NATION POLITICS ESSENTIAL WASHINGTON

Donald Trump swings through the battleground state of Ohio. Hillary Clinton campaigns in North Carolina with Michelle Obama.

  • Many Trump supporters think the election will not be fair.
  • Eric Garner's daughter assails Clinton campaign for contemplating naming her dad in an op-ed on gun violence.
  • Mike Pence's campaign plane has a rough landing in New York.
  • Aide says he once arranged for $50 million in payments to Bill Clinton.
  • Evan McMullin has made Utah competitive, but his aspirations are much bigger.

In contentious Illinois Senate campaign, Republican senator questions challenger's family heritage

Rep. Tammy Duckworth and Sen. Mark Steven Kirk debate in Illinois. (Seth Perlman / Associated Press)
Rep. Tammy Duckworth and Sen. Mark Steven Kirk debate in Illinois. (Seth Perlman / Associated Press)

Republican Sen. Mark Steven Kirk, who is facing a tough race to retain his Illinois seat against Democratic challenger Rep. Tammy Duckworth, aggressively went after her during a Thursday night debate, accusing her of lying and even questioning her family's ancestry and military service.

Duckworth countered Kirk's periodic interruptions by suggesting that his series of controversial statements about President Obama and the nation were "not at all the hallmarks of a senator who is looking out for the people of Illinois."

The exchanges came during a 90-minute broadcast forum at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The Senate seat, previously held by Obama, is crucial to Republican hopes of holding the chamber and Democratic attempts to reclaim a majority. 

Trump falls far short of his boast of putting $100 million into his own campaign

Donald Trump campaigns in Geneva, Ohio. (Dustin Franz / AFP-Getty Images)
Donald Trump campaigns in Geneva, Ohio. (Dustin Franz / AFP-Getty Images)

Donald Trump has repeated it so much it's almost part of his stump speech: He's going to put $100 million of his own money into his campaign before election day. But new filings show he's got a long way to go if he's going to hit that mark.

The Republican presidential nominee has given a mere $33,000 to his campaign this month. That means he needs to pony up another $44 million to fulfill the boast that's become a familiar refrain in interviews and rallies over the last several days.

"I will have more than $100 million in the campaign," Trump told CNN on Wednesday. "And I am prepared to go much more than that."

Over the course of his presidential bid, the New York businessman who says he is worth $10 billion has given about $56 million of his own money. The majority of that spending occurred in the GOP primary. During the general election, his campaign gifts slowed to about $2 million each month.

Neither Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks nor spokesman Jason Miller responded to emailed questions late Thursday inquiring whether Trump still planned to contribute as much as he has said he would.

Trump gave about $31,000 through the first 19 days of October — the period covered in the filing released Thursday— all of which went to cover rent and payroll. Trump also gave an additional $2,600 on Oct. 20, other filings show.

Trump's overall monetary contribution to his presidential bid shrinks when accounting for about $9 million in campaign cash that has been returned to his family and businesses. That money has largely gone to the holding company of his private jet, but the campaign also paid for rent at Trump Tower, catering at his restaurants and even the Trump Ice bottled water that's popped up at his events.

Trump's October contribution was revealed in the same reports that showed his campaign had only about $16 million left in the bank as of last week after raising about $30 million in the first 19 days of October. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton raised about $53 million for her campaign, leaving her with $62 million in available cash.

Trump supporters back allowing people who are in the country illegally to stay if certain parameters are met

 (Ty Wright / Getty Images)
(Ty Wright / Getty Images)

Donald Trump has made immigration a key pillar of his campaign – vowing, among other things, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and calling for mass deportations.

But most of his supporters – nearly 60% – believe that there should be a way for those who are in the country illegally to stay if certain requirements are met, according to a new study by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. 

Throughout the Republican primary, Trump insisted that anyone in the country illegally would be deported under his administration. He also questioned the constitutional guarantee of U.S. citizenship to anybody born here.

In recent months, however, he has dialed back his rhetoric, saying that mass deportation is unlikely and that he would focus on immigrants without legal status who have criminal records. Still, he has offered few specifics on the people who are in the country illegally but do not have criminal records. 

When Hillary Clinton's supporters were asked if there should be a way for undocumented immigrants currently in the country to stay legally, 95% said there should be a way for them to stay. 

