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Trump and Biden to face off in first debate, Covid-19 global death toll hits 1 million and Lightning win Stanley Cup

Trump's taxes, the coronavirus pandemic and the Supreme Court will all be hot topics at tonight's debate.
Image: President Donald Trump  during a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House
President Donald Trump will square off against former Vice President in the first presidential debate at 9 p.m. tonight. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will face off in their first debate tonight with Election Day just five weeks away. The coronavirus pandemic has reached another "agonizing milestone." And hockey fans have a September Stanley Cup winner to celebrate.

Here's what we're watching this Tuesday morning.


The first presidential debate: Here's why it could move voters

The first presidential debate between Trump and Biden is unlikely to change the minds of the vast majority of American voters who have already decided whom they support and say they can't be swayed.

But the debate could still rattle the race and rev up the electorate, writes NBC News' Sahil Kapur.

The debate will feature two septuagenarians who are prone to verbal stumbles and seeing them side by side could affect voter perceptions.

"A debate could affect the outcome if either candidate showed serious signs of mental instability or cognitive decline. The key word is 'serious.' The occasional stumble, stammer or factual error won't do it," said Jack Pitney, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.

Nuts and bolts: The debate will start tonight at 9 p.m. ET. It will take place in Cleveland, Ohio, and will be moderated by Fox News journalist Chris Wallace.

It will feature six 15-minute segments dedicated to the following topics: The Trump and Biden records, the Supreme Court, Covid-19, the economy, race and violence in American cities and the integrity of the election.

How to watch: The debate will be simulcast live across all the major networks and cable news channels. See our special coverage on NBC, MSNBC, and streaming on NBC News Now. NBCNews.com will feature news, analysis and fact checks throughout the debate.

Tune in and be part of the conversation! More than 84 million people tuned in to watch the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Trump in 2016, making it the most viewed political event in history.

Even before this first debate, early voting has already started in some states. Check out NBC News guide to help you plan your vote.


An 'agonizing milestone': 1 million lives have been lost to Covid-19

More than 1 million people have died from Covid-19 since the coronavirus was first identified late last year in China, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

With more than 200,000 deaths, the U.S. continues to lead the global death toll, followed by Brazil at 142,000 and India at 95,500, the tally on Monday showed.

"Our world has reached an agonizing milestone," United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a video and written statement sent out shortly after the reported death toll hit 1 million. "It's a mind-numbing figure. Yet we must never lose sight of each and every individual life."

And the global pandemic shows no signs of easing — quite the opposite. Countries around the world are experiencing new waves of infection, and scientists are ramping up efforts to deliver an effective vaccine.

In the U.S., several Midwestern states, including Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri, have had spikes in the number of confirmed cases in recent weeks.

"The American people should anticipate that cases will rise in the days ahead," Vice President Mike Pence said during an event at the White House Monday, adding, "We are ready."

At the event, Trump reiterated an announcement from last month of a federal plan to distribute millions of rapid coronavirus diagnostic tests to states.

While people around the world struggle with the loss, one Romanian village found a way to honor their mayor who died from Covid-19 two weeks ago. They re-elected him posthumously.

Here are remembrances of some of the other lives lost.


Speaker Pelosi says Trump taxes reveal a 'national security' issue

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday called the New York Times report that Trump has more than $400 million in loans and debts coming due in the next few years a "national security issue" and argued it raises questions about whether foreign nations or individuals could have "leverage" over the president.

"This president appears to have over $400 million in debt. To whom? Different countries? What is the leverage they have? So for me, this is a national security question," Pelosi said during an interview with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell.

"We take an oath to protect and defend. This president is commander in chief. He has exposure to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, to whom? The public has a right to know," she added.

The New York Times obtained two decades of Trump's tax information, reporting that the president paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he won the presidency, and again during his first year in office.

News Analysis: Trump tax records show duplicity. That's devastating for his campaign, writes NBC News' Jonathan Allen.

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Sometimes a smile and a wave is all it takes...

Rain or shine, 94-year-old veteran Oley Doty gets up and out every morning and afternoon for a walk around the neighborhood near his care facility in Woodstock, Georgia. Sometimes the World War II veteran goes as far as 5 miles in a single day.

Oley started his daily treks after he lost his wife of 72 years in April. He figured walking was good for the heart. Turns out, it's not only been good for him alone, NBC News Catie Beck reports.

"He would give a big old wave and a big smile. I mean, he just made you forget ... whatever happened in the morning. He was just full of joy," said Stacey Childress, one of several school bus drivers on the receiving end of Oley's daily greetings.

So she tracked him down and arranged an in-person visit with some of the local school children.

For Childress, it was an important lesson: "You can have a friendship from anything. You know, you've just gotta make it happen."


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — send me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra