By Zeke J Miller
September 28, 2016

If you only read one thing: Donald Trump is struggling to come to terms with broadly being seen as the loser in Monday night’s debate. Over the course of 24 hours, he defiantly claimed victory, blasted the media’s coverage of the debate, and offered excuses for why his performance wasn’t up to snuff. For a candidate for whom winning is essential to his brand, Monday’s missed opportunity is more than a setback—it’s getting in his head. Trump aides are starting to point fingers on why their candidate didn’t deliver, but if there is an ironclad political rule that has proven to be true even this unconventional cycle it’s that it’s usually the candidate’s fault. And now he has to figure out how to deal with it.

U.S. and global leaders are mourning the death of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. The Israeli government is saying that President Obama, Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton will travel to the funeral Friday, but there is no confirmation yet on the U.S. side. All three issued emotional statements about Peres’ death, having built close relationships with the Nobel Peace Prize winner. Donald Trump has yet to comment.

Hillary Clinton, who touted First Lady Michelle Obama’s now-famous line, “when they go low, we go high,” at the debate, has remained silent herself about Howard Dean, a top surrogate, who suggested that the sound of Donald Trump seeming to sniffle during the debate was because of cocaine use.

Trump gets a secret money group. The debate was the most-watched ever. And Clinton’s team prepares for Trump’s Bill attack.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Donald Trump Struggles to Deal With Debate Loss
How does a man whose brand is all about winning come to terms with defeat? 24 hours with the GOP nominee as he tries to figure it out [TIME]

Secret Money to Boost Trump
A former anti-Trump financier offers GOP mega-donors who are embarrassed by Trump the chance to help him anonymously [Politico]

Donald Trump’s Blunt Defense of Business Record Poses Political Risks
Citing rough-and-tumble capitalism could appeal to some, repel other [Wall Street Journal]

New Debate Strategy for Donald Trump: Practice, Practice, Practice
Trump aides point fingers [New York Times]

Sound Off

“I was also holding back. I didn’t want to do anything to embarrass her.” — Donald Trump on his debate performance and Hillary Clinton

“Anybody blaming it on the microphone is not having a good debate.” — Hillary Clinton on Trump’s debate excuse

Bits and Bites

This Map Shows Who Would Win the Election If It Were Held Today [TIME]

More Than 80 Million Americans Watched First Presidential Debate [Reuters]

Donald Trump Interrupted Hillary Clinton and Lester Holt 55 Times in the First Presidential Debate [TIME]

Donald Trump Does Not Believe in Man-Made Climate Change, Campaign Manager Says [TIME]

President Obama Nominates First U.S. Ambassador to Cuba in Half-Century [TIME]

Alicia Machado, ex-Miss Universe mocked by Donald Trump, says insults contributed to eating disorder [NBC]

World Leaders Mourn the Death of Former Israeli President Shimon Peres [TIME]

What’s wrong with politicizing a tragedy? For Sen. Chris Murphy, nothing at all. [Washington Post]

When Trump said that not paying taxes ‘makes me smart,’ undecided voters in N.C. gasped [Washington Post]

Clinton team preps for Trump’s Bill attack [Politico]

Former GOP Sen. John Warner to endorse Hillary Clinton for president [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Conservative Arizona Newspaper Endorses Hillary Clinton: ‘This Year Is Different’ [TIME]

Fact Check: Trump’s claim that a racial discrimination suit was ‘brought against many real estate firms’ [Washington Post]

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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