Second presidential debate updates: Hillary Clinton won again, our analysts say


Tonight’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was tense, with harsh exchanges and accusations. Trump made repeated complaints that he was being treated unfairly by moderators Martha Raddatz of ABC News and Anderson Cooper of CNN. The predictions of a high-stakes showdown were not wrong.

Now the fact checks:

Our scorecard: Times political analysts gave the night to Clinton

Transcript: The most interesting parts

Clinton campaign manager compares Trump to a ‘dictator of a Banana Republic’

He was talking like he would become some dictator of a Banana Republic and throw her and his political enemies in jail.

— Robby Mook, campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, on Donald Trump’s threat to look into her email situation if elected


The Muslim community to Donald Trump: #MuslimsReportStuff

The notion that Muslims should police each other for suspicious behavior sparked a viral hashtag on social media, #MuslimsReportStuff, with debate viewers offering humorous takes on Trump’s comments about Muslims.

The hashtag quickly became a vehicle to criticize Trump’s political platform and comment on the broader view of Muslims in American society.

“Hello, I’d like to report a dangerous racist misogynist demagogue on my TV… yes, I’ll hold,” Zainab Chaudary wrote.

“Where is the call to all white people to report white terrorists?” posted Amelia Noor-Oshiro, later adding, “White terrorists kill far more than any other group!”

“My dad is taking a nap, I’ll keep on watching him as Trump ordered,” offered another person posting under the name Persian Rose.

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What we know about Ken Bone, Karl Becker and the rest of the town hall debate questioners

James Carter asks a question during the debate.
(Paul J. Richards / AFP/Getty Images)

Eight audience members asked questions of the nominees Sunday night. By night’s end, some had been declared the “winners” of the chaotic town hall debate and at least one audience member inspired a fake Twitter account and a song.

Here are the questions and everything we know about the questioners:

1. Patrice Brock: The last debate could have been rated as MA, mature audiences, per TV parental guidelines.... Do you feel you’re modeling appropriate and positive behavior for today’s youth?

Ken Karpowicz asks a question during the town hall debate.
Ken Karpowicz asks a question during the town hall debate.
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

2. Ken Karpowicz: Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, it is not affordable...What will you do to bring the cost down and make coverage better?

A Facebook profile identified by several of Karpowicz’s high school classmates says he is a foreman at a sheet metal company and graduated from high school in Illinois.

3. Gorbah Hamed: There are 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, and I’m one of them. ...With Islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being labeled as a threat to the country after the election is over?

4. Spencer Maass: What specific tax provisions will you change to ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share in taxes?

According to a LinkedIn profile that appears to belong to Maass, he is a credit analyst at a bank in Missouri. Maass is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri where he studied finance, the LinkedIn page says, was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity and was involved in student government.

5. James Carter: Do you believe you can be a devoted president to all Americans?

6. Beth Miller: What would you prioritize as the most important aspect of selecting a Supreme Court justice?

7. Kenneth Bone: What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?

Bone was clearly the social media favorite of the town hall participants. His cameo, and his apparent use of a disposable camera after the debate, quickly spawned memes and a parody Twitter handle. More than an hour after the debate ended, Ken Bone continued to be a trending topic on Twitter.

8. Karl Becker: Regardless of the current rhetoric, would each of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?

Becker is a sales executive at an auto parts distributor in St. Louis, according to a LinkedIn page that appears to belong to him. After Becker was declared the night’s “winner” by several users on social media, a woman who said she is his daughter responded to the praise:


Was Donald Trump shortchanged on debate time? The footage doesn’t seem to support the claim

At one point during the debate, Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of going 25 seconds over her allotted time. Let’s see if that’s true.

Donald Trump repeatedly complained Sunday that he was not being given fair time or treatment during the debate, but it’s not at all clear whether he was shortchanged on minutes.

Shortly after the first question, Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton was being given the chance to respond more fully than him.

“She’s allowed to do that and I’m not allowed to respond? Sounds fair,” Trump said.

Moderator Martha Raddatz brushed aside the concern, and kept probing the question, which was about Trump’s sexually aggressive comments from 2005.

A short time later, Trump complained the debate was “three-on-one,” and at one moment he pointedly claimed that Clinton “just went about 25 seconds over her time.”

“She did not,” Raddatz said.

In fact, the video shows Clinton’s comments ran almost exactly the two minutes allowed.

Team Trump was unconvinced.

“The moderators tonight were absolutely terrible,” said Trump spokesman Jason Miller, adding they interrupted Trump more than Clinton. “It was three-on-one out there.”


Clinton on Trump’s debate performance: ‘I saw what I expected to see’

(Rick T. Wilking / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton boarded her campaign plane to fly home to New York after Sunday’s second presidential debate saying she “feels great.”

As for her opponent, Donald Trump, she said, “I saw what I expected to see.”

Asked about Trump’s decision to invite women who have accused her husband of sexual misconduct to the debate, Clinton said, “Nothing surprises me” — except, she later added, “the absolute avalanche of falsehoods” from Trump.


Team Clinton says Trump failed to rattle her; Trump campaign says debate changed momentum in the race

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shake hands at the second presidential debate.
(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta said Donald Trump tried and failed to divert attention from the controversies roiling his campaign by injecting women who have made sexual accusations about former President Bill Clinton into the debate in an attempt to rattle the Democratic nominee.

“She was able to talk about the positive things she wanted to do; he was on the attack the whole evening,” Podesta said, before pointing to Trump’s appearance with women who have accused the former president of unwanted sexual advances and rape. “He wanted to throw her off her game with the stunt he pulled in the beginning. He clearly didn’t do that.”

Podesta, speaking to reporters after the debate, said Trump was trying to distract from the drama that has consumed his campaign since Friday, when video emerged of him making vulgar comments about women.

But former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani declared that the debate would change the course of the race, which has seen Trump lose ground in national and swing state polls.