Clinton supports a path toward citizenship for those in the country illegally.

The Pew survey was conducted from Oct. 20-25 and polled nearly 2,500 adults.

Mike Pence's campaign plane skids off runway at LaGuardia; no injuries reported

Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence's campaign plane had a rough landing Thursday night, skidding off a runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport. 

In a statement, the campaign said there were no injuries and that Donald Trump, the GOP nominee, had talked to his running mate. 

"Mr. Trump called him. ... He reached out to Gov. Pence and he is very glad everyone aboard is safe," Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Trump, said. 

Rain blanketed the New York area much of Thursday and earlier in the day Pence held rallies in Iowa and Nebraska. 

The airport was briefly closed as fire crews responded to the incident.

At a rally later in the evening in Ohio, Trump mentioned Pence's plane. 

"The plane skidded off the runway and was pretty close to grave grave danger but I just spoke to Mike Pence and he is fine, everybody's fine," Trump said. 


 

Trump: 'We should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump'

Donald Trump, who often claims the election is rigged, had an interesting idea Thursday.

"I'm just thinking to myself right now: We should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump," he said during a rally in downtown Toledo, Ohio.

The crowd of several thousand at the Sea Gate Convention Center cheered their approval.

Trump's brainstorm came as he ran through the differences in the policy agendas that he and Hillary Clinton are proposing for the first 100 days of their administrations. With such opposite approaches for the country, he reasoned, he should be the favorite.

Polls show Trump trailing Clinton in the must-win Buckeye State. But in Trump's view, he is ahead and "winning big."

Clinton campaign pushes back against Trump's recent military rhetoric

 (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
(Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton's campaign pushed back Thursday against Donald Trump's warnings that her plan for Syria would "lead to World War III" and his claim that if he had been president instead of George W. Bush, a fallen soldier would still be alive.

"His comments have no credibility and shake our allies and troops," retired Marine Gen. John Allen, a Clinton supporter, said on a conference call with reporters. "This kind of rhetoric proves [Trump] is not qualified."

During an interview with Reuters this week, Trump said Clinton could drag the U.S. into a broad conflict with a more aggressive posture toward resolving Syria's civil war. 

"You’re going to end up in World War III over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton," he said.

Trump also repeated a caustic claim Thursday that if he had been president instead of Bush, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in 2004, would be alive. 

“Had I been president, Capt. Khan would be alive today. We wouldn't have been in this horrible, horrible mistake, the war in Iraq,” Trump told ABC News.

Khan was killed by a car bomb while on patrol in Iraq. Trump has publicly battled with Khan's parents after his father gave a riveting speech at the Democratic National Convention assailing Trump for his calls to ban Muslims from entering the country as a way to combat terrorism. The Khans are Muslim.

Khizr Khan, who is supporting Clinton and has appeared in campaign ads, told reporters that he was saddened by Trump's comments. 

"Donald Trump, your practice of division and hatred is unacceptable to America," he said.

Michelle Obama: A Hillary Clinton presidency could be just as historic as my husband's

Hillary Clinton has sometimes struggled to blend her candidacy with a compelling personal story.

On Thursday, she got a helping hand from First Lady Michelle Obama, who compared Clinton's trajectory as potentially the first female president to the historic role played by her husband.

The U.S., she said, was not only the place where a "biracial kid from Hawaii" could win the White House, but where the "daughter of an orphan can break that highest, hardest glass ceiling," referring to President Obama and to Clinton, respectively.

It was the first campaign appearance featuring both Clinton and the first lady, whose passionate stump speeches have helped frame opposition to Republican nominee Donald Trump.

In an arena packed with 11,000 supporters, some of whom waited for hours, Obama acknowledged that it's "unprecedented" for a first lady to campaign as much as she has.

"That may be true," she said. "But this is also an unprecedented election. And that is why I'm here."

Obama also framed Clinton's wonky focus on policy as proof of her investment in the country's future.

"Policies matter," she said. "They determine whether our kids have good schools. Whether they can see a doctor when they're sick."

