U.S. ELECTION WRAP: Blasts From Past Mark Trump-Clinton Race

The presidential race took a retro turn in a week featuring the Kremlin, nuclear anxiety, Ronald Reagan, Larry King and old photos of Donald Trump with Bill Clinton

Mary Matalin Says Trump Has a 100% Chance of Winning

With the U.S. election less than two months in the future, the headlines sometimes seem ripped out of the past. U.S.-Russian tensions, Larry King, Ronald Reagan, President Obama’s birthplace, the Iraq War and photographic evidence of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton sharing a laugh in a pre-Sept. 11 world all had time in the spotlight this week.

On Russia:

  • The Trump camp went on the defensive after the GOP presidential nominee spoke with Larry King on Russia Today, a Russian state-backed news service
  • Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway later told CBS This Morning that Trump didn’t know the interview would be on Russian TV
  • Trump told King it’s “unlikely” the Kremlin was interfering with the U.S. election; earlier this week he lauded Russian President Vladimir Putin as a better leader than President Obama
  • At least two prominent Republicans, House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, distanced themselves from Trump’s remark; read full Bloomberg story here

On Reagan:

  • Hillary Clinton, who is calling on Republicans to put “country over party” asked “what would Ronald Reagan say?” about Trump’s comments
  • Clinton invoking Reagan continues Democrats’ love/hate relationship with the 40th U.S. president; eight years ago, she attacked then-Democratic presidential rival Obama for admiring Reagan; read today’s story by Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur here
  • Meanwhile, Bloomberg commentator Albert R. Hunt looked at why Trump’s insurgency isn’t like that of 1964 GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater; read here

On Obama’s roots:

  • Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a prominent Trump campaign surrogate, told MSNBC’s Hardball With Chris Matthews that the businessman now believes Obama was born in the U.S.
    • Trump gained attention in 2011 by helping finance efforts that doubted Obama was born in the U.S., and he expressed skepticism Obama was eligible to be president
    • In April of that year, Obama released a long form of his birth certificate showing he was born in Honolulu

On Iraq War:

  • Trump this week faced a fresh round of criticism from Clinton over his claim that he opposed the Iraq War from the start; read story Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli and Jennifer Jacobs here

On Bill Clinton and Trump:

  • The Clinton Presidential Library, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Politico, released 22 photos of Trump socializing with then President Clinton in 2000
  • See photos here

There's also been a flurry of activity around the candidates' families. In her first national TV appearance since the Democratic National Convention in late July, Chelsea Clinton told ABC’s “The View” she will continue to help oversee the Clinton Foundation if her mother is elected president.

  • “For now, I’ll certainly stay on the board,” she said as she defended the foundation’s work; she didn’t address whether she would continue to work on fundraising for the group
  • The former first daughter also said she plans to remain friends with Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, regardless of what happens on November 8
  • “We were friends long before this election. We will be friends long after this election,” she said. “I have tremendous respect for Ivanka”
  • Donald Trump Jr. yesterday tweeted an article from the website Infowars that questioned whether Hillary Clinton was wearing a secret earpiece during Wednesday’s foreign policy forum, the Hill reported; Drudge Report featured the article as a lead story
  • Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, has largely vanished from the campaign trail since her speech to the Republican National Convention in July that contained plagiarized sections from a Michelle Obama speech, Washington Post reported

ON THE TRAIL

  • Clinton meets this afternoon in NYC with a bipartisan group of national security experts, including former Homeland Security chiefs Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, and Michael Chertoff, a Republican (the Homeland Security Dept was established in 2002 in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks)
    • On Sunday, Clinton will visit the National September 11 Memorial to mark the 15th commemoration of the attacks; Trump’s campaign hasn’t yet announced his weekend schedule
  • Trump today spoke at the Values Voter Summit in Washington
    • He’ll stump tonight in Pensacola, Florida; a Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday shows Trump and Clinton tied in the key state.

