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Campaign 2016 updates: Donald Trump complains of phony polls while campaign staff concedes he’s behind

Donald Trump campaigns heavily in Florida this week. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaign together in New Hampshire.

  • Donald Trump is tweeting, this time about “phony polls”
  • Though the Republican candidate is down, he received his first endorsement from a prominent newspaper
  • That doesn’t mean he’s happy with the press. He told an interviewer he would like to make it easier to sue for libel
  • A report ties donation from Hillary Clinton friend to FBI official’s spouse
  • Republicans fear Trump’s woes will flip the Senate control to Democrats
  • What states are in play in the final weeks?

For Obama, no tweeting at 3 a.m., he tells Jimmy Kimmel

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Between fundraisers in California, President Obama stopped by Hollywood Boulevard on Monday to tape an episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” where he touched on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, talked about having a cellphone in the White House and responded to some mean tweets.

The show is filmed at the El Capitan Entertainment Center – right across the street from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

As is to be expected two weeks out from the election, Trump’s name came up repeatedly. Obama is in Los Angeles for a $100,000-per-person roundtable for the Hillary Victory Fund. Some of the money will go to the Democratic National Committee and state-level campaigns. (The event was closed to the news media.)

Obama responded to one tweet calling him the “Nickelback of presidents,” and another saying he couldn’t negotiate ordering a Whopper without pickles, before an Aug. 2 tweet from Trump popped up.

“At least I will go down as a president,” Obama said, giving the camera a deadpan look.

A few other highlights:

Kimmel asked whether the White House staff ever woke Obama in the middle of the night because of an emergency.

Obama said it had happened three or four times.

“For the most part they let me sleep. Usually, the real serious problems that come up are ones that we’ve anticipated, we kind of see coming,” Obama said. “What I don’t do is at 3 a.m. I don’t tweet about people who insulted me. I try to sleep so that in the morning I’m actually ready for a crisis.”

Kimmel asked whether Obama had already voted. He had, in Chicago, though he wouldn’t say who he voted for.

“It’s a secret ballot and that’s the way it should be,” Obama said.

Kimmel asked whether Obama was glad there were term limits and he couldn’t serve another term.

“If I were able to run for a third term, Michelle would divorce me, so it’s useful that I don’t have that choice to make,” Obama said.

Kimmel asked whether the first lady could stay around for another four years.

“Michelle was never wild about politics,” Obama said. “She is not sorry. All the women in my life are looking forward to being able to live a more normal life.”

Obama said he was very careful about what he said in emails and that his phone didn’t have the ability to text, make calls or take pictures.

He does have access to the Internet, though, and can send emails and check the weather.

“I now have an iPhone, but it is like the phone you give your 2-year-old where they can pretend to press things but nothing actually happens,” he said.

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Obama said he may joke about Trump, but he also took him seriously.

“There is something qualitatively different about the way Trump has operated in the political sphere,” Obama said.

When he was running for president in 2008 and 2012, Obama added, he thought he would do a better job than his Republican opponents, Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, but “if they had won then I wouldn’t have worried about the general course of the country.”

“Sometimes it’s going to be contentious and noisy, but what we haven’t seen before, I think, is somebody questioning the integrity of elections and the will of the people,” he said.

Obama said he had been protective of the norms, standards and customs expected of a U.S. president.

“There is a certain responsibility and expectation in terms of how you behave, how you present yourself,” he said. “If you are willing to say anything and do anything, even when it undermines everything that has been built by previous generations, that’s a problem, and that’s why I take this election very seriously.”

Trump debuts nightly campaign show

(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Amid speculation that Donald Trump will launch a media network after the election, the GOP presidential nominee started a nightly online show from his campaign’s war room on Monday.

The hosts of “Trump Tower Live,” a half-hour show broadcast on Trump’s Facebook page, said it allowed them to circumvent the mainstream media and communicate directly with the American people.

“This is our campaign and most importantly our candidate being out there and speaking directly to the voters, directly to the viewers,” said Boris Epshteyn, a co-host of the show, adding that it was not some sort of dry run for a future Trump TV network. “We are excited to be bypassing the left-wing media, which screws everything up.”

Co-host Cliff Sims added that Trump has millions of followers on social media.

“It would be malpractice on our part if we didn’t utilize the massive online platform that he has to take his vision, his message to ‘Make America Great Again’ directly to the people,” Sims said.