Most Trump supporters say they lack confidence the election will be fair

Wide gap in voters’ confidence in the openness and fairness of the election

Warnings that the election is "rigged" against him have frequently punctuated Donald Trump's speeches in the closing weeks of the campaign, and his supporters have clearly absorbed that message.

A majority of Trump's supporters, 56%, say they have little or no confidence that the election "will be open and fair," according to a new poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, while 43% said they had at least a "fair amount" of confidence in the elections fairness.

The feeling was even more widespread among those who described themselves as strong supporters of Trump. By almost 2-1, those strong supporters said they did not have confidence the election would be fair. 

By contrast, the vast majority of Hillary Clinton's supporters, 88%, said they did have confidence the election would be fair. 

Trump's complaints about the system being biased against him and his refusal to commit that he would accept the election outcome have taken a toll on how voters see him. Less than half of voters, 43%, said that Trump has even "a fair amount" of respect for the country's democratic institutions and traditions. Even among Trump's supporters, only 41% said he had a "great deal" of respect for those traditions.

The poll also found that Trump supporters and Clinton supporters had very different views of one of those institutions — the news media, which Trump has repeatedly denounced as "corrupt."

Among Clinton's supporters, 72% said that having "news organizations free to criticize political leaders" was very important to maintaining a strong democracy. Among Trump supporters, 49% took that view.

Overall, the Pew survey found Clinton leading Trump 46% to 40% among registered voters, with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson receiving 6% and Green Party nominee Jill Stein getting 3%. That's roughly on par with the current polling averages.

Respondents to the poll gave Clinton better marks than Trump on a list of characteristics generally considered important in a president, including being a good role model, being well qualified and not being reckless.

Clinton widely viewed as 'well-qualified;' most describe Trump as 'reckless'

Trump's share of the vote outstripped the number who consider him well qualified or a good role model. That's in part because many of his voters see their ballot more as a vote against Clinton than as one for Trump.

Just 45% of Trump backers say their vote is primarily for him; 57% of Clinton's voters say their ballot is primarily for her, rather than against him.

The Pew poll was conducted Oct. 20-25 among 2,583 American adults, including 2,120 registered voters. It has a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points in either direction for the registered voter sample.

Eric Garner’s daughter assails Clinton campaign for contemplating naming her dad in an op-ed on gun violence

The Garner family, with Erica, far left. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
The Garner family, with Erica, far left. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

As Hillary Clinton and her aides went through final drafts of a gun violence op-ed they would submit to the New York Daily News, a question came up: Should the campaign include a reference to Eric Garner? 

Garner, who died in 2014, was not killed by gun violence; he died after being placed in a choke-hold by a New York police officer. 

In emails obtained and posted by WikiLeaks, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill wrote that the campaign should consider mentioning Garner.

"I know we have Erica Garner issues, but we don't want to mention Eric at all? I can see her coming after us for leaving him out of the piece," Merrill wrote in a March email, referring to Garner’s daughter, Erica, who was a supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the primary.

In response, Karen Finney, a senior Clinton adviser, mentioned that Eric Garner "wasn't killed by a gun it was police violence." 

Erica Garner used Twitter on Thursday to castigate the Clinton campaign. 

"These people will co opt anything to push their agenda. Police violence is not the same as gun violence," Erica Garner tweeted. 

She added, "I'm troubled by the revelation" that "this campaign actually discussed 'using' Eric Garner ... Why would you want to 'use' my dad?" 

Though the aides debated mentioning Eric Garner in the essay, none made a reference to "using" his death.

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, is supporting Clinton and has appeared at several rallies supporting the Democratic presidential nominee in recent months. 

Voices from the Trump trail: Skeptical of polls, with him to the end

Watch: Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama stump together in North Carolina

Watch: Donald Trump hits the trail in Springfield, Ohio

Why Bruce Springsteen's blue-collar heroes have made Donald Trump their rock star

These mills they built the tanks and bombs that won this country’s wars” — Bruce Springsteen, “Youngstown”  

Bob Wilson was coming of age when sulfur stung the night sky and the valley glowed with molten steel. Scarfers hissed, slag cooled, unions marched like armies and train tracks knew no rust. Weeks were flush with paychecks and promises in a potent vision of America that would vanish before Wilson stepped too far into manhood.

