Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, stands with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

An Admission Against Interests From the Trump Campaign

Trump’s campaign thinks he lost the debate on Monday. How do we know? Because of this:

Campaign advisers to Donald J. Trump, concerned that his focus and objectives had dissolved during the first presidential debate on Monday, plan to more rigorously prepare him for his next face-off with Hillary Clinton by drilling the Republican nominee on crucial answers, facts and counterattacks, and by coaching him on ways to whack Mrs. Clinton on issues even if he is not asked about them.

Whether he is open to practicing meticulously is a major concern, however, according to some of these advisers and others close to Mr. Trump.

You do not change tactics and strategy for the second debate unless you think they did not work in the first debate.

Even as Mr. Trump’s advisers publicly backed him on Tuesday and praised his debate performance, they were privately awash in second-guessing about why he stopped attacking Mrs. Clinton on trade and character issues and instead grew erratic, impatient and subdued as the night went on. In interviews, seven campaign aides and advisers, most of whom sought anonymity to speak candidly, expressed frustration and discouragement over their candidate’s performance Monday night.

It is again time to ask the question: if Donald Trump wanted Hillary Clinton to win, what exactly would he do differently? Nothing. Which suggests he won’t actually listen to his advisors as he prepares for the second debate.

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Erick Erickson

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