'Clock Boy' Family Suing Fox News for Defamation

The father of Ahmed Mohamed, better known as "clock boy," is suing Fox News and a number of conservative outlets and media figures for defamation. Ahmed, who is Muslim, made news last year when he built a clock for one of his teachers and the teacher mistook it for a bomb. She reported him and he was promptly arrested. The incident made him a national figure and generated sympathy for Muslims living in the country. He was even invited to the White House.

Some media outlets, however, were critical of the Mohamed family and accused them of manufacturing the incident. Conservative author Ben Shapiro claimed in October the clock incident was all a "hoax." 

Now, Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Mohamed, is suing Shapiro, along with Fox News, The Blaze, Glenn Beck, Center for Security Policy, and media personalities Ben Ferguson and Beth Van Duyne.

"The Mohamed family are peaceful Muslims who have been falsely accused of being terrorists and engaging in a jihad," the suit states. "The correction must also be made that the arrest and suspension of Ahmed Mohamed was not a stunt and it was not pre-planned, staged or engineered by anyone, including [his father]."

Analysis: Trump Opens Strong, Then Takes the Bait and Blows Opportunities

Thoughts on last night:

(1) On policy substance -- ideology aside -- Hillary Clinton was more informed and prepared than Donald Trump by a wide margin, as expected. She also remained mostly cool and collected, even as the debate threatened to veer off the rails on several occasions. She was smug, rehearsed and pedantic at times, and exhibited some breathtaking hypocrisy (yes, let's hear some more about the importance of data securityMadame Email Scandal), but my instinct is that she won this exchange overall. She did so over the last hour-plus of the debate, pulling away after Trump held his own early. He may have been a little heavy on the interruption over that opening stretch for someone with a temperament problem, but he hit his central themes hard and pretty effectively. When Clinton went on offense over tax returns, the federal race discrimination lawsuit against Trump's company and birtherism, his responses were woefully insufficient (despite some flashes of decent parrying, like highlighting her deleted emails, and noting her 2008 campaign's scurrilous anti-Obama tactics). She won because she baited him, and he took the bait every time, missing far too many chances to land obvious thematic and specific counter-punches -- on emails, on the Clinton Foundation, on Benghazi.  Rarely did he put her on the defensive, which isn't especially hard to do.  His lack of focused preparation was, once again, quite clear.

(2) Poor debate performances, temper flare-ups, and manifest ignorance occasionally dented Trump during the primary, but he always prevailed in the end. My instinct is that this night hurt him and helped her.  But my instinct also told me more than a year ago that he was an unserious candidate with no chance, which was wrong (and quickly abandoned as a working theory last summer). We will not have any solid grasp on how the public felt about this debate until a full round of solid, scientific polling is conducting, which will take several days. In the meantime, here is what CBS News' focus group concluded:

After impressing in the early stages, some of his worst moments with this panel of undecided Pennsylvania voters involved Birtherismtax returns and temperament. Did he come across as a plausible president for 90 minutes? We'll see what the voters say. I have my doubts. Then again, I'm not convinced his performance was as disastrous as many talking heads are already saying. As Trump pointed out several times over the course of the night, Mrs. Clinton has prosecuted many of these lines of attack against him in a massive bombardment of paid advertising, spread over many weeks. Her standing has fallen. Did swing voters learn anything negative tonight that they didn't already know? If Trump takes a polling hit, and he might, it'll be because he failed the plausibility test among people who've been giving him a chance so far.

(3) The debate over the moderator began before the evening concluded. Lester Holt did a fine job for most of the evening, not intervening too often, and using a light touch to allow the candidates engage each other. Some Trump supporters and surrogates believe his tougher questions and challenges were directed at their man, and not Hillary Clinton. They're right. On Birtherism (a legitimate question on which Trump did himself no favors), on his withholding of tax returns, on his Iraq war record, on 'say it to her face,' and even on the 'will you respect the election's outcome?' question, the sharper push-back and skeptical premises all went in one direction. Off the top of my head, I can't recall a single question slanted against her statements or record. I won't be surprised if voters at the town hall-style debate prod her with harder questions than Holt did.  So while he wasn't horribly biased, it seems clear that Holt took note of the Left's over-the-top outcry against his NBC colleague Matt Lauer, and overcompensated.  Working the refs works.  For Democrats.