Monday’s show, broadcast at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, drew more than 50,000 viewers at one point, though the number dropped to about half of that by the time it concluded and segued into a Trump campaign rally in Tampa. There were also some minor technical glitches, such as uneven sound.

The guests on Monday’s show were campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who spoke about Trump’s path to victory in the electoral map; Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer, who laid out the party’s ground game efforts to identify voters and push them to the polls; and online conservative star Tomi Lahren.

Lahren said that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton may have organizational, advertising and fundraising advantages with celebrities such as Cher and Barbra Streisand.

“They’re going to be flashy,” she said, “but I have a belief in the American people. We might be everyday Americans but we’re pretty exceptional in our own right.”

In addition to traditional GOP criticism of Clinton, the group discussed two new stories that were drawing attention from conservative voters: A Wall Street Journal report that a political group connected to a close Clinton ally donated $467,500 last year to the state Senate campaign of a woman whose husband later played a key role in investigating her handling of classified material, and a controversial conservative group’s claims that Clinton personally ordered protesters dressed in duck costumes to disrupt Trump rallies.

Trump rallies thousands in Tampa with push for early voting in Florida

Racial discrimination and the Supreme Court are influencing voters more than the economy

Political strategists have long known that some issues can be important to voters but have little effect on who they vote for. Other issues can motivate both sides in an election, while still others move partisans on one side more than the other.

The USC/Los Angeles Times “Daybreak” poll provides new evidence of how issues are playing out in the presidential campaign.

Earlier this month, the poll asked respondents to choose three issues that were especially important to their vote. By far the most cited was the economy, named by 60% of respondents.

But although the economy is important to voters, it’s not having a powerful effect on their vote, the poll found, suggesting that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have pretty much fought to a draw on it.

By contrast, the Supreme Court appears to be having a strong impact — in one direction. About one quarter of the respondents listed the future of the court as an important issue. They were significantly more likely to be backing Trump than the average voter and significantly less likely to be supporting Clinton.

Three issues pushed in the opposite direction — boosting Clinton while hurting Trump:

Respondents who said racial discrimination was one of the most important issues were almost twice as likely to back Clinton as the average voter. Those who listed presidential temperament as a key issue were about two-and-a-half times more likely to back her. And those who said experience was a key issue were almost three times as likely to back Clinton as the average voter.

Another big issue that boosts Trump is immigration. Those who said that immigration was a key issue for them were about one-and-a-half times more likely than average to be backing Trump.

The immigration and Supreme Court issues affect Trump’s vote in very different ways, however.

The impact of the Supreme Court is purely partisan. Republicans are more likely to say the high court is a critical issue for them, and they are also more likely to back Trump. The court as an issue doesn’t add to Trump’s support beyond the impact of partisanship.

Immigration, by contrast, adds to Trump’s support beyond what can be accounted for by partisanship. It’s a signature issue for him, and it clearly has helped build his following.

The two issues also move different blocs of voters. The Supreme Court as an issue appears to bolster Trump especially among men with college educations and those with higher incomes. The immigration issue helps him most with men who did not go to college and have lower incomes.

Race discrimination appears to help Clinton simply on a partisan basis, rather than anything particular about her. By contrast, those who say that experience and temperament are important to them support her at a level beyond what partisanship accounts for.

Experience appears as a particularly powerful issue in motivating college-educated women to back Clinton. Not surprisingly, racial discrimination as an issue provides the most motivation to minority voters.

As polls show Clinton leading, Obama and Biden talk of winning big

(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Democrats who once fretted over the prospect of Donald Trump winning the White House now have a different message on the campaign trail: Let’s run up the score.

“We want to win big,” President Obama said Monday as he spoke at a campaign fundraiser in La Jolla. “We don’t just want to eke it out, particularly when the other guy’s already started to gripe about how the game is rigged.”

Obama’s remarks speak to the remaining imperatives for the party: Keep a fire lit under Democratic voters as some polls show an increasingly large Clinton lead, and try to build a wave that will help carry a significant number of down-ballot Democrats with her to help her govern.

Obama directly confronted an argument some Republican House and Senate candidates are making in their tough races -- that they’ll be an independent voice to check the next president’s power, whoever that may be.

“Let me just translate that for you,” Obama said, calling it code for obstruction. “It is really important that we push back and defeat this argument that somehow, the duly elected president of the United States should simply be blocked from doing anything by the opposition party.

“They’re OK with gridlock, but you know what, we can do so much better than that.”

Campaigning for Clinton in Toledo, Ohio, Vice President Joe Biden made a similar case.

