Quick Takes: Meltdown

* TIME did a great job of capturing this week in the 2016 presidential campaign.

* What do you do when you want to distract people from the fact that you just suggested that your political opponent could be assassinated? You call the current POTUS a terrorist, of course.

Donald Trump on Thursday escalated his attack on President Barack Obama, doubling down on his accusation that he’s a founder of the Islamic State and claiming that both Obama and Hillary Clinton remain the terrorist group’s most valuable players.

The inflammatory accusation comes as Trump has set off another round of hand-wringing within the Republican Party, returning to his freewheeling ways after the GOP convention with overtures for Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, attacks on the Muslim-American family of a fallen war hero, and a suggestion that “Second Amendment people” are the only ones who can stop Clinton.

On Thursday, Trump showed no signs of backing down or reining it in.

After first leveling the terror-related accusation against Obama and Clinton at a Wednesday night rally, Trump made the claim three more times on Thursday — all before noon.

* Donald Trump once talked about expanding the electoral map. Looks like he was right about that…just not in the way he meant it. At this point, South Carolina might actually be in play.

PPP’s newest South Carolina poll* finds that the state is trending toward being competitive in the Presidential race this year, just like in neighboring Georgia. Donald Trump has only a 2 point lead with 41% to 39% for Hillary Clinton, 5% for Gary Johnson, and 2% for Jill Stein.

Here is an interesting take from Benjy Sarlin about what is going on.

* As you might remember, the Justice Department recently found that the Baltimore Police Department engaged in unconstitutional practices of discrimination. Wesley Lowery makes an excellent point.

* Jon Favreau provides an important warning. Keep this in mind over the next few weeks.

Remember this moment of the campaign.

I say this not to gloat about Donald Trump’s latest meltdown — that’s what Twitter is for — or because I think the race is anywhere close to over. It is entirely possible, even likely, that the polls will tighten again between now and November. Bounces fade. Memories are short…

Still, even if none of this occurs, the media will eventually grow tired of the “Trump’s finished” story line and move on to the much more clickable “Trump’s comeback” narrative. Any day now, some Quinnipiac poll that shows a tied race in Pennsylvania will force Democrats to lose control of their bladders. A Trump surge in a stray tracking poll will result in a CNN Breaking News Countdown Clock that will tick down the seconds to an emergency panel of 37 pundits. The sheer hysteria of the “How Could She Blow This?” pieces will dwarf the collective freak-out that followed President Obama’s first debate loss in 2012. It won’t be pretty.

And that’s when we’ll all need to stop, take a deep breath, and remember this moment.

* Finally, it’s been a while since we had a cutie-pie moment of #ObamaAndKids. Let’s remedy that right now.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .