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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.

Barack’s Back — and why Clinton needs him more than ever

For the first time since the Democratic convention seven weeks ago, President Barack Obama is back stumping for Hillary Clinton. And she needs him more than ever — and we’re not just talking about Clinton’s absence from the campaign trail as she recovers from pneumonia.

According to our most recent batch of NBC/WSJ/Marist state polls, Clinton is underperforming among key parts of the Obama coalition: Latinos and young voters. In our NBC/WSJ/Marist Nevada poll, for instance, Clinton leads Trump by a 65%-30% margin (+35) among Latinos, who made up 17% of the likely voters in the survey. But in 2012, Latinos made up 19% of Nevada’s electorate, and Obama won them, 71%-24% (+47). In addition, the NBC/WSJ/Marist Nevada poll finds Clinton ahead of Trump 58%-30% (+28) among those 18 to 29 years old, and they make up 13% of likely voters in the survey. But in 2012, those 18 to 29 made up 18% of Nevada’s electorate, and Obama won them, 68%-30% margin (+38).

So Clinton here is lagging Obama’s 2012 performance in both margin and the size of these voting blocs. And what does our NBC/WSJ/Marist poll of Nevada show overall? Clinton is ahead of Trump by just one point among likely voters, 45%-44% -- when Obama won the state by six points, 52%-46%.

Looking at Obama’s numbers among key groups of the Democratic base

So there’s little doubt that Obama can help Clinton, especially with the president’s 58% job-approval rating in the Washington Post/ABC poll and 52% rating in August’s national NBC/WSJ poll. Indeed, just look at his approval rating among these key voting blocs in our last NBC/WSJ poll:

  • Among African Americans: 96%
  • Among Democrats: 90%
  • Among all non-whites: 77%
  • Among those 18-34: 58%

Where does Obama campaign today? He stumps for Clinton in Philadelphia -- a city full of young voters and minorities -- at 1:45 pm ET.

Ivanka Trump is back on the trail, too

Ivanka Trump is back on the campaign trail with her father in Pennsylvania tonight, and the two will be highlighting a child-care tax deduction that Donald Trump unveiled several weeks ago, NBC’s Hallie Jackson and Katy Tur report. Here’s how CNBC wrote up the child-care proposal from back in August: “Trump unveiled some new details…, including a pledge to exclude all child-care expenses from taxation.

That would create a substantial tax break for working parents, but further widen the deficit. On average, households with a woman working outside her home and taking care of a child under 15 paid an average $127 a week on child care, according to a Census Bureau analysis of 2010 data. That works out to about $6,600 a year. With some 24 million households in that category, the child-care tax break would cost the government $158 billion a year.” One other shortcoming: Low-income families who don’t pay federal income taxes wouldn’t get a break here.

It’s bed-wetting time for some Democrats

When the going gets tough, some Democrats, well, start wetting the bed. At least that’s how Obama World used to put things during trying times in 2008 and 2012. And we’re seeing some similar bed-wetting after the frenzy over Clinton’s health and the overall state of the race. Here’s the AP: “Democrats said Clinton's health incident alone is unlikely to fundamentally alter the presidential race, but some also said it adds to a growing sense of uncertainty less than two months from Election Day.

For many supporters, Clinton's battle with Republican Donald Trump is worryingly close, raising concerns not only about holding the White House but also retaking control of the Senate. ‘If you look at the way the last couple months have gone, it feels like the race should be further apart,’ said Greg Haas, an Ohio-based Democratic strategist and former county party chairman. Aaron Regunberg, a Democratic state representative from Rhode Island, said he was ‘surprised and concerned’ that the race is so tight. ‘I still think that we are likely to win, but I think anyone who's not concerned about a bigoted, KKK-endorsed sociopath being this close right now in the polls is not living in reality,’ Regunberg said of Trump.”

Why it’s not easy for Trump to capitalize on “Deplorables”

As we’ve written, both campaigns are eager to have a fight over Clinton’s “Deplorables” comment over the weekend. But two events yesterday undermined Trump and his campaign as they tried to seize on the comment on the trail and in a new TV ad. First, a fight broke out at Trump’s Asheville, NC rally. “Just as Donald Trump on Monday was decrying Hillary Clinton for having called called ‘half’ of his supporters ‘a basket of deplorables,’ an altercation broke out in the stands above him,” NBC’s Ali Vitali reports. “Protesters are nothing new at Trump rallies, but before a group could be escorted out of U.S. Cellular Center here Monday evening, a man from the crowd went over to violently confront them. NBC News video of the incident shows the man with his hands on a protester's neck. Moments later, his hands furled into fists, the man lobbed a blow at the protester.” Second, VP running mate Mike Pence refused to call former KKK leader David Duke a “deplorable,” though he did say Trump denounces Duke. Here’s the transcript of Pence’s CNN interview yesterday, per NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard and Emily Gold:

Pence: Well, as I’ve told you the last time I was on, I'm not really sure why the media keeps dropping David Duke's name. Donald Trump has denounced David Duke repeatedly. We don't want his support and we don't want the support of people who think like him.

Wolf Blitzer: So you call him a deplorable?

Pence: No. I'm not in the name calling business Wolf, you know me better than that. What Hillary Clinton did Friday night was shocking. I mean, the millions of people who support Donald Trump around this country are not a basket of anything.

Breaking down the details of Trump’s new TV ad buy

Meanwhile, we have the ad-spending details on Trump’s new ad buy seizing on Clinton’s “Deporables” comment. It’s $2.3 million in four states -- Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania -- from Monday through Friday.

Florida: $953,000

  • Jacksonville: $61K
  • Mobile-Pensacola: $18K
  • Orlando: $295K
  • Panama City: $18K
  • Tampa: $135K
  • West Palm Beach: $104K
  • Cable: $321K

North Carolina: $424,000

  • Charlotte: $148K
  • Greensboro: $51K
  • Greenville-Spartanburg: $31K
  • Raleigh: $38K
  • Wilmington: $17K
  • Cable: $140K

Ohio: $525,000

  • Cincinnati: $78K
  • Columbus: $59K
  • Cleveland: $141K
  • Dayton: $64K
  • Lima: $9K
  • Toledo: $23K
  • Cable: $150K

Pennsylvania: $423,000

  • Harrisburg: $62K
  • Philadelphia: $92K
  • Pittsburgh: $123K
  • Cable: $145K

Clinton camp responds to Trump with its own ad

This morning, the Clinton campaign is out with its own TV ad responding to Trump’s advertisement on “Deplorables.” The Clinton ad features soundbites of Trump criticizing voters and groups of Americans.

Why the NCAA news out of North Carolina could matter in November

The college-sports news out of North Carolina is definitely a political story, especially given the Tar Heel State’s important presidential, Senate, and gubernatorial races there. “The NCAA announced Monday evening that it would relocate seven championship sporting events out of North Carolina during this school year, citing the state's HB2 law limiting civil rights protections for LGBT individuals,” NPR writes. “The events moving out of state include first and second rounds of the Division I Men's Basketball Championship — part of the Road to the Final Four — originally slated to be in Greensboro.”

On the trail

Donald Trump holds rallies today in Clive, IA at 1:00 pm ET and Aston, PA at 7:30 pm ET… Mike Pence is in Washington, DC, where he speaks to Capitol Hill Republicans… President Obama campaigns in Philadelphia… And Chelsea is in North Carolina.

Countdown to first presidential debate: 13 days

Countdown to VP debate: 21 days

Countdown to second presidential debate: 26 days

Countdown to third presidential debate: 36 days

Countdown to Election Day: 56 days