“The momentum is going to change like that,” he told reporters. “This was one of biggest victories in presidential debates ever.”

Dr. Ben Carson, also a Trump booster, decried the state of political debates in this country.

“I think we should have debates where we talk about the future of our country,” said Carson, who unsuccessfully ran for the GOP nomination.

He called Trump’s comments about women “deplorable” but said that Trump has acknowledged that. He added that the media and debate planners were overly focused on such controversies rather than on policy issues like the national debt, the fiscal gap and American students’ competitiveness in the global economy.

“I disagree with the way debates are conducted in this country because they don’t disseminate enough information for people to make decisions,” Carson said.


Watch Trump and Clinton argue about Abraham Lincoln at the debate

Trump on Clinton’s Goldman speech explanation: ‘She lied.’

Nothing was off-limits during the second presidential debate, including the legacy of Abraham Lincoln.

The 16th president grabbed the spotlight when moderator Martha Raddatz asked Hillary Clinton a question from the audience.

“Is it OK for politicians to be two-faced? Is it OK for them to have a private stance?” Raddatz asked. The question was in reference to a speech that Clinton made at a Goldman Sachs conference in 2013, where she reportedly said that politicians “need both a public and a private position.” The comments were leaked on Friday as part of Wikileaks email dump.

Without mentioning the emails, Clinton said she was referring to Stephen Spielberg’s film, “Lincoln.” Clinton said the film was like “watching a master class to get the Congress to approve the 13th Amendment” by using different arguments to persuade different people.

“I was making the point that sometimes it is hard to get Congress to do what they should do.”

Trump seemed protective of Lincoln.

“She lied. Now she’s blaming the lie on the late, great Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe never lied.”

Lincoln has yet to comment from beyond the grave.


Note to Trump: The ‘inner city’ and African Americans are not synonymous

Trump responded to an audience question about being a president for all Americans by expounding on people living in “inner cities.”

“I would be a president for all of the people, African Americans, the inner cities,” he said. “Devastating what’s happening to our inner cities. “

“You go into the inner cities and — you see it’s 45% poverty. African Americans now 45% poverty in the inner cities. The education is a disaster. Jobs are essentially nonexistent,” he continued.

I would be a president for all of the people, African Americans, the inner cities.

— Donald Trump

Earlier in the debate, he had also responded to Clinton calling him unfit for president by bringing up inner cities.

“I’ve heard them where Hillary is constantly talking about the inner cities of our country, which are a disaster education-wise, job-wise, safety-wise, in every way possible,” Trump said. “I’m going to help the African Americans. I’m going to help the Latinos, Hispanics. I am going to help the inner cities.”

Some were quick to point out that “African American” and “inner city” are not synonymous.

Technically speaking, many “inner city” areas are among the wealthiest in the United States — including the ones Trump and the current president call home.


Write your own caption of this striking photo of Trump and Clinton on the debate stage


Trump stood a little awkwardly behind Clinton during the debate. People noticed.

Nothing goes unnoticed during the debates. Some unfortunate camera angles and Trump’s resting face while his opponent was speaking led a lot of people to point out that he looked a little ... strange.

The candidates had seats they could take while the other person was responding to questions, but apparently Trump preferred to stand.

Or maybe he’s just getting an early start on Halloween?


Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have very different visions for the Supreme Court

(John Locher / Associated Press)

Perhaps no single presidential decision is as consequential as choosing Supreme Court justices, and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump outlined divergent views on how they would approach the issue.

Clinton said she wants people “who understand the way the world really works, who have real-life experience.” She emphasized the need for justices to protect voting rights.

“I want a Supreme Court that will stick with Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose,” she said, “and I want a Supreme Court that will stick with marriage equality.”

Clinton also criticized Senate Republicans for refusing to allow President Obama to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left after the death of Antonin Scalia this year.

Trump held up Scalia, a conservative who opposed same-sex marriage and abortion, as a model justice.

He said he already had a list of 20 candidates “so that people would see, highly respected, highly thought of, and actually very beautifully reviewed by just about everybody.”

He also talked about protecting the right to own guns, which he described as being under siege by “people like Hillary.”

“They’ll respect the 2nd Amendment and what it stands for, what it represents,” he said. “So important to me.”


Fact check: The candidates on coal vs. natural gas

The coal industry is down, as both candidates have acknowledged, but that change can also be traced to market forces and the increase in natural gas production — the “tremendous wealth right under our feet” that Trump mentioned Sunday night at the debate.

Clinton noted that the increase in natural gas production serves as a transitional “bridge to more renewable fuels” but that coal country is in need of revitalization. Energy generated from natural gas has gained while power generated from coal has declined over the last decade; those two sources were almost equal in 2015.


Hillary Clinton criticizes Donald Trump’s proposal for a Muslim ban

(Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images)

Donald Trump said his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country has “morphed” into a plan for “extreme vetting” of refugees.

It’s a phrase he’s used before without formally renouncing his original proposal.

Trump said he was worried that refugees from country like Syria, which has been mired in civil war for years, could be a “Trojan horse.”

Hillary Clinton sharply criticized Trump and defended her plan to increase the number of refugees allowed into the United States.

“We are a country founded on religious freedom and liberty. How do we do what [Trump] has advocated without causing great distress within our country?” she said. “Are we going to have religious tests when people fly into our country?”


Final second debate scorecard: Hillary Clinton wins

The overall scores from each of our analysts merge on one opinion: Clinton won tonight’s debate. Read their reasons why.


Donald Trump has the sniffles again?

Donald Trump appeared to have the sniffles again during the second presidential debate.

One problem Donald Trump can’t seem to shake: The sniffles, or at least what sounds like them.

During the first presidential debate, the Republican candidate appeared to be sniffing a lot, and complained afterward that something was wrong with his microphone. In the second presidential debate, Trump was again plagued by consistent sniffing that was picked up by his microphone. Both #sniffles and #sniff were trending on Twitter during the debate.