“We don’t just want to win,” he said. “We want to win decisively so he can’t continue this conspiracy theory malarkey.”

Trump says incompetence led to veterans being forced to repay signing bonuses

Donald Trump on Monday added to his list of all that’s wrong with the country: tens of thousands of California veterans being forced to repay their post-Sept. 11 signing bonuses.

A Los Angeles Times investigation cracked open the problem that lawmakers from both parties have since criticized as a massive failure in the military’s recruitment operations. GOP leaders on Capitol Hill promised to investigate.

Trump blamed “incompetent” leaders for the mismanagement that left veterans forced to repay bonuses given out improperly during the military recruitment blitz after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He called it another in a long list of wrongdoings in a corrupt political system.

“This can only happen with these incompetent people we have,” he told a rally at the St. Augustine amphitheater in Florida. “No common sense.”

Trump is storming Florida in a multi-day swing as polls here put him several points behind Democrat Hillary Clinton. Nationally he is also trailing Clinton.

But Trump has been telling Floridians he will win their state “big” and that he will also win the White House -- if they vote. Otherwise, he said, the campaign will have been a “waste of a hell of a lot of time” and money.

As early voting is underway in some parts of the state, Trump drew a robust crowd to the afternoon rally.

His message was tailor-made to those who are already inclined to support him, a narrowing slice of the older, white, non-college-educated electorate, rather than a broader swath of voters needed to boost his standing.

He railed against Clinton as part of a failed government under President Obama that has left the country with crumbling infrastructure and a depleted military.

The crowd cheered the more hopeful outlook Trump promised and interrupted him multiple times with chants of “Lock her up!,” in reference to Clinton.

Trump notes latest accuser is a porn star: ‘Oh, I’m sure she’s never been grabbed before.’

(Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump on Monday defended himself against the latest allegations of sexual misconduct by pointing out that the accuser worked as an adult film actress.

“One said, ‘He grabbed me on the arm.’ And she’s a porn star,” Trump said in an interview with a New Hampshire radio station. “Now you know, this one that came out recently, ‘He grabbed me and he grabbed me on the arm.’ Oh, I’m sure she’s never been grabbed before.”

Trump was referring to the allegations made Saturday by Jessica Drake, who accused Trump of kissing her without her consent. She also said a man – either Trump or someone representing him – later called her and offered her $10,000 and the use of his jet in exchange for sex.

Drake is the latest of several women to publicly claim in recent days that Trump kissed or groped them without their consent. The GOP presidential nominee said all of the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, including Drake, are lying.

“These are stories that are made up. This is total fiction. You’ll find out that, in the years to come, these women that stood up, it’s all fiction,” Trump said. “They were made up. I don’t know these women. It’s not my thing to do what they say.”

During a speech on Saturday that was billed as a preview of how he would conduct his first 100 days in office, Trump said he would sue all the women who have accused him of misconduct. During the radio interview, he said he felt it was important to defend himself against the accusations because he feared women voters might otherwise believe them.

He squarely blamed the campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for the rush of allegations against him. Trump noted that Gloria Allred, the attorney representing three of the women, is a long-time Clinton supporter.

Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, said Sunday the campaign has not had any contact with any of the women who have come forward.

“These accusations are not coming from our campaign,” Mook said on CNN.

Allred is a Clinton backer and served as a delegate for her during the Democratic National Convention. But the Los Angeles-based attorney has a long history of going after politicians on both sides of the aisle over their treatment of women.

Clinton to Trump: You’re declaring defeat before the battle for Mosul has begun

Once again, Hillary Clinton has turned one of Donald Trump’s tweets into political fodder.

This time it was the Republican presidential nominee’s criticism of the Iraqi-led military offensive in Mosul, which is intended to dislodge Islamic State terrorists from their stronghold there. Iraqi government forces, backed by the U.S. military, launched their assault last week after months of preparation and are moving in on the city.

Trump, however, called the operation “a total disaster.” He cited no evidence.

Clinton described the remark as offensive.

“He’s basically declaring defeat before the battle has even started,” she said. “He’s proving to the world what it means to have an unqualified commander in chief. It’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous, and it needs to be repudiated.”

‘Nasty women’ becomes the new ‘deplorables’ -- an insult turned into rallying cry

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

When Hillary Clinton said half of Donald Trump’s supporters fall into a “basket of deplorables,” the remark quickly boomeranged into a rallying cry for her opponents.

