ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Trump praises Putin, disses U.S. military commanders
Here's our big takeout on last night's forum, from Benjy Sarlin and Alex Seitz-Wald: "Wednesday's Commander-in-Chief Forum will be remembered as the time Donald Trump offered more praise for Russian strongman Vladimir Putin than America's own military leadership, which he described as "embarrassing." Hillary Clinton, while obviously more prepared and credible, found herself on defense from the outset over her handling of classified information and the military intervention in Libya she supported in the Obama administration. But the more explosive portion of the NBC News and MSNBC forum, however, was Trump, who in a short half-hour refused to reveal a secret plan to defeat ISIS, said the American military was "reduced to rubble," called Putin a "far more" capable leader than President Obama, defended and then walked back a tweet criticizing allowing women in the military, and revealed a new position on undocumented immigrants in the armed services. "
We fact-checked the debate. Here's where both candidates stumbled with the truth.
How did the forum play in swing state Ohio? Watch the focus group we conducted there to see how real voters reacted.
Miss the forum? You can catch up by reading all of our content from last night here.
What they're saying:
The New York Times: "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 it — as the two candidates made back-to-back appearances Wednesday night at a forum that foreshadowed their highly anticipated debate later this month."
The Washington Post: "Donald Trump defended his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin at a forum here Wednesday focused on national security issues, even suggesting that Putin is more worthy of his praise than President Obama."
The Wall Street Journal: "Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sketched dueling visions Wednesday night of the U.S. role on the global stage, with the two leading presidential candidates both arguing that their experience better prepared them to make the life-or-death decisions required of the commander in chief."
POLITICO: "Less than three weeks before the first general election debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shared a stage for the first time on Wednesday night — and neither appeared ready for the brightest lights of 2016 as they flashed the very liabilities that make their backers uneasy. Clinton wobbled on style. Trump stumbled on substance."
The AP: "Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton confronted their key weaknesses in a televised national security forum, with the Republican defending his preparedness to be commander in chief despite vague plans for tackling global challenges and the Democrat arguing that her controversial email practices did not expose questionable judgment."
OFF TO THE RACES: Obama slams Trump
Obama weighed in on the 2016 race again yesterday. From the AP: "President Obama struck back at Donald Trump on Thursday, repeating that the Republican presidential nominee is not qualified for office and warning that his "unacceptable and outrageous" behavior is becoming normalized in the 2016 election cycle. 'I don't think the guy's qualified to be president of the United States and every time he speaks that opinion is confirmed,' Obama said at a news conference in Laos after a three-day visit to this Southeast Asian nation. 'There is this process that seems to take place over the course of the election season where somehow behavior that in normal times we consider completely unacceptable and outrageous becomes normalized and people think we ought to be grading on a curve.'"
POLITICO notes: "Interviews with more than two dozen Republican operatives, state party officials and elected leaders suggest three of the 11 battleground states identified by POLITICO — Colorado, New Hampshire and Virginia — are tilting so heavily toward Hillary Clinton that they're close to unwinnable for the GOP presidential nominee. But Trump remains within striking distance in the remaining eight states, including electoral giants Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania."
The Washington Post asks: Why do white men love Trump so much?
Mitt Romney wants Gary Johnson on the debate stage.
The AP looks at how Clinton is suddenly working to court the media.
House Democrats on the Oversight Committee released Colin Powell's email to Clinton outlining his advice on the use of a personal account as secretary of state.
Reince Priebus is taking heat for suggesting that Clinton didn't "smile" during the forum last night.
Donald Trump is shaking up his campaign team in Florida.