Second debate scorecard: Clinton wins the final round

The results are in. Clinton won the third round of tonight’s debate, according to our analysts.


Will Hillary Clinton raise taxes ‘really high’ should she become president? Not quite.

Donald Trump’s murky finances and his refusal to make public his personal tax returns — breaking decades of tradition by presidential candidates — have dogged his campaign for months.

And the bombshell revelation that Trump reported a $916-million loss in 1995 that may have enabled him to pay no income taxes for 20 years has only intensified the pressure on the GOP nominee to shed light on his business ventures and explain the true nature of his finances and tax liabilities.

Trump did not dispute this Sunday, but he blamed it on Hillary Clinton.

“She complains that Donald Trump took advantage of the tax code — well why didn’t you change it when you were senator?” Trump said.

“The reason you don’t is that all your friends take the advantage that I do,” he said. “All of these people give you the money so you can take negative ads on Donald Trump.”

Trump’s tax plan promises to lower individual income tax rates to two brackets, 35% and 15%, and also bring down corporate rates.

But outside groups have said lowering rates would increase the federal deficit if they are not offset with spending cuts. They dispute Trump’s promise of massive economic growth that will cover costs.

Trump said Clinton would be “raising your taxes, really high.”

But Clinton’s proposed new taxes are largely on the wealthiest Americans — those who earn more than $250,000 a year, which are the top sliver of earners.

Clinton reminded that she voted in the Senate to close many of the loopholes Trump and other wealthy individuals use to lower their taxes.

And she said Trump’s tax plan would be a greater windfall for the wealthy and corporations than ordinary Americans. The new taxes she proposes include a surcharge on incomes above $5 million.

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Last question: ‘Can you name one positive thing you respect in one another?’

(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Here’s what they had to say:

Hillary Clinton:

“I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that and I think that’s something that as a mother and a grandmother that’s very important to me.

So I believe that this election has become in part so conflict-oriented, so intense, because there’s a lot at stake. This is not an ordinary time and this is not an ordinary election.

We are going to be choosing a president who will set policy for -- not just for eight years but because of some the important decisions we have to make here at home and around the world, from the Supreme Court to energy and so much else, and so there is a lot at stake. It’s one of the most consequential elections that we have and that’s why I’ve tried to put forth specific policies and plans. Trying to get it off the personal and put it on what I want to do as president.

And that’s why I hope people will check on that for themselves so they can see that yes, I’ve spent 30 years -- actually maybe a little more -- working to help kids and families, and I want to take all of that experience to the White House and do that every single day.”

Donald Trump:

“I consider that statement about my children to be a very nice compliment. I don’t know if it was meant to be a compliment but it is a great -- I’m very proud of my children. And they’ve done a wonderful job and they’ve been wonderful, wonderful kids. So I consider that a compliment

I will say this about Hillary: She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter. I disagree with much of what she’s fighting for, I do disagree with her judgment in many cases, but she does fight hard and she doesn’t quit and she doesn’t give up and I consider that to be a very good trait.”


Is Russia attempting to influence the election? The Obama administration says it is

Clinton claims Russia hacks are politically motivated; Trump disagrees

Hillary Clinton said the Russians are trying to influence the presidential election to get Donald Trump elected to the White House.

“We have never in the history of our country been in a situation [where] a foreign power is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election, and believe me, they’re not doing it to get me elected,” she said. “Maybe it’s because he praised [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.”
Trump responded by saying that he does not know Putin and that Clinton did not know who was breaching Democratic emails.

“She doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking,” Trump said.

The federal government on Friday officially accused the Kremlin of trying to influence the elections by hacking the emails of Democratic groups.

Earlier this year, Trump invited the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails. He later said he was being sarcastic.


Donald Trump lies at debate about his ‘sex tape’ tweet on former beauty queen

Donald Trump was asked during the debate about whether he has the right temperament to be president after he went on Twitter to inveigh against a former Miss Universe.

The Republican candidate denied he told people to look for a sex tape from the former beauty queen, a video that doesn’t seem to exist.

But he did say exactly that.

Pressed more about his controversial comments on Twitter, Trump defended himself.

“Tweeting happens to be a modern-day form of communication,” he said.

Trump added, “I’m not un-proud of it, to be honest with you.”


All eyes on Clinton accusers sitting in Trump section in debate hall

From left, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathy Shelton and a guest sit next to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's daughters-in-law Lara Trump and Vanessa Trump and daughter Tiffany Trump during the debate.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

In the audience with Donald Trump supporters and family members are the women he appeared with just before the debate who have accused either Bill or Hillary Clinton of doing them harm.

Juanita Broaddrick, Kathy Shelton and Kathleen Wiley came into the debate hall just before things began, led by former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. A stir went through the audience.

They were seated in front of a pair of Democratic congressmen, Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, both of Illinois, according to a pool report from journalists in the hall.

Giuliani told reporters he would watch the debate on television, “so I can understand it better.”

The nominee’s daughter Tiffany Trump sat in the same row as the women.

A short while later, Paula Jones joined the other accusers in the hall. There was some extended clapping from them when Trump said the former president has done much worse to women than he has.


Debate scorecard: Clinton wins the second round unanimously

Clinton won the second round too, according to our analysts.


There’s no evidence anyone saw bombs in the home of the San Bernardino shooters but Donald Trump keeps saying people did

Trump’s response to question on islamophobia by falsely claiming people saw bombs in the house of the San Bernardino shooters.

Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that “many” people saw bombs in the apartment of the San Bernardino terrorists, and he did so again tonight at the second presidential debate.

But there is no evidence that people saw explosives in the Redlands apartment of Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik.

Investigators did find a stash of weapons at the couple’s townhome – including thousands of rounds of ammunition and a dozen pipe bombs.

And a friend of a person who lived near Farook and Malik told local media that the friend spotted suspicious activity at the home – namely, that the couple received numerous packages at the home. But the friend apparently did not report it because he or she feared it would be seen as racial profiling.

