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By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann

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.

What happens to the Clinton Foundation if Hillary wins?

With the Clinton Foundation once again the recipient of negative headlines, former Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) -- another Republican who says he’s backing Hillary Clinton -- recommended that the Clinton family should shut down the foundation if she becomes president. “I would sure as heck suggest that they don’t have it,” Shays said on “MTP Daily” yesterday. Maybe the Clinton Foundation doesn’t have to close its doors if Hillary wins in November, but it will be unsustainable -- for the Clintons and for the foundation -- if it’s viewed as a conflict of interest. As former GOP Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) noted in 2009 during Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing to become secretary of state, “The core of the problem is that foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state. Although neither Senator Clinton nor President Clinton has a personal financial stake in the foundation, obviously its work benefits their legacy and their public service priorities.” And as we found out, any safeguards that the Clintons and Foundation established to eliminate perceptions problems while Hillary was secretary of state didn’t exactly do the trick.

Bill Clinton: “We’ll do the right thing”

Back in June, Bill Clinton acknowledged that changes will have to come to the foundation if Hillary wins. “You have to be careful to avoid actual and potential conflicts of interest," he said at a Clinton Global Initiative event in Atlanta, per the Wall Street Journal. “We'll think very clearly about it and we'll do the right thing and explain it to the American people." What those changes will be will be big news for all of us to scrutinize.

Hillary gives her economic rebuttal to Trump

After Donald Trump’s remarks to the Detroit Economic Club earlier this week, Hillary Clinton will respond with her own economic address in Michigan today at 1:15 pm ET. “Clinton will lay down the choice on economy -- which candidate will stand up for working families and the middle class and actually delivery results, and which one has a plan that only benefits millionaires like himself,” a Clinton campaign official says of the speech that will take place in Warren, MI. “Now that both plans are on the table, she will make the case that with her plan, the middle class wins, while Trump’s plan is a win for himself and his millionaire and billionaire allies, friends and family.”

If you’re going to criticize Clinton over the Orlando shooter’s father attending her rally, you better not have Mark Foley attending yours just days later

Here’s one of the iron-clad rules of American politics: If you’re going to hit your opponent over something, you better make sure you don’t do the exact-same thing just days later. And that’s what happened to Donald Trump last night in Florida. NBC’s Ali Vitali: “Donald Trump on Wednesday night admonished Hillary Clinton for having the father of the Orlando shooter seated behind her at a recent campaign rally. ‘Wasn't it terrible?’ Trump asked, that Seddique Mateen was ‘sitting with a big smile on his face right behind Hillary Clinton ... When you get those seats, you sort of know the campaign.’ But as he said those words, disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley smiled up at him from behind the stage. Foley, a Republican who represented southern Florida, was forced to resign his seat in September 2006 in the wake of allegations that he sent suggestive emails and instant messages to congressional pages. The former congressman shared Trump's camera shot, with a smile, for the entirety of the hour-long rally.” More from Vitali: “The candidate himself turned around multiple times, once during the Mateen riff against Clinton, asking the attendees seated behind him, ‘How many of you people know me? A lot of people know me.’ Foley, among others, raised his hand and waved in response.” As NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald writes, “Hillary Clinton's campaign should be reeling from two unflattering news stories this week that play right in Donald Trump's hands. But instead, the GOP candidate missed an opportunity by diverting attention away from the Democrat with another unforced error about himself.”

Trump on Obama: “He is the founder of ISIS”

Another day, another controversial comment by Donald Trump. But we shouldn’t treat it as ho-hum news when a party’s presidential nominee accuses the sitting president of the United States of being “the founder of ISIS.” Here’s what Trump said last night in Florida: “In fact, in many respects, you know they honor President Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. He's the founder of ISIS. He's the founder. He founded ISIS. And I would say the co-founder would be Crooked Hillary Clinton, co-founder, Crooked Hillary Clinton.” Anyone is entitled to criticize President Obama’s handling of Iraq and Syria -- we sure have. But to say that he founded ISIS is another step too far in political rhetoric.

Urban America vs. Rural America in the 2016 race

We’ve all focused so much on the gender and education gaps in this presidential contest. But don’t overlook the geographical gap -- Urban vs. Rural America -- which might be the most important story of the Clinton-Trump race. Our colleague Dante Chinni has crunched the numbers from our August national NBC/WSJ poll, and finds that Clinton is outperforming Obama’s 2012 support in urban counties, while Trump is outperforming Mitt Romney’s 2012 support in rural counties. The problem for Trump? There are a LOT more voters in the big cities and urban suburbs (44% of the voting population) than there are in rural counties. Here are the numbers, per Chinni’s county-by-county breakdown:

  • Big Cities (22%): Clinton 63%, Trump 25% (D+38)…. Obama 65%, Romney 34% (D+31)
  • Urban Suburbs (22%): Clinton 53%, Trump 33% (D+20)…. Obama 57%, Romney 41% (D+16)
  • The Sprawl (18%): Trump 51%, Clinton 35% (R+16)… Romney 55%, Obama 43% (R+12)
  • Rural America (13%): Trump 55%, Clinton 27% (R+28)… Romney 56%, Obama 42% (R+14)
  • Minority Centers (8%): Clinton 47%, Trump 42% (D+5)… Obama 51%, Romney 48% (D+3)
  • Faith Driven America (7%): Trump 52%, Clinton 36% (R+16)… Romney 68%, Obama 31% (R+37)
  • Books and Barracks (10%): Clinton 47%, Trump 33 (D+14)… Romney 50%, Obama 48% (R+2)

Another way to look at this urban-vs.-rural divide is in the crosstabs of our most recent NBC/WSJ/Marist polls of Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Want to know why Clinton is leading Trump by 11 points in the Keystone State? She’s drubbing him in the Philadelphia suburbs.


  • Eastern Cities: Clinton 45%, Trump 31%
  • East Central: Clinton 47%, Trump 33%
  • Des Moines Area: Clinton 44%, Trump 30%
  • Central: Trump 46%, Clinton 34%
  • West: Trump 51%, Clinton 31%


  • Cleveland area: Clinton 58%, Trump 23%
  • North: Clinton 41%, Trump 40%
  • Ohio Valley & West: Trump 45%, Clinton 32%
  • Columbus area: Clinton 49%, Trump 35%
  • Cincinnati/Dayton: Trump 44%, Clinton 40%


  • Philadelphia: Clinton 71%, Trump 19%
  • Philly burbs: Clinton 52%, Trump 26%
  • Northeast: Clinton 42%, Trump 41%
  • Central: Trump 53%, Clinton 31%
  • West: Clinton 53%, Trump 36%

An Editor’s Note

Our morning column is taking a break from publishing on Fridays this month. We’ll be back bright and early Monday morning.

And don't miss an inside look at the the life of our very own Trump campaign correspondent, Katy Tur

Katy has been covering the Trump campaign for NBC News since the very beginning. She wrote about her experiences for Marie Claire here -- a must read for campaign junkies.

On the trail

Hillary Clinton delivers a speech on working families in Warren, MI at 1:15 pm ET… Donald Trump, in Florida, speaks to National Association of Homebuilders Convention in Miami at 10:30 am ET, gives a talk to pastors in Orlando at 2:00 pm ET, and then holds a rally in Kissimmee at 7:00 pm ET…Mike Pence is in Wisconsin… And Tim Kaine speaks to the Progressive Baptist Convention in New Orleans.

Countdown to Election Day: 89 days