(4) I saw a fair amount of this type of analysis immediately after the debate, and I think it's wrong:

That would be true of a conventional candidate in a conventional year. But this is Donald Trump and we're living through 2016. Trump personally rolling into the spin room after a debate isn't an indication of much of anything, other than the fact that he floods the media zone whenever possible.  He did this in the primary, he's doing it again in the general.  And he's pummeling away at his message every chance he gets.  It's that simple, I think.

(5) An incomplete hodgepodge of memorable moments: For Trump, his refrain about Hillary embodying the same old, disappointing, under-performing system broke through early. He turned her "experience" argument against her twice. First, when she stated that she'd thought about a lot of issues, he shot back "yeah, for 30 years." And toward the end of the debate, after her strong 'stamina' line, he recovered with, "Hillary has experience, but it's bad experience." Meanwhile, Clinton's ad-makers will be busy. When she attacked Trump for rooting for the housing crash in order to make money, he didn't deny it. "It's called business," he boasted. When she speculated that he hasn't turned over his tax returns (which he later conceded he could do, against his lawyers' advice) because he's avoided paying any income taxes, he appeared to confirm her suspicion. That's "smart," he said. But again, I ask: Will more seemingly devastating ads matter at all?  And when he was making a case against President Obama's record at one point, he gestured at Hillary and referred to Obama as "your president." I'm fairly confident he meant your party/your administration, but Democrats pounced all over it as a racial code word.  It will almost certainly be used to motivate black voters. Finally, another solid, clean hit for her was "admitting" to have prepared for the debate, as well as for the job she's seeking. The implication about Trump in that well-delivered (likely also prepared, ironically) soundbyte was obvious. 

It was a very unusual debate, which was always going to be the case. To my real-time eyes and ears, in the moment, she won -- despite not making much (any?) headway on likability. But hey, given the insanity and throw-out-the-rulebook vibe of this entire cycle, what do I know? Let's see how (and if) the polls move. My gut says that they will, a bit, toward her.  But there's a reasonable chance that they won't, or that any impact will be short-lived.

UPDATE - Various quasi-scientific "flash" polls (distinct from unscientific online polls) show a Clinton win of varying degrees, with a CNN focus group of undecided voters in Florida also breaking hard for her.  Video of Luntz's CBS focus group is HERE.  Also, Team Trump's spin doesn't seem terribly enthusiastic.

Clinton Runs from Reporters After Debate, Trump Speaks with CNN and Fox News

Immediately following the intense presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Monday night,  Clinton quickly exited the arena, dodging questions from major main stream media news outlets.  

However, Trump spoke directly to Sean Hannity of Fox News and Dana Bash of CNN answering numerous questions in the post-debate madness.  

Trump told CNN that he hates the way the U.S. government spends tax dollars.

Trump said that he thought the debate went better than he expected.

He talked with Hannity and said, "Do you think (General Patton) would have a website saying how he's going to defeat the enemy?" referring to Clinton's website listing her plan to defeat ISIS.  

Clinton left the debate without answering any questions.

From The Spin Room: Hillary Clinton is a Phony

Hempstead, NY - After watching Donald Trump take on rival Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University for the first time Monday night, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani made an appearance in the spin room where he called Hillary Clinton a phony. 

Trump also stopped by and said he hates the way government spends money, among other things before moving through a sea of media.

Who Won the Night? Live Post-Debate Recap from Townhall Media

Was there a clear winner in tonight's presidential debate? Tune in to hear Hot Air's Ed Morrissey and Townhall's Matt Vespa, Cortney O'Brien, Christine Rousselle and Leigh Wolf break down the highlights of the first Trump and Clinton showdown. 

Share any questions you have on Facebook for a chance to hear them answered live on air. 

WATCH: Hillary Clinton Says She's Very Concerned About Cyber Hacking

During Monday night's debate at Hofstra University, Democrat Hillary Clinton expressed her concern about cyber hacking, particularly from the Russians.

