This stuff disgusts me. I’ll quote Charles Pierce’s citing of Garry Wills from an essay I marked at the time:
The president is not the commander in chief of civilians. He is not even commander in chief of National Guard troops unless and until they are federalized. The Constitution is clear on this: “The president shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.”
CONCLUSION: As usual Clinton is crisp. meticulous, fluent with data. This will convince no one, not least the at best impassive and at worst glowering faces of former military in the audience. Puffing his chest, pursing his lips, Trump moves like a bad imitation of George C. Scott’s general in Dr. Strangelove. Someone watching this special in 2013 would think it was an “edgy” TV movie about a reality show candidate and his starchy opponent.
8:52. His expression and response to the question about the number of suicides by veterans (twenty a day!) was his best moment.
8:48. “We do what we have to do.” “We’re running a campaign and we’re doing well.” When the platitudes fail, the boasting saves him.
8:46. AWKWARD MOMENT: “We’re losing our jobs like we’re losing babies.”
8:45. How telling the first words out of Trump’s mouth about Vladimir Putin mention the Russian’s poll numbers. “When he calls me ‘brilliant,’ I’ll take the compliment.”
8:38. We should have taken the oil. That’s how we would’ve mitigated the impact of the Iraq War. “Take the oil,” he repeats. Because Matt Lauer is a polite man when not dealing with female co-hosts on “Today,” he doesn’t ask, “With what — beach buckets? portable gas tanks?”
8:35: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have turned generals “into rubble.” Oh.
8:32. “I have great judgment. I have good judgment. I know what’s going on.” First outburst of humility.
8:24. “We are not putting ground troops in Iraq ever again. We are not committing ground troops in Syria.” Wow. I hope she gets used to the taste of those words as she chokes on them in 2018.
9:21. AWKWARD MOMENT: Lauer: “Let’s talk about veterans and suicides.” Clinton: Yes, let’s!
9:20. “I will not let the [Veterans Administration] be privatized.”
8:11. Addressing the nonsense question regarding why we should trust her with leading the military when she regrets the Iraq War — why should we trust anyone who hasn’t regretted that vote? — she recites one of those lists of accomplishments that few politicians can animate but, surprisingly, she does: gold star families, working with Lindsay Graham and John McCain.
8:04. When Matt Lauer asks about emails and judgment, Hillary Clinton mm-hms in the politest way possible. She could have bitten his neck; she didn’t . See? Judgment!