Now the same thing is happening in the other direction. Trump’s derisive reference to Clinton as a “nasty woman” during the last presidential debate has become a badge of honor for her fans.

Supporters can buy “nasty woman” necklaces online, and pop star Katy Perry wore a “nasty woman” shirt while stumping for Clinton in Nevada.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren also turned it into a potent attack line while she campaigned with Clinton in New Hampshire on Monday.

She started with a reference to the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump brags about being able to grope women because he’s a celebrity.

“He thinks because he has a mouth full of Tic Tacs, he can force himself on any women within groping distance,” Warren said. “I have news for you Donald Trump -- women have had it with guys like you.”

Warren then launched into a riff on “nasty women.”

“Nasty women are tough. Nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote,” she said. “We nasty women are going to march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever.”

Hillary Clinton takes a shot at Donald Trump for going ‘too far’ in jokes at charity dinner

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had only Cardinal Timothy Dolan separating them at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had only Cardinal Timothy Dolan separating them at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York.
(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton told a radio interviewer that Donald Trump went “too far” with his biting monologue at last week’s Al Smith charity dinner in New York.

“I’ve been to that event before, and it is an opportunity to raise millions of dollars for worthy causes, particularly for inner-city kids,” Clinton said in a taped radio interview on WZAK in Cleveland. “And so the purpose of it is to have an evening of fun; some gentle jabs, and some jokes at each other’s expense, including ones about yourself. And he just went over – too far, and I think that was why people reacted so strongly.”

The dinner, which had Clinton and Trump sitting one seat apart, was awkward, especially for Trump, who was booed at times.

Among Trump’s jabs at the dinner, which raised money for Catholic charities: “Here she is tonight in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.”

Donald Trump visits a pumpkin patch and tells farmers that the election is ‘rigged’

It’s not every day a wealthy real estate mogul alights at a pumpkin patch, but presidential campaign history is studded with candidates appearing out of their element.

So there was Donald Trump on Monday, crunching the ground at Bedners Farm and Market in South Florida to meet with local growers. He promised to slash regulations that business owners complain hamper their operations.

But what he really wanted to talk about was his grievance over the “rigged” election that he said he is nevertheless leading.

“We’re actually winning,” Trump told the farmers assembled at a barn-like hall next to the pumpkins.

An average of polls shows Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton by a little over six percentage points nationally. For comparison, President Obama beat Mitt Romney by about four points in 2012.

“I think we’re going to win Florida big,” he added.

Clinton is also closing in on an electoral college victory, according to polls of battleground states.

Wholesale nursery owner Steve Homrich stopped by to hear Trump’s pitch, even though he is nearly set on voting for Trump. He was hoping for policy specifics, he said.

Instead Trump barraged the farmers with his complaints about polling from the “phony, disgusting, dishonest papers” that report him trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Voter Alys Murcia, who took the day off work to show her 2-year-old daughter, Tatyana, the cows and pumpkins at the farm, was not pleased to find out Trump was coming.

“I just don’t think he’s fit” to be president, she said. “He’s just not a people person. You have to take other people into consideration and not point fingers.

And then, knowingly or not, she turned Trump’s own insult back on him: “He’s just a nasty person.”

After bashing Republicans in Congress, Trump now stumps for saving GOP majorities

Donald Trump has bashed politicians in Washington, D.C., as “losers” and sparred openly with top leaders, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

But as Trump struggles against Democrat Hillary Clinton’s rising momentum, he has turned his attention to an unlikely campaign: saving the GOP-led Congress.

Trump launched a multi-city swing through must-win Florida, calling on voters to “re-elect Republicans all over the place.”

Republicans risk losing control of the Senate and seeing their majority shrink in the House, thanks in part to voter unrest over Trump’s candidacy at the top of the ticket.

Many of those running for Congress have flip-flopped over Trump -- supporting, opposing or, as Sen. Marco Rubio is doing in a tight re-election battle against Patrick Murphy in the Sunshine State, trying to find a middle ground.

But Trump made the case at a rally Sunday in Naples that with Republican control of the House and Senate, he could more quickly turn to repealing the healthcare law and priorities that would be resisted by Democrats.

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Donald Trump complains about ‘phony polls,’ though his campaign staff concedes he is behind

Donald Trump, who often contradicts his campaign staff and surrogates, has done it again Monday morning with a tweet calling polls showing him behind “phony.”