The FBI has said it had not been watching Farook and Malik prior to the massacre and did not receive warnings they were dangerous.

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Donald Trump breaks with his running mate, Mike Pence, on Syria policy

Donald Trump disagrees with Mike Pence on Syria policy

During the vice presidential debate, Mike Pence’s refusal to defend some of Donald Trump’s positions and comments became an issue for the Republican ticket.

Then in Sunday’s presidential debate, Trump returned the favor by breaking with Pence over what the country’s policy should be toward the Syrian civil war.

Pence had suggested there may be a need for U.S. military strikes in the Middle Eastern country.

“He and I haven’t spoken and we don’t agree,” Trump said.

The distance between Trump and Pence didn’t go unnoticed by commentators.


Trump says he opposed Iraq war from the start. He did not.

Donald Trump claims he was against the war in Iraq.

Donald Trump stated falsely in Sunday night’s debate that he opposed the Iraq war from the start. He supported it.

Months before the 2003 U.S. invasion, Trump told shock-jock Howard Stern that he supported the invasion.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded, when asked in September 2002 whether he supported invading Iraq. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

Trump has stated that he said privately to Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, one of his most staunch supporters, that he opposed the war, but produced no evidence of that.

Trump has also said that he was among the first and chief critics of the war, another claim that is not substantiated. The public record shows that he grew increasingly critical of the war as it unfolded, as did broader public opinion.


No, ICE, a federal agency, has not endorsed Trump

Fact Check: Donald Trump falsely claims he was endorsed by ICE

Donald Trump, as he did in the first debate, said that he had won the endorsement of ICE -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Here’s the fact-check we did the first time around:

That’s not true. A government agency would not endorse a presidential candidate.

Trump is probably referring to the endorsement of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, a union representing 5,000 immigration officers. His campaign announced the backing Monday morning, noting it was the first time the group had endorsed a presidential candidate.

Chris Crane, president of the union, said in a statement released by Trump’s campaign that Hillary Clinton won only 5% of the vote of union members.

Another union representing border agents, the National Border Patrol Council, also endorsed Trump in March -- a decision not without controversy, as Richard Marosi reported.


Emails remain a political migraine for Hillary Clinton —  and Trump pounces on them in the debate

No issue has dogged Hillary Clinton’s campaign more than her decision to use a private email server while she was secretary of State, and Donald Trump tried to maximize the political pain with sharp sparring Sunday.

Clinton sought to quickly dispatch with the email question by apologizing for using the server, but insisting that the nation’s security was not breached by the misstep.

“It was a mistake, and I take responsibility,” Clinton said. “I am very committed to taking classified information seriously. And as I said there is no evidence that any classified information ended up in the wrong hands.”

Trump would not let that go without rebuttal: “And yet, she didn’t know the letter ‘C’ on a document?” he said about the identifying key for confidential information.

“She’s lying,” he said.

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In defense to his recorded comments about women, Trump raises allegations against Bill Clinton early in debate

(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Donald Trump defended the vulgar comments he made about women by turning attention to Bill Clinton’s sexual history and Hillary Clinton’s work as a young attorney.

“Bill Clinton’s abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women, and attacked them viciously,” Trump said. “Four of them are here tonight.”

Seated in the audience were three women who accused Bill Clinton of rape or unwanted sexual advances — Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones.

The former president was never charged with wrongdoing, though he did settle a sexual harassment suit by Jones for $850,000.

Trump also pointed out Kathy Shelton in the audience. She was allegedly raped as a child; a judge ordered Clinton to defend the accused attacker in the courtroom, and the charges against him were reduced.

Trump also mentioned Bill Clinton’s impeachment over his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Hillary Clinton denied the veracity of Trump’s claims, and said she would follow the advice of First Lady Michelle Obama.

“When they go low, you go high,” Clinton said, before noting that questions about Trump’s temperament existed long before the public emergence of a video that showed the GOP presidential nominee talk about trying to sleep with a married woman, using crass language to describe women’s anatomy, and saying he could get away with making advances on women because of his fame.

Here’s a look at the four women who Trump appeared with before the debate, and who he brought to the debate.

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Hillary Clinton did not spread a lie that President Obama was born in Africa

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, left, and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
(Jim Bourg / Associated Press)

Donald Trump alleged in Sunday night’s debate that Hillary Clinton and her longtime advisor Sidney Blumenthal were responsible for spreading the lie that Obama was born in Africa — but it was Trump who spread the fictional story for years.

It was also Trump, not Clinton, who falsely accused Obama of producing a fake birth certificate showing he was born in the United States and taunted him for years, demanding release of the president’s college records to see the place of birth listed on the application.

An Iowa volunteer in Clinton’s 2008 campaign against Obama in the Democratic presidential primaries was fired for sending out an email perpetuating the so-called birther tale, said Patti Solis Doyle, who managed Clinton’s 2008 campaign.

Jim Asher, a former investigative editor at the McClatchy newspaper chain, has alleged that Blumenthal told him that Obama was born in Kenya, but produced no evidence.

Contemporaneous emails show Blumenthal promoting potential story lines in 2008 about Obama and his Kenyan-born father, but nothing that questioned the president’s Hawaii birthplace.


Debate scorecard: Clinton won the first round

Clinton won the first round of the debate, our analysts argue.


No, Bill Clinton didn’t ‘torch’ Obamacare. Here’s what he was really talking about

Hillary Clinton addresses her husband’s recent Obamacare comments

Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed over the past week that Bill Clinton “torched” the Affordable Care Act when the former president brought up the health law during a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton in Michigan on Monday.

Trump was asked about his comments again again during Sunday’s debate.

His claims are, at best, misleading. The former president did note that some people are still struggling to afford healthcare, despite the 2010 law, often called Obamacare.

