.2 million
- Total Team Clinton: $156.6 million
- Trump camp: $17.3 million
- Pro-Trump outside groups: $16.3 million
- Total Team Trump: $33.6 million
Clinton extends her lead over Trump, per NBC|SurveyMonkey poll
In the latest NBC|SurveyMonkey online weekly tracking poll (conducted Sep. 12-18), Clinton leads Trump by five points among likely voters, 50%-45% -- the first time the poll has measured likely voters. Among registered voters, it's Clinton 49%, Trump 43%, which is a slight uptick from Clinton's 48%-44% lead last week. In a four-way race among likely voters, it's Clinton 45%, Trump 40%, Gary Johnson 10%, and Jill Stein 4%.
Two very different reactions to the acts of terrorism in New York and New Jersey
As NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell writes, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump couldn't have reacted more differently to the weekend's explosions in New York and New Jersey. "Trump promoted the idea of racial profiling to catch suspected offenders. On Fox News Trump praised the police, calling them "amazing," but said they are 'afraid to do anything' about terrorists 'because they don't want to be accused of profiling.' 'You know in Israel, they profile. They've done an unbelievable job,' he added. 'Do we really have a choice? They're trying to be so politically correct in our country and this is only going to get worse.'" More: "Clinton, meanwhile, said the exact opposite, that law enforcement must work with the Muslim community. She also said that 'it is crucial' that law enforcement and Muslim-Americans must work on building a trusting relationship. She also said in a press conference Monday morning that state and local law enforcement must have 'resources, the training and intelligence they need to effectively prevent and respond' to attacks."
Trump: Suspected bomber should be treated as an enemy combatant
Campaigning in Florida yesterday, Trump argued that the suspected bomber, who was wounded in a gunfight with police, shouldn't receive the same rights as other suspected/alleged criminals. "Today, we have caught this evil thug who planted the bombs. Thank you, law enforcement. Thank you, police. Great. But the bad part: Now we will give him amazing hospitalization. He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world. He will be given a fully modern and updated hospital room. And he'll probably even have room service, knowing the way our country is. And on top of all of that, he will be represented by an outstanding lawyer. His case will go through the various court systems for years and in the end, people will forget and his punishment will not be what it once would have been. What a sad situation."
Washington Post fact-checks Trump tying the suspected bomber to America's immigration system
"Based on the information we have so far, the suspect in the bombings was an American who became radicalized. He came to the U.S. at a young age with his family, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen," the Washington Post says. "It's unconfirmed yet how Rahami entered the United States — whether he gained refugee status, asylum-seeker status, or received some type of visa. This points to radicalization of those living legally in the U.S., which is a different matter than what Trump talked about in response to the bombings on Monday."
Skittles responds to Trump's son: "Refugees are people"
"Candy maker Skittles was left sour Monday after being pulled into the mire of the 2016 presidential race by Donald Trump Jr.," per NBC News. "The Republican presidential nominee's son tweeted an image Monday that used the popular rainbow-colored candy to make a policy argument against admitting refugees into the United States. 'If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful,' the image read. Trump added his own commentary on the message, tweeting, 'This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first. #trump2016.' Skittles parent company Wrigley Americas distanced itself from the tweet with a terse response opposing Trump Jr.'s premise. 'Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it's an appropriate analogy,' Vice President of Corporate Affairs Denise Young said in the statement. 'We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.'"
Report: Bush 41 to vote for Clinton (according to a Kennedy)
Politico writes that former President George H.W. Bush told Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Maryland's former lieutenant governor and daughter to the late Robert Kennedy, that he will be voting for Hillary Clinton. "On Monday, Townsend posted a picture on her Facebook page shaking hands next to the former president and this caption: 'The President told me he's voting for Hillary!!; In a telephone interview, Townsend said she met with the former president in Maine earlier today, where she said he made his preference known that he was voting for a Democrat." But Bush 41's office isn't confirming yet. "Those reporting how @GeorgeHWBush will vote this year, it's not clear anyone was there to verify KKT. Still checking, keep your powder dry," tweeted spokesman Jim McGrath.
On the trail
Donald Trump campaigns in North Carolina, holding rallies in High Point at noon ET and Kenansville at 5:00 pm ET… And Mike Pence stumps in Virginia.
Countdown to first presidential debate: 6 days
Countdown to VP debate: 14 days
Countdown to second presidential debate: 19 days
Countdown to third presidential debate: 29 days
Countdown to Election Day: 49 days