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Campaign 2016 updates: Hillary Clinton campaign warchest still bests Donald Trump

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Donald Trump rallies supporters in North Carolina, and Hillary Clinton tells voters to “get off the sidelines.”

Democrats keep cash advantage in presidential race

Hillary Clinton maintained her fundraising edge over Donald Trump in August, according to new disclosure reports, finishing the month with $68.4 million in the bank.

Trump had $50.2 million.

Clinton also spent much more money, dropping $50 million. Roughly two-thirds of that went to advertising.

Trump trailed in spending, but he’s clearly loosening the purse strings.

He spent $30 million last month, up from $18.5 million in July and $7.8 million in June.

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Tom Steyer puts more money into voter turnout machine

(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Tom Steyer—the San Francisco billionaire, political donor and environmental advocate—said Tuesday he would put $20 million of his own money behind a campaign to mobilize 2 million voters in eight swing states to boost support for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The overall effort, which includes partnerships with labor groups, is expected to cost $55 million, Steyer told Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC.

He said they’ll be focusing on “economic justice, environmental justice, racial justice and good schools” and targeting 200 college campuses.

The contribution will go to the For Our Future super PAC, which aims to blunt Republican Donald Trump’s advance in battleground states. Steyer added $15 million to his previous pledge of $5 million.

He described his effort as different than that of Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who is pouring even more money into a super PAC to help his party’s candidates.

“You are not going to change someone’s opinion about their relationship with their government and their society in a 15-second TV ad,” Steyer said.

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How to relax ahead of the big debate?

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Donald Trump says it’s worse than ‘ever, ever, ever’ for black people in the United States

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Donald Trump made an eye-popping claim on Tuesday when asking black voters to support him for president.

“Our African American communities are absolutely in the worse shape they’ve ever been in before,” he said during a North Carolina rally. “Ever, ever, ever.”

The statement overlooked the fact that slavery was legal for nearly a century after the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

President Obama has already mocked Trump’s dark view of life for African Americans in the United States.

“You may have heard Hillary’s opponent in this election say that there’s never been a worse time to be a black person. I mean, he missed that whole civics lesson about slavery or Jim Crow,” Obama said in a speech on Saturday. “But we’ve got a museum for him to visit, so he can tune in. We will educate him.”

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‘There’s nothing like doing things with other people’s money,’ Donald Trump says

(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

As president, Donald Trump says he plans to employ one of his favorite business strategies -- using other people’s money.

Not only does he promise that Mexico will pay for a wall along the border with the United States, he told a crowd in North Carolina on Tuesday that Arab countries would fund safe zones in the Middle East for Syrian refugees.

“It’s called other people’s money,” he said. “There’s nothing like doing things with other people’s money. Because it takes the risk [away].”

It’s a tactic he has used in his business dealings, with mixed success.

Trump ran into trouble in Atlantic City by borrowing aggressively to fund his doomed casino empire in the New Jersey resort town.

A Washington Post investigation also found that Trump no longer contributes to the personal foundation that bears his name, and used donors’ contributions to the charity to settle legal disputes involving his businesses.

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Hillary Clinton heads into debate against Donald Trump ready for rhetorical jabs

(Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton says she is ready for any insults.

With less than a week until the first debate against Donald Trump, Clinton insists she’s prepared to face a Republican opponent known for his jabs at rivals, including “low energy” Jeb Bush and “Little Marco” for Marco Rubio, and of course “Crooked Hillary.”

“I can take that kind of stuff. I’ve been at this. And I understand it’s a contact sport. But I’m not going to take what [Trump] says about everybody else,” Clinton said Tuesday on “The Steve Harvey Morning Show.”

This week Clinton has a lighter campaign schedule as she prepares to debate Trump on Monday in New York.

In the interview, Clinton said she plans to speak out against Trump’s comments about, among others, banning Muslims from entering the country.

On Tuesday, Trump mocked Clinton on social media for her lighter schedule, saying she needs “rest” ahead of the debate

Last week, Trump said he’ll bring “respect” to the debate later this month – at least at the outset.

“I will treat her with great respect,” Trump said of Clinton. “Unless she treats me in a certain manner, in which case that will be the end of that.… I am not looking to go in and treat her with disrespect.”

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Skittles tweet was ‘speaking the truth,’ Donald Trump’s campaign says

Donald Trump’s campaign is defending a tweet from the Republican candidate’s son, who offended many on Monday night by comparing Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles.

Here’s the original tweet.

The comparison was rejected by Democrats and even the company that manufactures Skittles.

“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people,” said a statement from Wrigley Americas. “We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy.”

Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, said the candidate’s son Donald Jr. “has been a tremendous asset to the campaign” and suggested he was “speaking the truth.”

“The American people want a change, and only Donald Trump will do what’s needed to protect us,” Miller said in a statement.

Trump has repeatedly raised concerns about terrorists infiltrating the country through the refugee process. Experts say would-be refugees already face extensive screening.

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Hillary Clinton calls shooting of unarmed black man in Oklahoma ‘intolerable’

(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton condemned the police shooting of an unarmed black man in Oklahoma last week, using the incident to reignite calls for criminal justice reform and to highlight racial biases in policing.

In an interview on the Steve Harvey Morning Show Tuesday, Clinton called the shooting of Terence Crutcher, 40, “unbearable” and “intolerable.” Video footage shows Crutcher was unarmed with his hands visible when he was shot by Tulsa, Okla., police officers after his car broke down along a rural road,

“This horrible shooting — again. How many times do we have to see this in our country?” Clinton asked. “In Tulsa? An unarmed man? With his hands in the air? I mean, this is just unbearable and it needs to be intolerable.”

Clinton, who has emphasized that police departments should reflect the communities they serve, said more must be done to curb racial bias.

“You know, maybe I can, by speaking directly to white people, say, ‘Look, this is not who we are.’ We’ve got to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias,” Clinton said. “There are good, honorable, cool-headed police officers. ... We can do better. We have got to rein in what is absolutely inexplicable, and we’ve got to have law enforcement respect communities and communities respect law enforcement because they have to work together.”

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, has so far not commented on the shooting.

Trump has called himself the “law-and-order” candidate and last week secured the endorsement of the National Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union.

“Police are the most mistreated people in this country,” Trump said at a GOP debate in January. “We have to give power back to the police because crime is rampant.”

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Trump Jr. used refugee’s photo without permission for his Skittles tweet

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted an image on Sept. 19 comparing Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles.
(Twitter)

Donald Trump Jr. appears to have used a copyrighted image in his tweet comparing the danger of Syrian refugees to a bowl of poisoned Skittles.

A reverse-image search of the photograph shows that it originated on the photo-sharing site Flickr, where British photographer David Kittos posted it in 2010.

David Kittos' original image posted to his Flickr account.
(David Kittos / Flickr)

People who upload photos to Flickr can choose the license level of their images. Some opt to make their photos available for anyone to use via a Creative Commons license. However, this particular image was copyrighted by the photographer.

“This was six years ago when there were no Syrian refugees at the time, and it was never done with the intention of spreading a political message,” Kittos told the BBC.

He told BuzzFeed that he did not give the Trump campaign approval to use the photo.

“The picture was lifted from my Flickr account without permission. I don’t approve of its use by Mr. Trump or his politics,” Kittos wrote in an email.

Kittos himself is a refugee, whose family fled Cyprus during Turkish occupation in 1974, when he was 6.

“I would never approve the use of this image against refugees,” Kittos said to the BBC.

He said he was uncertain about whether he’d take legal action.

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Donald Trump should apologize to President Obama for ‘birther’ comments, Lindsey Graham says

WASHINGTON - JULY 13: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) makes his opening statement during the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor before the Senate Judiciary Committee July 13, 2009 in Washington, DC. Sotomayor, now an appeals court judge and U.S. President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, will become the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court if confirmed. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JULY 13: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) makes his opening statement during the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor before the Senate Judiciary Committee July 13, 2009 in Washington, DC. Sotomayor, now an appeals court judge and U.S. President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, will become the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court if confirmed. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
(Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, no stranger to criticizing his party’s nominee for president, said Tuesday that Donald Trump should apologize to President Obama for spreading lies about his birthplace.

Trump spent five years questioning whether Obama was born in the United States and was eligible to serve as president, a bogus conspiracy theory he finally dropped last week.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican, told Bloomberg Politics that Trump’s concession to reality was “a start.”

“I think the whole movement was unseemly,” he said. “I had a lot of distaste for it. No factual basis.”

Graham also ran for the GOP nomination before dropping out in December near the the bottom of the pack.

He previously told Boston Herald Radio that Trump’s success in the Republican primaries could be tied to his decision to push the “birther” conspiracies.

“There’s about 40% of the Republican primary voter who believes that Obama was born in Kenya and is a Muslim,” Graham said.

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Donald Trump makes a pit stop in North Carolina

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Clinton camp says Trump Foundation’s ‘self-dealing’ underscores need to see his tax returns

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is seizing on a new Washington Post investigation into practices of Donald Trump’s charitable foundation, saying its findings prove the Republican nominee is “a fraud who believes the rules don’t apply to him.”