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David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, said Michelle never made a Clinton attack ad

In one of numerous tense exchanges so far in the debate, Hillary Clinton referenced Michelle Obama’s advice: “When they go low, we go high.”

She then said Trump has “never apologized” for attacks against the Khan family, whose son was killed in Iraq, or a Mexican American judge, among others.

Trump responded by claiming that Michelle Obama had participated in attack commercials and said terrible things about Clinton. “Go back and look at those,” he said.

David Axelrod, Obama’s chief campaign strategist, quickly reacted on Twitter.


Obamacare is actually not a disaster and California proves it

From Levey’s Oct. 7 article:

Even as turmoil in insurance markets nationwide fuels renewed election-year attacks on the Affordable Care Act, California is emerging as a clear illustration of what the law can achieve.

The state has recorded some of the nation’s most dramatic gains in health coverage since 2013 while building a competitive insurance marketplace that offers consumers enhanced protections from high medical bills.

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Donald Trump promises, if elected, to appoint prosecutor to target Hillary Clinton: ‘You would be in jail’

(John Locher / Associated Press)

Donald Trump ramped up his attack on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during Sunday’s debate, promising to appoint a special prosecutor to examine the issue if he’s elected.

Clinton responded by saying she was glad Trump wasn’t in charge of the country’s judicial system.

“You’d be in jail,” Trump shot back.


Heathcare costs are not rising by ‘astronomical’ amounts under Obamacare

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks while Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes notes.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks while Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes notes.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that the Affordable Care Act is a disaster, and did so again Sunday, noting that Americans’ monthly insurance premiums are rising by “astronomical” amounts.

“Your health insurance, your healthcare, going up by numbers that are astronomical — 68%, 59%, 71%,” he said.

This is a major exaggeration.

The health law has not controlled healthcare costs as much as its champions and many experts had hoped.

And insurers selling health plans on state marketplaces created by the law are indeed seeking some large premium increases in 2017, citing higher-than-expected costs to cover patients’ medical claims.

But this misses a much larger part of the Obamacare story.

Read More


Trump on the lewd talk in tape: ‘This is locker room talk ... We will defeat ISIS’

This is locker room talk. When you have ISIS, wars. Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. We will defeat ISIS.

— Donald Trump


How Donald Trump responded to repeated questions about the 2005 tape at the debate

Donald Trump dismisses the ‘Access Hollywood’ video as ’locker room talk.’ More coverage:

Anderson Cooper repeatedly asked Donald Trump about a 2005 tape in which the Republican candidate bragged he could kiss and grope women without their consent because he was a celebrity.

Trump repeated his apology but downplayed the seriousness of his comments.

“This was locker-room talk,” he said.

Trump tried to shift his answer to talking about how he would fight terrorism, but Cooper pressed him further, asking Trump if he ever treated women like he talked about on the tape.

“I have great respect for women,” he said as there was quiet laughter in the debate hall. “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”

Trump then denied having touched or kissed women without their consent.


There was no handshake to start the second presidential debate

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton greet each other to begin the second debate

With tension in the presidential race reaching new heights, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took the stage on Sunday night without the customary handshake.

Shortly before the debate started, Trump rehashed previous sexual misconduct allegations against Hillary’s husband, Bill.

Things were more cordial between Bill and members of Trump’s family.


Trump campaign puts Clinton accusers at the front of the debate hall

Shortly after Donald Trump appeared alongside women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct, the women entered the debate hall to watch Trump face off with Hillary Clinton.


Trump prepares an act of utter incivility — throwing Bill Clinton’s actions in Hillary Clinton’s face

(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

As the second presidential debate approached, Donald Trump eschewed preparation. Instead he sat down for a Facebook Live chat Sunday evening with three women who allege that Bill Clinton took sexual advantage of them long ago and one angry about Hillary Clinton’s legal representation of a man accused of raping her 40 years ago.

At least now there’s an answer to whether there’s any strategy underlying the last month of the Trump campaign.

There is not.

Trump — who not only did a Facebook chat with the women but invited them as guests to the debate, according to NBC News —has two overriding imperatives in the debate.

The first is to demonstrate contrition for the vile words and intimations of sexual assault that marked a 2005 video of him that was made public Friday. The second is to demonstrate that he has the temperament to serve as president.

Neither of those demands are fulfilled by the stunt he pulled before the debate and seems primed to repeat during it.

If there were strategy behind his actions, instead of just personal pique, Trump might be looking at the only voters who matter tonight: a swath of women across the Midwestern states who usually vote Republican but have held off backing Trump.

They have held off backing Trump because of his tone, according to dozens of interviews and multiple polls. So his actions on Sunday serve no political purpose.

To recap the last week or so for the candidate when it comes to women: He mocked a former Miss Universe for her weight. And he’s sought to publicly humiliate a former secretary of State and first lady over her husband’s indiscretions.

There are no statistical models to confirm this, but one might guess that the group of women in the Midwestern states who either worry about their weight or don’t want to take the fall for their husbands’ actions is quite large.

It would defy political and town-hall history for this not to splash back in a big way on Trump, who after a campaign spent insulting women has little to no credibility on the topic.

Perhaps he hopes that Clinton will dissolve onstage tonight and prove herself unworthy. The odds of that are not high.

Clinton, a steely character who never broke down in public while her husband was being impeached for lying about his cheating, has arrived at the 2016 debates with preparation and planning. All logic suggests that one of the first elements in her debate prep was planning a response to any questions about her husband’s behavior.

Town-hall formats are notorious for their audiences’ desires to keep things civil. What Trump appears poised to do Sunday night is the height of incivility, a fitting coda for a candidate whose candidacy is under dire threat not so much because of Clinton but because of himself.


We’re scoring the town hall presidential debate. Follow along.