"Clearly at this point we face two different kinds of adversaries. There are the independent hacking groups that do it mostly for commercial reasons to try and steal information which they can use to make money. But increasingly we are seeing cyber attacks coming from states, organs of states, the most recent and troubling of these has been Russia. There's no doubt now Russia has used cyber attacks against all kinds of organizations in our country," Clinton said." I am deeply concerned about this." 

How rich, indeed. I'm sure the Russians showed no interest in Clinton's unsecured, private server on which she hosted top secret, classified information during her time as Secretary of State. 

Howard Dean Suggests Donald Trump Uses Cocaine

Donald Trump had a case of the sniffles on Monday, and people certainly noticed. Various parody accounts were made:

And one former Democratic presidential candidate went as far as to suggest that Trump was a cocaine user:

Seriously? This is low, even for him.

People Are Putting Snapchat Filters on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

It's been a long election season, and people are quite understandably getting a little bored with the campaigns. Some innovative people have found a rather interesting way to liven up the first presidential debate: they're using a Snapchat filter to turn the candidates into a dog (or a bunny, a deer, or even into each other).

Here are some of the best examples:

Silly, yes, but certainly entertaining.

Trump: "Hillary Gives Her Plan to Fight ISIS On Her Website, I Don't Think Douglas MacArthur Would Like That"

During a back and forth argument over whose campaign website gave the most information, Republican nominee pointed out that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton went as far as to release her strategy to defeat ISIS.  

"Just go to her website, she tells you how to fight ISIS on her website.  I don't think General Douglas MacArthur would like that too much," Trump said.  

Donald Trump Comments On The Federal Reserve

About a third of the way through Monday's debate, Donald Trump had some harsh thoughts about the current state of the Federal Reserve. Trump accused the Fed of doing "political things" with interest rates, and warned that when President Obama leaves office interest rates will increase and "bad things" will happen with the economy.

"We're in a big, fat, ugly bubble. And we had better be awfully careful."

Audience Breaks Rules, Cheers When Trump Mentions Deleted Hillary Emails

Lester Holt was forced to admonish the audience at Monday night's presidential debate based on how they reacted to GOP nominee Donald Trump's referencing his opponent's ongoing email scandal.

Holt asked Trump why he hasn't released his tax returns, to which Trump asked why Hillary Clinton's staff deleted 30,000 of her emails during her time in the State Department. As soon as he said the word "emails," the audience cheered and applauded. Holt then reminded the crowd they are supposed to hold their applause until the end of the debate.

"I made a mistake" and I take responsibility for using a private server, Clinton responded. 

"That's for sure," Trump agreed.

"That was not a mistake," he added. "That was done purposely. I think it's disgraceful. And the country thinks it's disgraceful too."

Big League: Debates Will Be 'Major Influence' For One-Third Of Voters

For a third of registered voters, the three debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be important factors when it comes to their decision of who to vote for this November. The race is statistically a dead heat, though some polls in Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina show Clinton ahead (though it’s a safe bet that the polls will remain within the margin of error from here on out). These debates could be one of the last opportunities for Clinton and Trump to get a significant edge on one another. For young voters, these debates are especially significant, as some might be giving Clinton a second look (via WSJ):

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered “debate persuadables”—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate.

Slightly more Republicans than Democrats said the debates would be important to them, 37% to 31%. But voter groups that seem poised to pay the most attention include several that Mrs. Clinton is counting on to win. Some 49% of Hispanics, 42% of African-Americans and 39% of voters under age 35 say that the debates will be extremely or quite important to them.

As the candidates take the stage, the final vestiges of the electorate are deciding. As we’ve said here before, a lot is on the line tonight for both Trump and Clinton.

Watch Live: Presidential Debate

Follow Team Townhall for analysis and reaction below as we cover the debate.

Trump, Clinton Presidential Debate Preview with Townhall Media

Townhall.com's Matt Vespa, Leigh Wolf, and Cortney O'Brien join Ed Morrissey with Hot Air to discuss what viewers can expect from the first 2016 presidential debate. Check out their discussion LIVE below.