The Post’s David Fahrenthold reported Tuesday that Trump has spent $258,000 from his family charity to settle lawsuits involving his businesses, a potential violation of laws against “self-dealing.”

In one instance, Trump settled a dispute with Palm Beach, Fla., over the height of a flagpole at his Mar-a-Lago Club with a donation to a veterans charity from his foundation, which the report says is funded by other people’s money. Trump’s attorneys said in a filing in federal court that a smaller American flag “would fail to appropriately express the magnitude of Donald J. Trump’s ... patriotism.”

Trump also spent $10,000 of foundation funds on a portrait of himself at a charity fundraiser in 2014, according to the Post’s report. Years earlier, he’d used $20,000 from the foundation on a different portrait, the report says.

“Clearly the Trump Foundation is as much a charitable organization as Trump University is an institute of higher education,” Clinton campaign spokesperson Christina Reynolds said in a statement in which the campaign reiterated its demand for Trump to release his tax returns.

“Trump’s version of charity is taking money from others to settle his own legal issues and buy at least two pictures of himself, which experts say is a clear violation of laws governing charitable organizations.”

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Harry Reid unloads on Donald Trump, says he would be ‘scammer in chief’

(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

First, Harry Reid called Donald Trump a “liar” and a “phony” after the Republican presidential candidate falsely blamed Hillary Clinton for spreading rumors about President Obama’s birthplace.

Now the Senate’s top Democrat is denouncing Trump as a “swindler” who would be the country’s “scammer in chief.”

Reid said Tuesday that the New York businessman doesn’t want to release his tax returns -- something every major-party presidential candidate has done since the 1970s -- because he’s not as wealthy as he claims.

“He is not worth nearly as much as he claims to be,” Reid said from the Senate chamber. “That’s a secret he doesn’t want anybody to know.”

Trump has pegged his net worth at $10 billion, but Forbes and Bloomberg estimate that it’s less than half that.

Reid’s remarks recalled a broadside he delivered against Mitt Romney in 2012, when the former Massachusetts governor was running as the GOP nominee against Obama.

On the Senate floor, Reid shared his suspicions that Romney hadn’t paid any federal income taxes for a decade. The accusation was false, but Reid later said he didn’t regret his comments.

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Hillary Clinton’s campaign: We have many more paths to victory than Donald Trump does

Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook.
(Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign, shrugging off polling that has shown a tightening presidential race, insists that her path to the presidency remains clearer than Donald Trump’s.

“Here’s the story that no poll can tell: Hillary Clinton has many paths to 270 electoral votes, while Donald Trump has very few,” campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in a memo to donors and supporters Monday, obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Rather than an internal assessment of the national map, Mook began with the election forecast at FiveThirtyEight.com. The assessment puts Clinton at 191 electoral votes of the 270 needed to win, thanks to reliably Democratic states. Add in states where Clinton is given at least a 70% chance of victory and she reaches 260 electoral votes — 10 shy of the total needed to win, and with seven battleground states in which to find some or all of them.

“Hillary can win just one (Florida, Ohio, or North Carolina) and win the presidency … or she could get over 270 by winning Colorado and New Hampshire … or Iowa … or Nevada … you get the idea,” Mook wrote, adding that Trump would need to win six of those seven to win.

“Those aren’t great odds for Donald Trump.”

Mook said the key to winning those states is “generating a turnout advantage” for Democrats across the ticket, and that a combination of shifting demographics and the campaign’s sophisticated grass-roots organizing will get them there.

“Fortunately, Trump’s campaign made a decision to barely invest in direct voter engagement and mobilization on the ground, so we have to drive this advantage,” Mook said.

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Bono: Trump is ‘potentially the worst idea that ever happened to America’

Donald Trump has “hijacked” the Republican Party and comes in as possibly the “worst” idea ever for America, the lead singer of the band U2 said.

“America is like the best idea the world ever came up with,” Irish singer-songwriter Bono told “CBS This Morning” in an interview that aired Tuesday. “But Donald Trump is potentially the worst idea that ever happened to America — potentially.”

Bono, whose real name is Paul David Hewson, argued that the Republican presidential nominee threatens America’s underlying values of justice and equality for all.

“He’s hijacked the party. I think he’s trying to hijack the idea of America,” he said. “And I think it’s bigger than all of us. I think it’s ... really dangerous.”

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Hillary Clinton on the balancing act of running for president

Jimmy Fallon didn’t muss Hillary Clinton’s hair, as he did to Donald Trump days earlier on the “Tonight Show.”

But she did get some hair tips, via a letter from a child viewer that Fallon read: “Cut your hair.”