Transcript: Trump with women accusing Bill and Hillary Clinton of wrongdoing

Hours before the second presidential debate, Donald Trump brought four women before reporters, including three who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct. Here is a transcript of the proceeding:

DONALD TRUMP: “Thank you very much for coming, and these four very courageous women have asked to be here and it was our honor to help them. And I think they’re each going to make just an individual short statement and then we will, we’re going to have a little meeting and then we’ll see you at the debate. Perhaps we’ll start with Paula.”

PAULA JONES: “I’m here to support Mr. Trump because he’s going to make America great again. And I think everybody else should vote for him. And I think they should all look at the fact that he’s a good person. He’s not what other people have been saying he’s been, like Hillary. So, think about that.”

TRUMP: “Kathy Shelton.”

KATHY SHELTON*: “So I’m also here to support Trump. I, at 12 years old, Hillary put me through something that you would never put a 12 year old through. And she says she’s for women and children. And she was asked last year on what happened and she says she’s supposed to defend whether they did it or not and now she’s laughing on tape saying she know they did it.”

TRUMP: “You went through a lot.”

SHELTON: “Yes, sir. I did.”


JUANITA BROADDRICK: “Hi. I’m Juanita Broaddrick. And I’m here to support Donald Trump. I tweeted recently — and Mr. Trump retweeted it — that actions speak louder than words. Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me and Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don’t think there’s any comparison.”

KATHLEEN WILLEY: “I’m Kathleen Willey and I am here to support Donald Trump. The reason for that is the first day that he announced for president he said I love this country and I want America to be great again. And I cried when he said that because I think that this is the greatest country in the world. I think that we can do anything. I think we can accomplish anything. I think we can bring peace to this world, and I think Donald Trump can lead us to that point.”

TRUMP: “Thank you very much. OK. Thank you all very much. We appreciate it.”

REPORTERS: “Mr. Trump you touched women without consent. Mr. Trump, why did you say you touched women without consent, Mr. Trump?”

PAULA JONES: “Why don’t you all ask Bill Clinton that? Why don’t you all go ask Bill Clinton that. Go ahead and ask Hillary, as well.”

*Hillary Clinton once represented a man charged with raping Shelton when she was 12. Clinton did not volunteer to take the case.


Watch it again: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debate for the second time


Clinton campaign says Trump’s pre-debate ‘stunt’ is a ‘destructive race to the bottom’

The Clinton campaign called Donald Trump’s pre-debate gathering with Bill Clinton accusers a “stunt” that will not throw the former secretary of State off her game.

“We’re not surprised to see Donald Trump continue his destructive race to the bottom,” campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri said in a statement. “Hillary Clinton understands the opportunity in this town hall is to talk to voters on stage and in the audience about the issues that matter to them, and this stunt doesn’t change that.”

Clinton, Palmieri added, is “prepared to handle whatever Donald Trump throws her way.”

On Twitter, Clinton’s social media director pointed to a cutting line from First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

One campaign official at the debate site reacted with visible frustration, lamenting that whatever baseline threshold for decency in public discourse existed before may have been discarded tonight.


Waiting for the debate to start? Play the race to 270 votes

You, too, can make your own electoral map.

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Hours before debate, Donald Trump appears with Bill Clinton’s accusers

With less than two hours until the second presidential debate, Donald Trump appeared before reporters with women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct in decades past.

One by one, the women defended Trump, denounced Clinton and criticized Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent.

“Mr. Trump may have said some bad words,” said Juanita Broaddrick. “But Bill Clinton raped me. And Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don’t think there’s any comparison.”

Broaddrick has previously said Clinton raped her in 1978, an accusation was never adjudicated and did not emerge publicly until 21 years later.

The statement that Hillary “threatened” her is a reference to a conversation the two had shortly after the encounter she has said she had with Bill. At a political event, Hillary Clinton thanked Broaddrick, who had volunteered for Bill Clinton’s campaign for Arkansas governor. Broaddrick has said she felt Hillary was thanking her for not exposing Bill. Clinton has said she doesn’t remember the conversation.

It quickly became apparent that Trump’s media event, no more than a few minutes long, was designed to help draw attention from his own flailing campaign after dozens of Republicans rescinded their support of him over a 2005 video in which he talks about taking advantage of his celebrity to grope women.

Trump has repeatedly pointed to allegations against Bill Clinton as his own history with women has been scrutinized during the campaign.

When the event ended, a reporter shouted at Trump, “Why did you say you touch women without their consent?”

He didn’t respond, but Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee who accused Bill Clinton of sexually harassing her in 1991, replied, “Why don’t you go ask Bill Clinton that? Ask Hillary as well.”

Jones’ lawsuit against Clinton was settled for $850,000 without any admission of wrongdoing.

Kathleen Willey, who accused Clinton of groping her in the White House in 1993, was also with Trump.

Also next to Trump was Kathy Shelton. Hillary Clinton, in her work as a defense lawyer, represented a man charged with raping Shelton when she was 12.

“Hillary put me through something you would never put a 12-year-old through,” Shelton said.

Clinton did not volunteer to take the case, which resulted in a plea bargain.

“You went through a lot,” Trump replied.

“Yes, sir, I did,” she said.

Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri issued a statement saying, “We’re not surprised to see Donald Trump continue his destructive race to the bottom.”

Palmieri added, “As always, [Clinton is] prepared to handle whatever Donald Trump throws her way.”


Hillary Clinton has wide advertising lead as candidates flood airwaves

(Dominick Reuter / AFP / Getty)

As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been preparing for their second debate, voters in swing states have been seeing a lot of them on their television screens.

The candidates and their allies have spent $240 million on television advertising, according to the most recent data from Advertising Analytics.

The bulk of that money — $189 million — has come from Clinton’s campaign and groups supporting her.

That’s given her a big advantage on the airwaves in battleground states like Florida and Ohio. Priorities USA, one of the super PACs supporting Clinton, has been pushing two videos in particular, one hitting Trump for his mockery of a disabled reporter and the other for saying it was “smart” to avoid paying taxes.

The campaign also released this new advertisement talking about working on behalf of children.