Really, Hofstra? Trigger Warnings Placed At Presidential Debate Site

Well, we shouldn’t be shocked, though it’s one of those many moments where you have to ask yourself: dude, really? Hofstra University on Long Island, the site of tonight’s presidential debate, had placed trigger warnings placed near the event, warning the social justice warriors on campus that their precious, little feelings could get hurt. Emily Zanotti at Heat Street has more:

The Commission on Presidential Debates has, for several decades now…

[…]

Today, that tradition came to a screeching halt, as event administrators at Hofstra University gave in to student concerns about controversial debate content. They felt compelled to post a “trigger warning” outside the student center, warning students that they may be overcome with emotion at possible debate topics.

Zanotti added that the Commission has chosen college campuses to give students the experience of being part of the presidential election history. Not even presidential debates are safe from the suffocating grip of political correctness.

Also, uh oh:

Rollercoaster: New Polls Show Hillary Ahead in FL, NC, OH

If you're a Trump supporter, today's early release of national and state polls had you riding high. But in the interests of balance, here's an updated set of numbers for you to flippantly dismiss as rigged, biased MSM-concocted rubbish. First, a word of caution: Reuters/Ipsos takes a large national sample, then breaks out state-by-state subsamples that occasionally produce weird outliers -- like giving Trump the lead in Vermont, or showing a virtually tied race in Oregon. They are not scientific statewide polls. With that chunk of salt in place, here are some Trump-positive results from the poll (which also shows him leading comfortably in Iowa, and edging ahead in Colorado -- neither of which is an outlier):

Celebrate good times, Trump Train. Until you see these findings, that is:

If she's up in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Virginia, this race is over.  Feel free to discard all of the results from this specific survey based on its unusual methodology, but there are a few more freshly-released polls that lend some credence to Reuters' data.  Namely, here is a Chamber of Commerce poll showing Hillary slightly ahead in Florida.  And the first statewide survey in awhile giving her the edge in Ohio.  And another one giving her a razor-thin advantage in North Carolina.  And this one, confirming a tight contest in typically-red Arizona:

Since we're getting excruciatingly close to tonight's main event, we might as well play "pick your poll."  There are plenty of stats for loyalists on each side to latch onto as they bite their nails down to the nub awaiting 9pm ET.  Because starting tomorrow, none of these polls will matter anymore.  Only post-debate surveys will have any significance -- and we don't have any reliable information on that front for days.  Pre-date polls: Post 'em while you got 'em.  I'll leave you with the counterweight to this morning's Bloomberg's splashy "Trump is ahead!" national poll.  Over to you, Monmouth:

And now, we wait.

Trump Invites Benghazi Hero to Debate

The 2016 nominees have been making news with the guests they've chosen for Monday night's presidential debate. Mark Cuban will be sitting in the front row cheering on Hillary Clinton and the rumor was Gennifer Flowers would not be far away, supporting Donald Trump. Trump did not formally invite Flowers, a former mistress of President Bill Clinton. He does, however, have a pretty impressive group of American heroes on his list. 

Mark "Oz" Geist, one of the four Benghazi secret soldiers who survived the September 11, 2012 ambush in Libya, will be an especially powerful presence. He was one of two Benghazi soldiers, the other being John "Tig" Tiegen, who spoke at the Republican National Convention over the summer. He also starred in an ad for the NRA explaining why Hillary Clinton is the wrong candidate for gun owners.

Geist is a reminder of how the former secretary of state failed to lead during the Libya raid and stalled on giving the greenlight for our soldiers to head toward the U.S. embassy as it came under siege. He is also a reminder of her most unfortunate soundbite

That should make Clinton much more nervous than Flowers.

Clinton's Pre-Debate Video: Trump's a Liar, You Know

A web ad like this was inevitable, given the media's totally coincidental, not-at-all-coordinated pile-on over Donald Trump's long rap sheet of dishonesty. Let's be clear: Trump does lie effortlessly and frequently about issues large and small. For instance, here's the latest confirmation of a big fib he told months ago. Recent stories in the New York Times and the Washington Post are packed with (very recent) examples that further fortify the underlying premise of this critique.  It should also be noted that both pieces were published in close proximity to each paper's editorial board declaring Trump unfit for the presidency. And with comedians pounding away to the "false equivalence" drumbeat, we have ourselves and Official Narrative. Hence this online spot from America's least-trusted woman:

