News Wrap: Obama urges Americans to learn about other cultures during Laos visit

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U.S. President Barack Obama visits the Wat Xieng Thong Buddhist temple, alongside his participation in the ASEAN Summit, in Luang Prabang, Laos September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX2OFOY

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JUDY WOODRUFF:  It’s an emerging question in the presidential campaign:  Who would be the better commander in chief?

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will both make their cases tonight on a television special.  Trump was out this morning with an early peek at his argument.

DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  Three crucial words that should be at center, always, of our foreign policy, peace through strength.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Donald Trump’s visit to Philadelphia today was all about military policy.  He called for big increases in defense spending to beef up the Army, Navy and Air Force after years of congressionally mandated spending limits.

DONALD TRUMP:  As soon as I take office, I will ask Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester and will submit a new budget to rebuild our military.  It is so depleted.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Tonight, Trump and Hillary Clinton appear separately in a televised forum on national security.

Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign unveiled a list of 95 retired generals and admirals backing her.  That a came a day after Trump’s team touted a list of 88 endorsing him.

Meanwhile, former President Clinton stumped in Orlando, Florida, and called out Trump’s attacks on his wife and on the family foundation.

BILL CLINTON, Former President of the United States:  I mean, I saw where her opponent attacked my foundation.  I think that is because he knew they were about to report that he used his foundation to give money to your attorney general, but — which is not legal.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Trump has denied that his donation of $25,000 to support Florida’s Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013 was meant to influence her office’s possible review of Trump University.

Meanwhile, there is fallout from Trump’s meeting in Mexico last week with President Pena Nieto.  It has drawn wide criticism in Mexico, and, today, the treasury minister resigned, amid reports he arranged the Trump visit.

We will turn to the changing shape of the presidential race as reflected in the polls after the news summary.

In the day’s other news:  President Obama urged Americans to learn more about the world and to reject isolationism.  He was in Laos, where he toured a centuries-old Buddhist temple, and then held a town hall with youth leaders from across Southeast Asia.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  I believe that the United States is and can be a great force for good in the world.  But if you’re in the United States, sometimes, you can feel lazy, and think, we’re so big, we don’t have to really know anything about other people.  And that’s part of what I’m trying to change.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Later, at a regional summit, the president met informally with Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte.  The White House called off a formal meeting when Duterte referred to Mr. Obama using foul language.

The Philippines also used the summit to highlight China’s expansionism in the South China Sea.  Filipino officials released images said to show an increased number of Chinese ships near a contested island.  The summit issued a vaguely worded statement, but didn’t mention China by name.

The United Nations reports intense new fighting in Western Syria has put at least 100,000 people to flight.  They’re fleeing homes in Hama province, where Islamist rebels launched an offensive last week, triggering government airstrikes.  An estimated 11 million Syrians have fled since the war began in 2011.

Many of those migrants have gone to Europe, and Germany alone took in one million people last year.  That has caused a political backlash, but today German Chancellor Angela Merkel went before Parliament and insisted the country can handle the influx.

ANGELA MERKEL, Chancellor, Germany (through translator):  The situation today is many times better than a year ago for everyone, but there remains a lot to do.  Change is not a bad thing.  And we especially — and I can speak for myself — who experienced German unification have seen how change can be a very positive thing.  That will not change.  Germany will remain Germany, with everything that we love and treasure.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Also today, Britain said it is building a wall at the French seaport of Calais to stop illegal arrivals of migrants through the English Channel Tunnel.

Back in this country, the president has nominated a man who could become the first Muslim American federal judge.  Abid Riaz Qureshi is a Washington, D.C., lawyer.  He would need Senate confirmation, and it is not clear if he can get it before Congress goes home next month.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 12 points to close at 18526.  The Nasdaq rose eight points, and the S&P 500 slipped a fraction.

And a woman who flew non-combat missions in World War II, and died just last year, was finally laid to rest today in Arlington National Cemetery.   Elaine Harmon served with the WASPs, Women Air Force Service Pilots.  But last year, the secretary of the Army ruled them ineligible for Arlington, citing limited space.  It took an act of Congress to revoke that ruling.

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