Are you ready for some debate?

Get your popcorn ready. It should be a brawl, probably one of the highest rated and most anticipated Monday night matchups in decades, kickoff at 9.

Of course you know we’re talking about the Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump mano a mano showdown, the first face-off between the one-time acquaintances in the six-week sprint to the  November 8 election. Issues and expectations aside, it is must-see TV and, despite Trump’s grousing about going up against Monday Night Football, will be one of the few political events to upstage a prime time football game. It is the Super Bowl of presidential politics with observers and media outlets around the country treating it with similar hype.

Certainly some wonks will tune in for the substance, and many voters say they’re tired of the mud-tossing, but few think policy discussions will be what draws an estimated 100 million viewers to the 90-minute clash. In this extraordinary election year, nearly everyone will be tuning in for the WWF atmosphere featuring a reality TV  star versus one of the most famous and disliked pols in modern history.

Observers were all aTwitter about the potential for a skin-crawling moment of awkwardness when it looked like former Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers would be front and center as a guest of Trump’s. Trump tweeted he might invite her to counter Clinton’s invitation to a front row seat for Dallas Mavericks owner and Trump nemesis Mark Cuban. Flowers tweeted her acceptance but Trump officials backed off, saying she was never formally invited.

The expectations aren’t particularly high for Trump while they’re stratospheric for the seasoned Clinton. But it’s not issues that will define the tussle, though current events will reveal a divide that both will have to overcome. The latest police shootings and heightened focus on racial tensions in the country will surely surface and will go a long way in defining which candidate can grab the middle in a race-riven country.

But while the bar is low for Trump, he’s also becoming the increasing focus of fact-checking, or at least different media outlets’ views of fact-checking. In advance of the debate, the Clinton camp issued a challenge to news outlets to fact-check Trump in real time, a subtle bit of pressure on moderators to let no statement go unchallenged.

But it wasn’t really necessary. A number of outlets offered a week or more of fact-checking The Donald and, unsurprisingly, the results did little to counter the notion he shoots loose from the lip.

The New York Times is using the currency of the event to flex its influence muscles, running its endorsement of Clinton on Sunday followed by a crack-back block of an editorial on Monday declaring Trump “the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.”

“Voters attracted by the force of the Trump personality should pause and take note of the precise qualities he exudes as an audaciously different politician: bluster, savage mockery of those who challenge him, degrading comments about women, mendacity, crude generalizations about nations and religions,” the Times writes.

The Boston Globe sent out an email to subscribers with a link to 10 stories to prep them for the debate, sort of a preseason primer.

For media and viewers alike, this is the Super Bowl, a championship heavyweight bout, a cage match to the death. What it is not is politics like we’ve ever seen. Sit back and enjoy the show.



The State Ethics Commission says there’s no need for further investigation or disciplinary action for the two DCR officials suspended by Gov. Charlie Baker for throwing a Fourth of July party using state assets. (State House News Service)


A veteran and UMass Lowell student is helping reach out to veterans suffering from PTSD who may be suicidal as part of the “22 push-up challenge,” a national effort that is spotlighting the fact that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. (Lowell Sun)

Four people were killed early Sunday morning when a fire swept through their Greenfield home. (The Republican)


After resisting calls to release videos of a police shooting of a black man in Charlotte, North Carolina, which triggered nearly a week of violent protests, the police chief finally made the tapes public but it caused more questions than gave answers. (New York Times)

A Maine restaurant owner’s stand against assault weapons draws fire. (Boston Globe)


A MetroWest Daily News editorial says studies that provide a rigorous test of the effect of urban charter schools make a compelling case for raising the cap.

Andover district school teachers put posters advocating a no vote on the cap-lift ballot question on school walls during a recent open house in violation of state ethics rules. (Eagle-Tribune)

Officials with the pro-marijuana group Yes on 4, in a meeting with the MetroWest Daily News editorial board, say they are set to launch an extensive TV ad and mailer campaign with an influx of cash from the socially progressive PAC New Action. More than $100,000 in donations to the pro-legalization effort have come from existing marijuana-related businesses. (Boston Herald)

Gov. Charlie Baker’s campaign committee coughed up nearly $56,000 from his 2014 campaign to the state — the most ever from one election — to cover illegal donations made to his account. (Boston Herald)

Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams, the Democratic nominee for a state rep seat, says it was an oversight that led him to omit several properties his wife owns from required state ethics filings. (MassLive)


Jeffrey Sachs says we need to think big and long-term about infrastructure planning and spending for a post-automobile era. (Boston Globe)

A Herald editorial says Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf must go.

New data show millions of workers in the United States are finally climbing out of poverty thanks to higher wages. (New York Times)

More than half of nonprofit board chairs say they did nothing to prepare for their role, according to a new survey. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

UTEC, which works to connect court-involved and at-risk youth with job opportunities, has been awarded $700,000 in federal funding to expand its mattress-recycling operation and add 28 new jobs. (Lowell Sun)

Mayor Marty Walsh says he’s willing to help try to broker a deal between a local contracting company and Boston area janitors, who have voted to authorize a strike if they can’t reach agreement on a new contract. (Boston Herald)


Boston schools superintendent Tommy Chang says the system should consider scrapping most middle schools and adopting a 7-12 grade figuration for schools, which would mirror the structure of the city’s three exam schools. (Boston Globe) CommonWealth examined this idea in depth in 2007, when Boston was poised to welcome a new superintendent (who bowed out at the 11th hour) who advocated such a grade scheme.


The Baker administration and housekeeping staff and other low-paid workers at nursing homes are at odds over whether a new state law that will boost wages for “direct care” workers at such facilities covers them or only more highly trained nursing staff. (Boston Globe)

The announcement by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan that they will commit $3 billion from their foundation to eradicating and controlling disease is sure to have ripple effects in the Boston biomedical research world. (Boston Globe)

Obesity is preventing health care professionals from looking past the fat and treating patients for other illnesses because of attitudes, improper equipment, and long-held practices. (New York Times)


Massachusetts’ aging highway infrastructure ranks near the bottom nationally in cost-effectiveness and performance but the state has the country’s lowest fatality rate. (State House News)


A Weymouth police officer shot a woman brandishing a knife. (Patriot Ledger)

Seven people were injured in a late-night brawl over the weekend outside a Boston Theater District nightclub. (Boston Herald)

A Millbury man was released from the House of Correction and sentenced to house arrest but he’s living in his car in the driveway because his home was condemned and boarded up while he was incarcerated. (Telegram and Gazette)


Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest golfers of all time who made the game popular among the masses but who may be familiar to younger generations for the drink named after him, died Sunday at the age of 87. (New York Times)