Yes, Trump does a lot of lying.  So does she.  Here's my stab at explaining the difference:  He's a practiced BS artist, serving up an endless flurry distortions, embellishments and outright falsehoods -- often for self-aggrandizement, or to emphasize a point.  Accuracy and truthfulness are afterthoughts, at best.  But there's a reason why Hillary Clinton scores worse on honesty in many polls:  Her form of habitual lying is cold, calculated and self-interested.  And it's often designed to obfuscate and muddy the waters on weighty matters, such as her conduct in connection with her impropernational security-endangering email scandal.  She and her team are still  lying about that.  America Rising's new video compilation reminds us that her reputation isn't an accident:

On America's Newsroom this morning, I emphasized one of Hillary's biggest problems: Hillary Clinton and her campaign have devoted huge resources over the past seven weeks trying to 'toxify' Donald Trump as a totally unacceptable choice for president.  Over that stretch, national and battleground polls have trended away from her.  She's squandered a commanding-looking post-DNC lead, amplifying attack after attack, to which voters seem to have grown inured:

Parting thought: Should his first bullet point also be hers?

Thousands of Migrants Crossing Mexico with Intention to Reach United States

Mexican authorities have been overrun the past few days with an influx of migrants from Haiti and several African countries. Between September 21 and 23, almost 5,000 migrants checked into the Mexican immigration center of Tapachula – a city near the Guatemalan border.

An interesting detail of the people illegally crossing the Guatemalan border into Mexico – none of them have requested permission to stay in Mexico. Questions to the immigrants passing through revealed their almost universal intention to enter the United States at the California border.

Despite the recent surge of Haitians and others to Mexico, this procedure is hardly anything new. Mexico’s National Immigration Institute reported nearly 8,000 Haitian immigrants have entered Mexico via Guatemala since January until now.

The policy of the Mexican government is to not turn them away or deport them. They give each migrant a 20-day temporary visa so they can reach the American border. While traversing in Mexico, migrants use smugglers to get them across the American border. Upon entering the US, they have been coached to claim asylum. This grants them quick entry to the U.S. and an expedited process.

Since 2010, Haitians have been receiving special protections from deportations following the devastating earthquake to the island nation. Given the dramatic rise of immigrants from the country and abuse of the American asylum program, those special protections have been mostly removed.

The issue may only be getting worse. In testiomy to Congress, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana said Central American governments reported to her that 40,000 Haitians were "on their way" to the United States.

Clemson Bans Harambe Jokes Because Rape Culture and Racism, Or Something

While the rest of the nation mourns Harambe, the gorilla shot and killed in Cincinnati after a child entered his enclosure, Clemson University officials aren't having it. The school banned all Harambe memes because they apparently promote racism and rape culture.

Seriously.

From Campus Reform:

A Clemson administrator sent an email to Resident Advisors (RAs) Friday instructing them to demand that freshman remove all Harambe references from dorm hallways and windows.

The administrator claimed Harambe’s death has been used to “add to rape culture” and can be “form of racism.” An RA further added that any student who disobeys these instructions will be “in trouble.”

“We are no longer allowing any reference to Harambe (or any other spelling) to be displayed on doors, halls, billboards, or windows,” the instructions state. “Harambe should not be displayed in a public place or a place that is viewed by the public.”

Since Harambe's most tragic demise, he's become a bizarre internet phenomena that has swept the country. "RIP Harambe" signs are appearing at everywhere from golf tournaments to national political conventions. Everyone is making Harambe jokes--even author J.K. Rowling.

One popular phrase used in conjunction with Harambe is the rather profane "D---- out for Harambe"--which, while crude, hasn't actually resulted in groups of people running around sans trousers in honor of the dead primate. It's likely that some variant of this phrase sparked the Haram-ban over at Clemson. However, while it may not be exactly polite to scream about exposing oneself in public, this isn't actually a thing that's happening and to equate it as a Title IX violation is insane.

There are actual problems in the world. Gorilla memes aren't one of them.

Polls Look Good For Marijuana Legalization in Maine

In November, Mainers will head to the polls to vote on Question 1, which would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in the state for people over the age of 21. If these recent polls hold up, it's looking like Maine could be the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana.