“You could watch it all from a bridge,” said Wilson, an auto mechanic with the deep gaze of a marksman. “Hot ladles and steel and men working. Then it was gone.”

Bruce Springsteen immortalized the nobility of men who once stood before the furnaces and the betrayals of a collapsing steel industry. His 1995 song “Youngstown,” a poetic elegy in a vast working-class canon, is still revered by the city that inspired it.

But many of the machinists, miners and laborers who embody Springsteen’s lyrics from the Rust Belt to the Appalachian coal fields have turned to the swagger of Donald Trump in a long-denied bid for redemption. Springsteen’s politics may have stayed liberal since he played Stambaugh Auditorium here two decades ago, but economic decline, foreign competition, crime and abandoned mills have turned many in Youngstown — notably blue-collar white men — toward the right-wing, isolationist politics of a billionaire reality-TV show star.

Police arrest man who says he destroyed Trump's star on Walk of Fame

James Otis said he planned to turn himself in for damaging Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

But before doing that, he told media early Thursday, he would hold a news conference at the scene of the crime — where a replacement star now rested. 

Los Angeles police were having none of that. Hours before the planned event, officers from the LAPD’s Hollywood station arrested Otis for smashing up the star.  

Otis said he took a sledgehammer and pick to Trump’s star the day before, causing damage that police estimated at $2,500. The offense would be considered felony vandalism, police said.

“I just sort of had enough with Mr. Trump’s aggressive language toward women and his behavior, his sexual violence with women and against women,” Otis said of recent accusations against the GOP presidential nominee, which Trump has called false. “I’ve had personally in my own family four people who have been assaulted or have had sexual violence happen to them. It all became very personal.”

Michael Moore mocks Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump supporters who tout his documentary

Michael Moore has been having fun with Trump supporters and others who have touted his anti-Trump movie as pro-Trump.

Here's a review from Times critic Kenneth Turan, who writes that Moore's film, though not a firebrand, is actually "a defense of Hillary Clinton against those who hate her and a heartfelt plea for people to vote for her no matter what."

"You can keep hating her," says Moore, who confesses he himself has never voted for a Clinton in his life. "Do it for the country."

Sen. Ted Cruz raises the prospect of lasting Supreme Court gridlock

 (Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images)
(Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images)

Could the Supreme Court remain a permanent victim of Washington gridlock?

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who famously led the charge that partially shut down the federal government in 2013, raised the specter of leaving an indefinite vacancy on the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

“There is long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices," Cruz told reporters while campaigning for a Senate candidate on Colorado. "Just recently, Justice [Stephen G.] Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”

Cruz's comments are another sign that Republicans, increasingly fearing a Hillary Clinton victory, are girding for more trench warfare. Cruz is widely viewed as one of the most conservative senators and one of the least willing to compromise.

But even Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is more of a dealmaker, promised the GOP would be "united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up." His office later added that he would support an up or down vote.  

Though Supreme Court battles are often hard fought, there has long been a bipartisan consensus that the the court needs a full slate of justices. 

The court has operated with eight justices since February, when Antonin Scalia died. Republicans in the Senate have declined to hold hearings for President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, saying they should wait until after the election. Cruz's comments suggest the election may not even settle the issue.

But even fellow conservatives have warned against that strategy. Justice Clarence Thomas, was asked about the prolonged confirmation process during a Heritage Foundation event in Washington on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg

"The city is broken in some ways," Thomas said. "At some point, we have got to recognize that we’re destroying our institutions."

Rep. Jason Chaffetz rebuked Donald Trump. Now he says he'll vote for him

 (Cliff Owen / Associated Press)
(Cliff Owen / Associated Press)

Earlier this month, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz sat before a CNN camera and invoked his 15-year-old daughter.

"Do you think I can look her in the eye and tell her that I endorsed Donald Trump for president when he acts like this," the Republican asked, referring to the 2005 recording of Trump boasting that, as a celebrity, he can grab women's bodies. 

That was then. Chaffetz now says he will vote for Trump, though he is struggling with how to say it.

It's a curious formulation, underscoring the tough political position Trump has created for many Republicans, particularly in Utah, where Mormons have been turned off by the Republican nominee's personality and rhetoric.