Trump and his allies have spent $50 million. The candidate’s committee released this video detailing some of his proposals.

A super PAC called Make America Number 1 has also been running an advertisement criticizing Clinton’s foreign policy experience.


Watch Trump’s pre-debate appearance with four Clinton accusers


How the audience was chosen for the town-hall-style debate between Clinton and Trump

(Joe Raedle / AFP-Getty Images)

Getting into the audience at the presidential debate – and earning the chance to ask the candidates a question – isn’t as simple as buying a ticket.

The Commission on Presidential Debates worked with Gallup, a research and polling company, to randomly select uncommitted registered voters from the area around St. Louis, where the debate is being held.

Uncommitted voters include people who have not made up their minds, or are leaning toward one nominee but could still be persuaded to vote for the other.

It’s unclear how members of the audience will be selected to ask questions. Representatives from CNN and ABC, which are teaming up to moderate the debate, referred questions to the commission, which did not respond to an inquiry.

In 2012, Gallup used voters who were completely undecided, not leaning one way or the other. That group makes up a tiny slice of the 2016 electorate, about 3%, making them pretty unrepresentative of the country as a whole, noted Mark Blumenthal, head of SurveyMonkey’s election polling.

They’re also, as a group, very unfavorable toward both Trump and Clinton, and they don’t like negative campaigning.


Presidential debate enters digital age with online questions

Setting up the stage for Sunday's debate.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

When Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off during Sunday’s town-hall-style debate, it won’t just be audience members lobbing questions at them. For the first time, moderators can also relay ideas submitted online through the Open Debate Coalition, a nonpartisan group working to make debates more accessible.

“We’re really thrilled,” said Lilia Dixon, the coalition’s director. “We have such a wide variety of questions from all over the ideological spectrum.”

Fourteen thousand questions were submitted in a forum online, where 3 million votes were cast to choose the favorites. The most popular were questions about gun control, but from opposite ideological perspectives – one asking the candidates how they would close gaps in the background check system, the other asking how they would protect citizens’ ability to protect themselves.

The debate moderators, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz, can choose some of the top online questions to ask the candidates, or use them to inform their own ideas, Dixon said.

Some celebrities, like Clinton supporter Russell Simmons, have already tried to drum up interest in certain questions on social media.


Tonight’s debate is now an even bigger test for Trump amid GOP division over leaked recording

Workers put the finishing touches on the debate stage at Washington University in Saint Louis.
(Jim Scalzo/EPA)

After nearly two weeks of turmoil that pushed his party toward mutiny, Donald Trump hoped to right his faltering campaign and end the exodus of Republican supporters with a steady and reassuring performance in tonight’s second presidential debate.

Before an audience certain to be in the tens of millions, the GOP nominee was to face his first public grilling over a 2005 video in which he crudely boasted of sexually mauling women and getting away with tawdry behavior because of his celebrity.

The opportunity to directly confront his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, for one of the last times in the campaign was also a chance for Trump to signal his approach to the final month of the contest and the degree to which he would mix confrontation with at least some amount of contrition.

With more than two dozen Republican lawmakers and other party leaders rescinding their support since the video surfaced Friday — and the odds against him winning the White House growing steeper — Trump faced a political crisis unlike any candidate has faced in modern times.

In the hours before the debate, it was unclear which direction Trump would choose.

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Billy Bush, embroiled in Trump tape scandal, is asked to take a break from ‘Today’ show

“Today” co-anchor Billy Bush has been asked to take a break in light of his role in the leaked recording of his lewd conversation with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

An NBC News spokesperson confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Bush would not be at work Monday for the NBC show’s 9 a.m. hour. The decision comes after a weekend in which audio of him exchanging sexist remarks with Trump ran in heavy rotation on cable news.

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Trump’s crude bragging shows he’s ‘insecure,’ Obama says

President Obama cast Donald Trump’s vulgar “hot mic” comments about women as further evidence of the insecurity he has displayed throughout the campaign.

The president, speaking at a campaign event Sunday in Chicago for Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth, did not specifically cite Trump’s recorded remarks, which came to light in a 2005 video that surfaced Friday.

“I don’t need to repeat it. There are children in the room,” he said.

He called the rhetoric from Trump, who has demeaned women, minorities, immigrants, Muslims and the disabled, “one of the most disturbing things about this election.”

“It tells you that he’s insecure enough that he pumps himself up by putting other people down — not a character trait that I would advise for somebody in the Oval Office,” Obama said.

“It tells you that he doesn’t care much about the basic values we try to impart to our kids. It tells you he’d be careless with the civility and the respect that a real vibrant democracy requires.”

Obama also tried to draw a contrast between Trump and Duckworth, an Illinois congresswoman born in Thailand who lost both of her legs serving in the Iraq war as an Army reservist.

Duckworth is challenging Republican Sen. Mark Kirk for the seat Obama once held. Kirk has been one of the most vocal anti-Trump Republicans.

But electing both Hillary Clinton and Duckworth, Obama said, would “send a message to our kids about who we are, we’re going to reaffirm what this country is all about.”


Speculation mounts about unaired ‘Apprentice’ video of Trump

(Ric Francis / Associated Press)

After a recording of Donald Trump making vulgar remarks about women roiled the presidential race, speculation is mounting about the contents of unaired footage from the 11 years the GOP nominee hosted “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

The questions spiked after a former producer of the “The Apprentice” tweeted that there was more damaging recordings of Trump than the 2005 recording that contained his talking about trying to sleep with a married woman and using crass terms for women’s anatomy.

It’s unclear who owns the unaired footage, and it is known that all who worked on the show signed nondisclosure agreements.

That puts a spotlight on Mark Burnett, the creator of the show and a Trump supporter. He has not spoken publicly about the matter. An attempt to reach him through his agent was unsuccessful Sunday.

Chris Nee, the creator of “Doc McStuffins,” previously worked on a Burnett show and tweeted that the contract stipulates that the fine for leaking such a video is $5 million.

