John Kasich is sick of ‘crazy’ rhetoric from GOP challengers

Welcome to Trail Guide, your daily host through the wilds of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's Tuesday, Oct. 27, and this is what we're watching:

Donald Trump, humble?

Unseated as the front-runner in Iowa polls, a kinder, humbler Donald Trump emerged Tuesday evening at a rally in Sioux City, Iowa, where the billionaire businessman practically begged voters for support.

“Iowa, will you get your numbers up, please?” Trump urged the crowd of nearly 2,400. “I promise you I will do such a good job.”

It was Trump's first appearance in the early-voting state since a series of polls that show the Republican presidential contender now running second behind Ben Carson, the soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon.

The usually bombastic Trump sounded a gentler tone in addressing his fall in the Iowa polls, joking with supporters that he wouldn't take them to task for the drop. “This is ridiculous,” he said. “I mean, what is my competition, in all fairness?”

“I mean, I am second,” he added. “It's not, like, terrible. But I don't like being second. Second is terrible to me.”

-- Associated Press

On 'Late Show,' Hillary Clinton dodges question about ... pizza



Hillary Rodham Clinton grew up in Chicago and has lived in New York for more than a decade, but she will not answer a simple question: Which city has better pizza?

"I'm not going to tell a soul publicly," she said Tuesday night on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”

It was a lighthearted moment for Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, who also discussed Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson with Colbert, as well as her favorite television shows.

When asked whether she'd rather run against Trump, a billionaire businessman, or Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has surged to the top of the field of GOP hopefuls in Iowa, Clinton demurred.

“I'm going to leave that to the Republicans," she said. "If I say one or the other it might influence some people and I don't want to have any influence on it.”

Colbert, who became host of the “Late Show” in September, has interviewed several White House hopefuls, including Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Clinton turned 68 on Monday and said that she spent the day with her husband, former President Clinton, and that the two binge-watched television.

"Bill and I watched bad TV, a little binge watching here and there,” she said, noting that they finished “House of Cards” and that her favorite shows include “Madam Secretary” and “The Good Wife" (both famously based on, or inspired by, aspects of her life).

As the two discussed the economy, Clinton began to tout a populist message of making it work for America’s families. Colbert noted it’s a standard line also used by her chief opponent for the party’s nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“We've got to get back to putting the middle class at the center of our politics,” she said, without mentioning Sanders’ name.

In on the joke, or not?

Christie on the bubble for November debate

 (Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

For some Republican candidates, the key question about debates isn't "did I win?" but "do I qualify?"

Right now, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the candidate most likely to be asking.

Christie will be on the stage Wednesday for the third GOP debate, but as polls stand now, he would not qualify for the fourth debate, scheduled for Nov. 10 in Milwaukee.

According to the criteria announced today by Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal, which are scheduled to host the debate, a candidate must receive an average of 2.5% support in the four most recent recognized polls as of Nov. 4 in order to qualify for the event. Currently, Christie's average support is barely half that.

Luckily for the governor, new polls are almost certain to be published before the cutoff date.

If Christie doesn't qualify, he would fall into the preliminary debate, which currently would feature Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania doesn't currently meet the test for the undercard matchup and, like Christie, will be dependent on the next round of polls.

Clinton to air new TV ads during GOP presidential debate

Hillary Rodham Clinton is set to unveil several new television ads in Iowa and New Hampshire on Wednesday night as Republican presidential candidates take the stage for their third debate.

The ads, narrated by Clinton, all center on similar themes hammered home by her campaign: equal pay for woman and uplifting the middle class.

In recent weeks, Clinton's campaign has had a boost of energy. A strong debate performance, coupled with Vice President Joe Biden's decision not to enter the Democratic primary and a self-assured appearance before a House committee, have made Clinton the strong front-runner for the party's nomination.

Read more about Clinton's campaign from The Times' Evan Halper and Michael A. Memoli.

Read more

Ahead of debate, John Kasich indicates his rivals are crazy

 (Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

(Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is sick of his fellow Republican challengers -- seriously.

“Do you know how crazy this election is? Let me tell you something, I’ve about had it with these people,” he told supporters at an Ohio rally Tuesday, according to a transcript provided by NBC News.

Kasich, who is viewed as a moderate in the crowded GOP presidential field, noted that retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson wants to end Medicaid and Medicare.

“You ever heard of anything so crazy as that, telling our, our people in this country who are seniors or about to be seniors that we’re gonna abolish Medicaid and Medicare?” Kasich said of Carson, who is leading in several recent polls in Iowa, the first nominating state of the 2016 election.

He then shifted his focus to Donald Trump, whose immigration proposal has galvanized his supporters but drawn scrutiny among immigrant-rights groups for, among other proposals, his plan to deport all of the 11 million or so people in the U.S. illegally.

“We got one guy who says we ought to take 10 or 11 million people and pick them up. … We’re gonna go into their homes, their apartments,” he said. “We’re gonna pick them up and we’re gonna take them to the border and scream at them to get out of our country. Well, that’s just crazy.”

Kasich has not been immune to controversial comments himself. While at a Southern California reception last month, while praising Latinos, he also talked about rewarding them but referred only to tipping hotel maids.

During Kasich’s rally Tuesday in Ohio, he questioned the direction his party is going, particularly as candidates move to the right to appeal to core voters who turn out for the party’s primaries.

“What has happened to the conservative movement?” he wondered.

Trump's changing view on polls

The thing with these polls, they're all so different. One guy is up here, somebody else is up there, you see swings of 10 and 12 points and, immediately, even the same day. So right now it's not very scientific.
Donald Trump, who loves to cite his own poll numbers, is newly cautious about what they mean as he slips behind fellow Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson in some of them

Study up before the Republican debate

Donald Trump, left, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Donald Trump, left, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Just who are the people running for president -- and how can they win? Donald Trump is certainly the most famous name and has gotten plenty of headlines, but on the Republican side alone, the 14 others vying for the party's nomination range from conservative to more moderate, and similarly run the gamut of GOP positions in issues including immigration, healthcare and the economy (the stated topic of Wednesday's debate). Bone up on who they are -- and their possible paths to victory -- with this Times graphic:

Read more

The teacher lobby backing Clinton that's not a union

Two teachers who are aiming to influence education policy want Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton to hear from voices outside the unions and school reform movement.

Naveed Amalfard and Luke Villalobos started a political action committee, America's Teachers, aimed at uniting Democrats without furthering the divide on the education issues that split the party. The Times' Joy Resmovits caught up last week with Amalfard and Villalobos, who explained their strategy.

Read more

Will being down in some polls change how Donald Trump debates?

 (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

When Republican presidential candidates gather for their third debate on Wednesday, Donald Trump will once again stand at center stage as the front-runner, but for the first time, he won't be leading everywhere.

Ben Carson leads Trump in recent polls of Iowa voters. How Trump, who wields "loser" as a chief epithet, handles that could be pivotal for his campaign, which has dominated the race since he entered in June.

Polls show an increasing number of GOP voters viewing Trump as a plausible -- even likely -- nominee, but also deep reservations about what that would mean.

Read more