The latest Portland Press Herald poll had 53 percent of respondents planning to vote "yes" on Question 1, and only 38 percent opposed. Interestingly, all age groups with the exception of 65+ supported Question 1--not just millennials and other younger voters. The 65+ age group was the only group that opposed the measure by more than 50 percent--everyone else was in favor by comfortable a comfortable margin.

Roughly 53 percent of respondents in the newspaper’s statewide survey indicated they support a November ballot question that would add Maine to the growing list of states where marijuana is legal for adults. By comparison, 38 percent of participants opposed marijuana legalization – Question 1 on the November ballot – and 10 percent were undecided.

Sixty percent of all respondents admitted to having tried marijuana in the past. Younger voters were less likely to believe that marijuana is harmful to one's health, which is in line with national polling on that topic.

Massachusetts, Arizona, Nevada, and California are also voting this November on whether or not to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes.

Clinton Campaign Demands Fact Checking at Debate, Gets Rejected

Candy Crowley's infamous interruption of Mitt Romney during the second presidential debate of 2012 became one of the defining moments of the campaign and badly damaged his image. Her inserting herself into the debate so directly made voters question whether moderators should have such an influential role in these presidential discussions. On the eve of the first presidential debate of 2016, the Clinton campaign has indicated they are fans of fact checking and want moderator Lester Holt to call out her opponent when he makes his outlandish claims.

"For the moderator to let lies like that that come out of his mouth at this debate to go unchallenged would give Donald Trump an unfair advantage,” Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri said during a conference call with reporters on Friday. "We do believe it is the role of the moderator . . . to call out those lies and to do that in real time."

Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook demanded the same thing on Monday. In an interview with "CBS This Morning," he said he hoped Trump's record would be checked during the showdown.

Despite these pleas, the major networks who will be airing the debate Monday night have noted they will not be fact checking the nominees, arguing it would cause too many headaches considering it would have to be done instantly. That means it will be up to Holt to decide whether to check Clinton's and Trump's statements.

Of course, Trump may have his hands full trying to correct Clinton's record as well. Voters don't exactly believe what she says about her email scandal, the Clinton Foundation, etc. 

That's why Rudy Giuliani has warned Clinton to not go anywhere near the issue of honesty.

WATCH: Glenn Beck's Messy Break-up with Ted Cruz over Trump Endorsement

And I do mean messy.  Up first is the lengthy clip of Beck interviewing Cruz this morning, grilling him over his recent endorsement of Donald Trump. Substantively, what changed since Cleveland? Answer: Nothing, really. The 'Mike Lee/SCOTUS' fig leaf is preposterous on its face. Cruz wasn't reassured by Trump's assurances about his previous list of potential nominees, which was widely applauded by conservatives? Why not? Perhaps it was because he thinks Trump's a "pathological liar." But now we're supposed to believe that The Donald adding Cruz's buddy's name to the roster made a big difference? C'mon. Note how the Texas Senator declines to answer whether he informed his pal from Utah before using him as a featured excuse for his conversion experience.  Here is Lee's spokesman, just a few days ago:

So there's your answer. Cruz also slammed "left-wing rag" Politico over a "hit piece" reporting that he began renting his email list to Trump long before his infamous non-endorsement at the convention (and subsequent belated endorsement). But the story appears to be accurate, and other former rivals have refused to make a buck off of giving Trump's campaign access to their donor lists.  Beck really presses Cruz on this point, blowing through a commercial break to make sure he got a full answer.  This is some uncomfortable radio:

Next, we have Beck's post-interview reaction, which is even more pointed. Beck asks, what's the point of supporting the "principled" guy when he's not actually principled? Rubio has been wrong on a few things, Beck continues, but at least he's electable and a pretty solid conservative. Beck concludes that he should have endorsed Rubio (yes, this  Marco Rubio) over Cruz, scolding himself for buying the Texan's act. "It's my fault for believing that men can actually be George Washington," he fumes. Tough, tough stuff coming from a top Cruz surrogate on the trail:

But Allahpundit -- a 2016 Cruz supporter himself -- throws a penalty flag on Beck, scoffing, this is the first time you've ever heard Cruz calculate?  Seriously?