The leader of a network of Hillary Clinton supporters responded by saying he would pay the legal fees if someone leaked the footage.

“If a $5 million ‘leak fee’ is what stands between truth and total Trump implosion, sign me up,” David Brock told BuzzFeed News.

The Associated Press already has written about Trump’s making boorish and sexist comments about women on the set of the show, based on interviews with contestants and employees.


Back to St. Louis? The city has hosted more debates than any other

(Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty)

For people who have been watching presidential debates for a long time, it may feel like the action keeps returning to one city: St. Louis.

It’s not their imagination. St. Louis has hosted more debates than any other city.

Sunday night’s showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be the city’s fourth presidential face-off, all of them hosted at Washington University. The school also held a vice presidential debate in 2008.

Last year, Philip Bump at the Washington Post said enough was enough and he urged the Commission on Presidential Debates to spread the love by considering other locations.


Trump and his campaign’s record of controversy involving women: A brief history

(Tom Pennington / Getty Images))

Donald Trump’s 2005 lewd and predatory comments about women, uncovered Friday with the release of old “Access Hollywood” video, was the latest instance of questionable treatment of women by Trump since he began running for president in June 2015.

Trump in turn is historically unpopular with female voters. A recent Pew Research Center report found that he polled at 35% support among women.

Here’s a timeline of controversies regarding women since the launch of Trump’s campaign.

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Mike Pence is caught between Donald Trump’s political future and his own

Gov. Mike Pence struggled uncomfortably this summer when he was forced to address Donald Trump’s maligning of a Mexican American judge from Indiana, Pence’s home state.

“If I wanted to comment on everything that’s said in the presidential campaigns, I would have run for president,” Pence said after giving Trump a brief rebuke for his remarks about federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was presiding over lawsuits filed against the defunct Trump University real estate program. “I’m focused on the state of Indiana.”

Pence relinquished the luxury of avoiding Trump’s controversies five weeks later when he signed on as Trump’s running mate, taking on a life of comparing Trump to Ronald Reagan and waxing about the strength of his broad shoulders. Others had made it clear that they could not or would not take the job.

Pence’s competing impulses — to remain aloof from Trump’s controversies and to defend him vigorously — are now colliding.

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Trump’s grass-roots supporters line up to defend him, accuse political elite of exploiting the controversy

At a GOP fundraiser in this picturesque swath of southeastern Wisconsin, Donald Trump was supposed to join the state’s popular congressman, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, for their first joint campaign event Saturday.

But Ryan, the nation’s highest-ranking Republican who has struggled to embrace Trump’s candidacy, rescinded the invitation after a recording emerged of the GOP presidential nominee making vulgar comments about groping women.

When Ryan took the stage to speak Saturday, shock and anger over the incident was still palpable. But to Ryan’s disappointment, it was mostly directed at him.

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Has Donald Trump broken the news media?

Never before has a presidential candidate been caught in a situation so obscene that members of the news media found themselves struggling with and breaking their own rules to cover it.

The “hot mic” tape of Donald Trump released Friday by the Washington Post revealed a disturbing conversation between Trump and former “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush. After telling Bush about a married women he wanted to, in the crudest terms, have sex with, Trump then bragged about his predatory pursuit of “beautiful women”: “I just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. … Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Hours after the video went live, CNN’s political commentator and Republican strategist Ana Navarro illustrated just how worn out many pundits have become during a campaign that’s tested the traditional boundaries of an election-year media.

Repeating the language Trump used on the tape, Navarro fumed at other pundits, insisting that Republicans should be made to answer for behavior from a man “who’s consistently disgusted” her. Panelist Scottie Nell Hughes, a right-wing journalist, angrily asked Navarro to stop using one word “because my daughter is watching.” Navarro exploded back at her: “Don’t tell me to stop saying ... but you’re not offended when Donald Trump says it!”

Read More


You can’t prepare for an ‘unhinged’ opponent, so Hillary Clinton aims to stay positive

(Andrew Harnik / AP)

How do you prepare for the unpredictable? That’s the crux of Hillary Clinton’s debate dilemma, but one the campaign seems to be somewhat at peace with.

“We understand this is uncharted territory to face an opponent that is [in] the grips of a downward spiral,” campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters traveling with the Democratic nominee to St. Louis. “She has a lot of experience. She is very tough. She will be prepared to handle whatever comes [her] way, but we find it hard to predict what that might be.”

Rather than focus on what Trump may do, Palmieri said Clinton was prepared to take advantage of the opportunity to communicate her message unfiltered to a mass television audience

“I know there is a lot of interest in what she is going to have to say about his comments from 2005. She will be ready to do that,” she said, referring to the hot mic moment that has sent Republicans into a state of panic over Donald Trump’s candidacy.

“Our take is, a lot of voters have decided that [because of] the last 48 hours, that they cannot support him. And there is an opportunity there. She has the chance to speak directly to a lot of voters who are newly open to her. She wants to make a strong case to them on both the economy and national security.”

Asked about the possibility, telegraphed by top Trump allies and the candidate himself, that he might raise former President Bill Clinton’s own history of infidelity and accusations of sexual assault against him, Palmieri said it was up to Trump to decide how to spend his time.

“I am not sure that is what voters will want to hear about,” she said.

Palmieri also said other Republican leaders who have now sought to distance themselves from their party’s standard-bearer “have a lot to answer for” to the public, saying they “legitimized” his candidacy and “propped him [up] in important times.”

“They are running away from him now, but there is plenty of reason to believe ahead of this 2005 audio tape that he was not qualified to be president,” she said.


Trump departs for St. Louis debate with snapshot of GOP unity, but leaves press pool behind again

Republicans tried to portray a unified front Sunday as Donald Trump left the isolation of Trump Tower en route to the debate in St. Louis, surrounded by top GOP officials and his team.

But it was hard to independently assess the show of unity amid the fal