Trump’s staff has said in private and public that Hillary Clinton is leading. Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that “we are behind.”

Report ties campaign donation from Hillary Clinton friend to FBI official’s spouse

A political group connected to a close Clinton ally donated $467,500 last year to the state Senate campaign of a woman whose husband later played a key role in investigating Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified material, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

It’s a fairly complicated story. Here are the basics:

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been a longtime ally and fundraiser for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Last year, in an effort to bolster his clout in the Virginia legislature, his political group gave the donation to the campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe, who was recruited to run for the state Senate.

The state Democratic Party gave McCabe an additional $207,788, according to the Journal. McCabe ultimately lost the election.

McCabe’s husband, Andrew McCabe, was then associate-deputy director in the FBI’s Washington office. He was later promoted to be the FBI’s deputy director, where he oversaw the probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server and her handling of classified material.

The FBI told the newspaper that McCabe had no role in his wife’s campaign, including fundraising. He was promoted to deputy “months after the completion” of the campaign, assuming an oversight role of the email case “for the first time.”

The FBI said McCabe, who said he met with McAuliffe once, sought and followed ethics advice at the time to avoid a conflict.

McAuliffe’s office told the Journal that he supported McCabe because she would have been a good senator who supported his agenda and that any other “insinuation” would be “ridiculous.”

The issue is certain to become a talking point for Donald Trump, who has argued that Clinton should have been prosecuted and was only spared because of a rigged system.

The FBI earlier this year concluded that Clinton’s handling of classified material was “extremely careless,” but that her actions did not rise to the level to merit criminal prosecution.

Trump tweeted the Wall Street Journal article soon after it was published.

Trump wins endorsement from Las Vegas Review-Journal, owned by key GOP donor Sheldon Adelson

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump received his first endorsement from a prominent newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal — which is owned by major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson.

The endorsement said that despite his divisive proposals and rhetoric that has stoked racial tensions, Trump will upset the political norm in Washington.

“He promises to be a source of disruption and discomfort to the privileged, back-scratching political elites for whom the nation’s strength and solvency have become subservient to power’s pursuit and preservation,” the Review-Journal’s editorial board wrote.

Rival Hillary Clinton will not, the board wrote.

“She’ll cuddle up to the ways and perks of Washington like she would to a cozy old blanket.”

Adelson, a casino magnate, bought the Review-Journal in 2015 for $140 million, a purchase that was first made in secret and then sparked further controversy once stories related to him were viewed as being underplayed or shelved.

This year, several major papers have broken with decades-long traditions of backing Republicans for the White House to endorse Clinton, with most saying they were taking a stance against Trump.

Donald Trump wants to make it easier to sue the media

Donald Trump has made a lot of threats about suing the media, which he calls dishonest and in league with his rival, Hillary Clinton. On Sunday, he said he would like to make it easier to win such lawsuits.

Trump, in an interview with WFOR-TV in Miami, pointed to Britain’s libel laws as a model.

“In England, you have a good chance of winning,” he said. “And deals are made and apologies are made. Over here, they don’t have to apologize. They can say anything they want about you or me and there doesn’t have to be any apology. England has a system where, if they are wrong, things happen.”

Britain’s libel laws are known to favor plaintiffs more than the U.S. and many other countries, prompting what’s sometimes known as “libel tourism” lawsuits. One key difference: The burden of proof is on the journalist, rather than the person who brings the claim, as is the case in the U.S.

Trump has previously drawn criticism for his views on the 1st Amendment, especially this August tweet:

In Pennsylvania, Republican Senate candidate tries to save his seat by keeping Trump at a distance

Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidates Katie McGinty, a Democrat, and Patrick J. Toomey, the Republican incumbent, prepare for a recent debate in Pittsburgh.
(Jared Wickerham / Associated Press)

Donald Trump was down in Gettysburg, in southern Pennsylvania, eclipsing his own speech about his first 100 days as president with a blustery vow to sue women who have lodged complaints against him of sexual assaults.

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey was as far away as a top-of-the-ticket mate could be, physically and psychically. The incumbent Republican from Pennsylvania spent part of Saturday in the state’s coal country to the north. He quietly greeted a handful of supporters and a few local reporters in a restaurant that had closed for the event, and held a baby named Reagan — after the president.

A prominent feature behind the bar of the restaurant, in a restored bank building, was the giant old vault, something of a metaphor for the campaign Toomey is waging for reelection, locked away as best he can, removed from the chaotic man who heads his party’s ticket.

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