Cruz’s entire career has been a calculation, and I say that as someone who voted for him this spring. He became a populist outsider running against Washington only after his attempt to join the establishment failed. He staged his ObamaCare filibuster in 2013 with no hope of stopping the law from being implementing but knowing that it would be great for his insurrectionist brand in the 2016 primaries. During the Gang of Eight debate, he offered an amendment that would have expanded guest workers while removing the path to citizenship knowing that that would let him argue the amendment both ways during his presidential run. During the GOP primaries, he’d claim it was a poison pill to sink the bill; during the general election, had he made it that far, he’d be pointing to the guest-workers part as proof that he’s not a radical restrictionist. Cruz dodged questions on legalizing illegals literally for years, in fact, until pressure from Trump finally forced him to rule it out late last year. His “bromance” with Trump was itself a giant calculation designed to build goodwill among Trump’s populist voters in hopes that Cruz would inherit them once Trump collapsed. Then he made his boldest calculation yet at the convention, betting that a non-endorsement would make him look good after Trump inevitably melted down on the trail this fall and ended up being crushed by Clinton. Now that that hasn’t panned out, he’s re-calculating...

Here's some background on Cruz's immigration calculation, and how he misrepresented it during his presidential campaign.  Ah well.  The 'Never Trump' crowd is dwindling considerably on the Right as Trump consolidates Republican voters ahead of the general election.  In other words, this is all mostly a sideshow at this stage.  But regardless of the outcome in November, the acrimonious recriminations and grudges within center-right media aren't likely to heal quickly, or maybe ever.  I'll leave you with something that virtually all righties can enjoy, independent of their views on Trump:

LISTEN: Mike Pence Previews Tonight's Debate With Hugh Hewitt

Indiana Governor and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence expressed confidence in Donald Trump's ability to hold opponent Hillary Clinton accountable at tonight's first presidential debate during an interview Monday morning with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt. 

During the interview, Pence discussed a range of topics that could come up as debate topics ranging from Clinton's personal email server, serious foreign policy challenges in an ever demanding world, to Supreme Court appointments. 

"Tonight, you’ll hear Donald Trump reflect on a view on the world stage that is a view about American strength. And the simple fact is that the last seven and a half years under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have weakened America’s place in the world, and weakened American credibility," Pence said. "We’re going to rebuild the arsenal of democracy, and projecting American strength and standing up for America’s interests will again be the order of the day."

Pence also made an appearance on Fox News Sunday yesterday to discuss the state of the race.

Pence will debate Senator Tim Kaine, Clinton's running mate, on Tuesday October 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

100 Million Projected To Watch Crooked Hillary Debate Deplorable Donald

Tonight’s debate is going to be huge. Huge. I mean, possibly record-breaking concerning the number of people tuning in to watch Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump engage in their much-anticipated verbal fisticuffs on the debate stage. What are the numbers? Well, we’re entering Super Bowl territory, with 100 million projected to watch the bloodsports. The most watched debate was Ronald Reagan’s bout with President Jimmy Carter in 1980 that captured 81 million viewers. CNN’s Brian Stelter had more:

Television executives and campaign aides privately think that the total viewer number released by Nielsen will land somewhere between 80 and 100 million viewers.

Back then, debates were only carried by the three major broadcasters — ABC, NBC, and CBS.

This year the debates will be on more than a dozen TV channels. The face-offs will also be live streamed all across the web in ways that weren't technically feasible just four years ago. Facebook and Twitter will carry the debates live right within their social networks.

Traditional television remains dominant, however. During this election season's primary debates, more than 95% of the overall viewership happened via TV, with the remainder via streaming.

Nielsen's figures count viewers who watch at home with TV sets. Offices, bars, hotels and other out-of-home locations are not fully measured.

That's why the Super Bowl is always under-counted. This year Nielsen said 112 million Americans watched the big game, but the total audience was undoubtedly larger.

Stelter attributed the campaign season’s rather nasty tone to the reason why viewership could spike to 100 million, though he remains skeptical that it will actually get that high. Nevertheless, he did say that this debate reaching 100 million people was not out of the question. Regardless, some serious numbers will probably be posted after tonight.