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Story highlights

They both spoke at the "Commander in Chief" forum hosted by NBC News

They took questions about veteran affairs and national security

(CNN) —  

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battled Wednesday to stake out ground on national security during a “Commander in Chief” forum hosted by NBC News.

The forum, which was moderated by Matt Lauer, was a preview into how the candidates will handle themselves in the upcoming presidential debate September 26.

Clinton, Trump tackle national security issues in debate preview

Here’s a look at the most memorable quotes from the forum:

Trump’s Putin praise

1. Trump on Russian President Vladimir Putin: “If he says great things about me, I’m gonna say great things about him. I’ve already said he is really very much of a leader. I mean, the man has very strong control over a country. And that’s a very different system and I don’t happen to like the system. But certainly in that system he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”

ISIS

2. Trump on his plans for ISIS: “And let me tell you, if I like maybe a combination of my plan and the generals’ plan or the generals’ plan … if I like their plan, Matt, I’m not gonna call you up and say, ‘Matt, we have a great plan.’ This is what Obama does.”

Emails

3. Clinton trying to explain away her email troubles: “And for all the viewers watching here tonight, I have a lot of experience dealing with classified materials, starting when I was on the Senate Armed Services Committee, going into the four years as secretary of State. Classified material has a header which says, ‘Top Secret,’ ‘Secret,’ ‘Confidential.’ Nothing – and I will repeat this and this is verified in the reports by the Department of Justice – none of the emails sent or received by me had such a header.”

Military sexual assault

4. Trump defends an old tweet on military sexual assault: “No, not to kick (women) out. But something has to happen. Right now part of the problem is nobody gets prosecuted … you have the report of rape and nobody gets prosecuted.”

Clinton on Iraq War vote

5. Clinton on her vote: “Look, I think that the decision to go to war in Iraq was a mistake, and I have said that my voting to give President Bush that authority was, from my perspective, my mistake. I also believe that it is imperative that we learn from the mistakes, like after action reports are supposed to do. And so we must learn what led us down that path so that it never happens again. I think I’m in the best possible position to be able to understand that and prevent it.”

Trump on Iraq War

6. Trump repeats false Iraq War claim: “I was totally against the war in Iraq.” (This assertion has been repeatedly debunked).

Military generals

7. Trump on military generals: “I think under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble.”