The child suggested she return to her style from November 1994, when she was a senator.

“This is a very sophisticated child,” Clinton joked, adding that her hairstyle was “one of my constant themes.”

There was a more serious discussion on the show about the challenge of running for president as a woman, something President Obama recently speculated was a factor in the tighter-than-expected race.

Clinton said the balancing act any candidate must navigate of being seen as both serious and relatable is “especially tricky for women. It just is.”

She noted criticism from some Republicans of a recent television interview for seeming too serious as she discussed the fight against Islamic State.

“Well, you don’t talk about ISIS with a big grin on your face. They’re a barbaric, evil group that we have to defeat and wipe out,” she said. “But it is a constant balancing act. How do you keep the energy and the positive spirit while taking seriously what you need to?”

Clinton said being president wasn’t something she dreamed about as a child. It “wasn’t even within the realm of the possible for little girls back then.”

But it informs her vision now of what she wants to do: lead a country “where barriers are knocked down, and little girls and little boys can feel like they can go as far as their hard work will take them without regard to race and ethnicity and gender and sexual orientation.”

Clinton’s appearance, which aired Monday night, was taped Friday before this weekend’s bombing in New York. It opened with Fallon donning a surgical mask and lathering his hands with Purell after greeting Clinton, who was still shaking off pneumonia. She assured him she wasn’t contagious.

Clinton teased Trump for his “bromance” with Vladimir Putin and also Fallon for his light treatment of the Republican nominee when he interviewed him.

She presented the NBC host a bag of softballs.

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Internet blasts Donald Trump Jr. for comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles

Donald Trump Jr. compared Syrian refugees to a lethal bowl of Skittles in a meme — but the internet did not agree.

“This image says it all,” Trump Jr. wrote in his tweet of the meme. “Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first. #trump2016.”

Twitter users, including former staffers for President Obama, fired back with graphic images of children and people covered in blood from the war in Syria or fleeing on sinking boats.

Trump Jr. echoed his father Donald Trump’s call to limit or suspend immigration from unspecified countries they see as putting Americans at risk. They renewed the argument Monday after a suspect was captured in the bombings in New York and New Jersey over the weekend.

“These attacks and many others were made possible because of our extremely open immigration system,” Trump said at a rally in Estero, Fla., on Monday. “Immigration security is national security.”

A spokeswoman for Skittles’ parent company, Wrigley Americas, released a statement Monday disavowing the comparison, saying, “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people.”

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Bush for Clinton? A Kennedy says so

(Larry W. Smith / European Pressphoto Agency)

The Bush family hasn’t exactly hidden its discomfort — and, in some cases, outright disdain — for Donald Trump. But like many Republicans, family members have been unwilling publicly to cross the aisle and state support for rival Hillary Clinton.

Now, though, it appears a member of one American political dynasty has outed the patriarch of another, according to CNN.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., posted a photo on Facebook on Monday, showing her shaking hands with former President George H.W. Bush. The photo carried this caption: “The president told me he’s voting for Hillary!!”

Townsend, a Democrat and the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, told Politico that the photo was taken Monday after she visited with the 41st president in Maine. “That’s what he said,” she said.

Bush’s spokesman said in an email that the former president’s vote will remain private, and that he is refraining from comment on the race until election day.

Clinton’s campaign has noted that while every living Democratic president backs the party’s nominee, Trump lacks the public endorsement of both Presidents Bush. Jeb Bush, who lost the GOP presidential nomination to Trump, remains on the sidelines.

The Bushes and the Clintons have become close since Bill Clinton defeated the elder Bush in the race for the White House in 1992, with Clinton often joking about his status as an honorary member of the family.

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Hillary Clinton has a massive fundraising advantage. She’s using it to leave no vote to chance

University of Iowa students Abigail Simon and Mitchell Dunn talk during a Hillary Clinton campaign organizing event in Iowa City.
University of Iowa students Abigail Simon and Mitchell Dunn talk during a Hillary Clinton campaign organizing event in Iowa City.
(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton is using her fundraising dominance to unleash all manner of modern voter tools that Donald Trump’s organization is too cash-poor, disorganized or uninterested in to use — but are they worth the massive price tag?

The question will be argued until election day, and probably for years after. But one thing clear right now is that the Clinton campaign is leaving nothing to chance. Launching apps that track the movements of paid canvassers and organizing poetry slams to build camaraderie in field offices, the Clinton operation is in the final frenzy of assembling some of the most sophisticated campaign infrastructure ever.

It is building on the hallowed playbook written by President Obama’s campaign teams, implementing technological advancements that enable field organizers to find, track and prod potential voters with even more precision and efficiency.

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