Chaffetz is not only calculating his home-state ambitions, he is also working to keep his status in Washington, where he leads the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The committee usually serves as a permanent thorn in the side of the administration, and provides its chairman a high-profile platform. Chaffetz recently told the Washington Post that he sees a Hillary Clinton administration as "a target-rich environment."

Chaffetz is not the only Republican to pull a switcharoo concerning Trump. Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo rescinded his endorsement after the video, only to return to the fold this week.

Trump proposes a 'new deal for black America' that may have gone unheard

Donald Trump broached the issue of "urban renewal" with a fresh set of policy promises -- federal disaster funds for blighted neighborhoods, micro-loans for budding entrepreneurs and beefed-up law enforcement to protect the streets.

"Today I want to talk  about how to grow the African American middle class and to provide a new deal for black America," he said. "Too many African Americans have been left behind. Massive numbers."

But what could have been a notable moment of serious outreach to voters in racially torn Charlotte became largely lost this week in the clutter of Trump’s unconventional campaign.

The speech at an old church-turned-theater downtown struggled to be heard on a day otherwise occupied by the opening of Trump’s grand hotel in Washington. Trump delivered it less than two weeks before election day. And the audience was invite-only, and made up mainly of white Republicans, with just a handful of the African American residents Trump repeatedly said he was trying to help. 

Perhaps it’s for the better.

In both style and substance, Trump risked alienating some of the same voters he may have been trying to reach - the moderates, women and minorities that polls show he needs to expand his flagging performance.

As he has done before, he linked black people with poverty and crime, using sweeping statements that critics say do not reflect the diversity of the African American experience.

"Some of our inner cities are more dangerous than some of the war zones," Trump said. "You walk to the store to buy a loaf of bread, maybe with a child, and you get shot." 

He called for more law enforcement in a city that has been searching for common ground after violent protests sparked by the police shooting of a black man.

“The problem is not the presence of police, but the absence of police,” he said.

He proposed education assistance and greater school choice, along with family tax breaks.

But aside from new tax holidays for foreign businesses who invest in cities, his economic proposals did not necessarily provide new resources for the communities, but moved funds from other aid programs.

For example, Trump said federal disaster funds could be tapped for cities and he would shift social services funding to pay for the new micro-lending program.

And he said he would transfer money saved from halting the flow of Syrian refugees and others from nations suspected of terrorist links to pay for urban investments.

In that way he was pitting one minority group against the other as he promised to stem the flow of all immigration. “Illegal immigration violates the civil rights of African Americans,” he said.

The policy speech offered the details that so many voters have said they want to hear more of from Trump.

The crowd approved much of what he was proposing. They responded with robust applause, punctuated by a "lock her up!” outbursts against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

But those voters in the theater were already largely with Trump. And it’s not clear who else was listening

Trump dabbles in Hindi for a new campaign ad

Donald Trump channels Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a new ad appealing to Hindu Americans — he even throws in a little Hindi.

Ab ki baar, Trump sarkar,” Trump says in the ad, which translates to, "this time, a Trump government."

Modi used the same slogan in his own political campaign in 2013 — “Ab ki baar, Modi sarkar.”

The Trump campaign timed the ad to air before the celebration of the Hindu festival Diwali this weekend. The video plays cuts of Trump lighting a candle and speaking at a GOP Hindu Coalition charity event this month in New Jersey. It’s played against a background of traditional Indian music.

“The Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House,” he said in the clip from the event. He adds that the U.S. will defeat radical Islamic terrorism in a Trump presidency.  

Trump’s chairman of his Indian American advisory committee, Shalabh Kumar, told BuzzFeed News that the ad is airing 20 times a day on Indian American channels.

Donald Trump sayshe had to cut the ribbon on his hotel: 'What am I supposed to do, not show up?'

Donald Trump defended his decision to cut a ribbon for his new hotel in Washington rather than head for a battleground state with less than two weeks before the election.

“I built one of the great hotels in the world," Trump told ABC's "Good Morning America" in an interview broadcast Thursday. "What am I supposed to do, not show up?”

Trump has been criticized by consultants on both sides. He pointed out that his day also included several other campaign stops outside of Washington.

“It's so unfair because Hillary Clinton goes to see an Adele concert," he said. "And everybody says 'Oh, wasn't that nice? Isn't that wonderful?'"

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