Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post
* Vladimir Putin: The Russian leader had to be thrilled about the amount of airtime he and his country received in the debate. And Trump, while insisting that he and the Russian president are not, in fact, friends, repeatedly said that he knew for a fact that Putin had no respect for Clinton. Any airtime for Putin in a debate with tens of millions of Americans watching probably make him very, very happy.
* David Fahrenthold: The WaPo reporter who has broken every piece of news about the Trump Foundation didn’t get mentioned by name during the debate but he was all over it. Clinton mentioned Fahrenthold’s reporting about the six-foot portrait Trump bought of himself— with charity money. Wallace noted that Trump had used foundation money to pay off fines —another Fahrenthold scoop. This was the biggest night for Fahrenthold since he won the Ciquizza!!! (Side note: Make sure to read my conversation with Dave about how he happened onto the Trump Foundation story and how he continues to break big news on it.)
*Puppets: There hasn’t been this much conversation about puppets in a presidential debate since, well, ever. Also, making “puppets” a winner allows me to post this GIF of Gob and Franklin Bluth:
* Donald Trump: Top to bottom, this was Trump’s most consistent and best debate. But, it wasn’t a good debate for him. Not at all. His signature moment — and the defining moment of the entire debate — came when he refused to say he would concede if the election results showed he had lost. Trump’s I’ll-just-wait-and-see answer was a total disaster and will be the only thing people are talking about coming out of the debate.
* Down-ballot Republicans: For an hour or so, the likes of Pat Toomey (Pa.), Richard Burr (N.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) had to be, generally speaking, happy with Trump’s performance. But then came the question of whether he would respect the election results if he lost and Trump’s total debacle of an answer. It’s hard for me to see how Republicans in close down-ballot races can afford to keep sticking by a candidate who has broken with centuries of tradition when it comes to the peaceful handover of power. And, you can expect every single Republican — those in tough race and even those who aren’t — to be asked tomorrow (and the day after that and the day after that) whether they agree with Trump’s view on the rigged nature of the election. Not exactly a closing message any of them would choose.