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Clinton, Trump Camps Fire Up Supporters Before Debate

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.
Image: Trump holds a rally with supporters in Kenansville, North Carolina, U.S.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in Kenansville, North Carolina on Sept. 20, 2016.JONATHAN ERNST / Reuters

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.

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Clinton, Trump camps try to fire up supporters ahead of debate

If you want to see what each campaign’s priorities are heading into Monday’s first presidential debate, look no further than what they released this morning. For the Clinton camp, it’s a new TV ad seizing on Donald Trump’s temperament -- by underscoring his controversial comments about women. For Team Trump, it’s an expanded Supreme Court list, naming the possible picks he might make if he becomes president (it includes GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah). So the Clinton camp wants to make Trump’s temperament a rallying cry before Monday’s debate, and the Trump campaign wants to unite Republicans around the Supreme Court.

  • Here’s that new Clinton ad, which plays Trump’s controversial comments about women as young girls look into the mirror: “I’d look her right in that ugly face of hers… She’s a slob… She ate like a pig… A person who is flat-chested is very hard to be a ‘10’… Does she have a good body? No.” The ad airs in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and on national cable.
  • And here are the new names on Trump’s expanded Supreme Court list: Mike Lee (U.S. senator from Utah), Neil Gorsuch (10th Circuit Court of Appeals), Margaret A. Ryan (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces), Edward Mansfield (Iowa Supreme Court), Keith Blackwell (Supreme Court of Georgia), Charles Canady (Supreme Court of Florida), Timothy Tymkovich (10th Circuit Court of Appeals), Amul Thapar (U.S. district judge), Federico Moreno (U.S. district judge), Robert Young (chief justice of the Supreme Court of Michigan).

A Tale of Two Different Debate Preps

“Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are preparing for their highly anticipated Monday night debate showdown in ways that appear to be as different as their candidacies,” NBC’s Monica Alba and Ali Vitali write. “One looks to be hunkering down with homework, research and rehearsals, while the other seems to be taking an on-the-fly casual approach to what could be the most important 90 minutes of the presidential election.” For Clinton: “The candidate herself has often said that she doesn't know ‘which Donald Trump will show up’ to the first debate. Clinton's communications director, Jennifer Palmieri told reporters this week that the campaign is ‘preparing for the different Trumps that might show up.’” For Trump: “[W]hile details about his preparation have been rare, the candidate himself has been more than vocal about his views on the moderators (he doesn't think there should be any and is skeptical they'll be fair to him) — and how he'll treat the rival he's sharing the stage with.”

New McClatchy-Marist poll matches our NBC/WSJ

A new national McClatchy-Marist poll has identical margins to what our NBC/WSJ poll showed earlier this week. Clinton “leads in a two-way matchup with Trump by 48-41. She leads in a 4-way contest 45-39, with Libertarian Gary Johnson drawing 10 percent support and Green candidate Jill Stein getting 4 percent.” A new AP poll also has Clinton with a six-point national lead among likely voters. The question: What are the lagging indicators right now -- the state polls (where Trump is looking better) o the national polls (which are showing Clinton up between six and seven points)?

GOP congressman on Charlotte protesters: "They hate white people, because white people are successful -- and they're not”

Those are the words that Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) said about the protesters in his state in an in interview with the BBC. Pittenger added, “Yes, it is a welfare state.” He later apologized, tweeting: “My answer to BBC doesn't reflect who I am. I was quoting statements made by angry protesters last night on national TV. Not my intent... My intent was to discuss the lack of economic mobility for African Americans because of failed policies... I apologize to those I offended and hope we can bring peace and calm to Charlotte.” Speaking of Charlotte, be on the lookout for Sunday’s NFL games. We wouldn’t be surprised if half of the league’s players are kneeling.

On the trail

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are off the campaign trail… Tim Kaine is in Houston… And Chelsea Clinton campaigns in Flint, MI.

Countdown to first presidential debate: 3 days

Countdown to VP debate: 11 days

Countdown to second presidential debate: 16 days

Countdown to third presidential debate: 26 days

Countdown to Election Day: 46 days