NORTH KOREA

  • North Korea drew global condemnation after conducting its 5th nuclear test and saying it was now able to produce miniaturized nuclear arms
  • Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller called it “one more example of Hillary Clinton’s catastrophic failures as secretary of state”
    • “Clinton promised to work to end North Korea’s nuclear program,” he said, but “the program has only grown in strength and sophistication”
  • Clinton called the nuclear test “outrageous and unacceptable” and a “direct threat” to the U.S.
    • U.S. must bolster defense cooperation with allies in region and also ensure that China “meaningfully” increases pressure on North Korea, she said in an statement
    • “This is another reminder that America must elect a president who can confront the threats we face with steadiness and strength”

ETC

  • Opposition by both Clinton and Trump to any benefit cuts in the Social Security retirement program have turned Washington’s politics of deficit reduction upside down, Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur wrote
  • Dustin Moskovitz, who co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg and others in 2004, endorsed Clinton and said he plans to donate $20 million to several Democratic-allied groups, CBS News reported
  • Andy Puzder, the fast-food magnate known for racy Super Bowl ads and 1,000-calorie burgers, has taken on a new role: telling Trump how to create more jobs in America; see full story by Bloomberg’s Leslie Patton here
  • Europeans view the U.S. presidential race as “riveting, appalling and at times frightening,” Anders Agner Pedersen, editor-in-chief of Kongressen.com, a Danish online media outlet specializing in American politics, wrote for RealClearPolitics; the piece is part of a new weekly series on the U.S. election from a European perspective

CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS

SENATE RACES (Republicans hold 54-46 majority)

  • POLLS: GOP Sens. Marco Rubio of Fla., Richard Burr of N.C., Rob Portman of Ohio lead Democratic challengers, while Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pa. in virtual tie with Democrat Katie McGinty, according to Quinnipiac University polling
  • FUNDRAISING: League of Conservation Voters and United Steelworkers creating new super-PAC that will aid four Democrats in key races, according to Washington Post and press release
    • New American Jobs Fund filed papers with Federal Election Commission yday and will aid McGinty in Pa.; Deborah Ross in N.C., Ted Strickland in Ohio and Catherine Cortez Masto vs. Joe Heck for open Nev. seat
  • AZ: Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s campaign released TV ad in which narrator says boots Kirkpatrick has kept from her upbringing in state’s White Mountains “remind Ann of her Arizona values”
    • Narrator says “we want a senator who’s independent,” as chyron notes 2013 Cronkite News story identifying Kirkpatrick among “Democrats most likely to buck their party” on votes
    • Ad doesn’t mention John McCain by name, though reference to “a senator who has changed and gone Washington” is attack line Kirkpatrick has used against 30-year Republican senator
  • OH: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Cmte’s top official said this week at private Washington meeting that “Portman has run a damn fine race” and that Strickland will win only “if a wave comes,” Columbus Dispatch reported, citing source it didn’t identify
    • Unnamed DSCC official disputed “characterization of the meeting,” said group believes “Strickland can win this race,” paper reported
  • PA: Toomey “knows he has a Donald Trump problem” and “is campaigning as an independent voice who can be a check on whoever is president” while tying McGinty “as closely as possible to Hillary Clinton, whose unfavorable ratings rival those of Trump,” Bloomberg’s Steven Dennis reported from Harrisburg
    • Toomey’s campaign released TV ad saying he’s been “leading the opposition to big bank bailouts and giant corporate handouts,” while McGinty is a “champion of welfare for corporations and welfare for illegals”
      • Toomey opposed 2008 Wall Street bailout for financial markets; he’s also been opponent of sugar subsidies and now-banned spending projects known as earmarks
      • Ad first aired this AM in Wilkes-Barre market, according to Kantar Media/CMAG
    • Senate Majority PAC, Democratic super-PAC, in TV ad criticized Toomey’s votes for trade pacts and flagged his April 2015 comments on MSNBC that Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asian countries “is going to knock down barriers” and expand exports
      • Toomey’s comments came as TPP was being negotiated; Toomey last month came out against agreement, in what Politifact analysis concluded was a “Full Flop”

HOUSE RACES (Republicans hold 246-186 majority)

  • MN-03: GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen’s campaign released TV ad showing Democratic state Sen. Terri Bonoff saying “I have repeatedly been willing to vote for unpopular taxes”
    • Ad uses footage from candidate debate last month at TwinWest Chamber of Commerce
    • Paulsen, Bonoff vying in competitive district that includes Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, other Twin Cities suburbs
  • NE-02: Credit Union National Assn’s PAC spending $250k on TV ad praising Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford for “finding common ground” in Congress and for his work on veterans, Social Security, and equal-pay policies, according to FEC filing and Kantar Media/CMAG
    • Ashford opposed by Republican Don Bacon in Omaha-based district that voted Republican for president in 2012
  • NY-23: Democrat John Plumb, a Navy officer, in TV ad said GOP Rep. Tom Reed “has attacked me for not always being in western New York,” then notes he was born and raised in region and military veterans know “when the orders come, you go where they tell you”
    • Reed said today on C-Span’s Washington Journal program Trump is “an agent of change, a disruptor -- somebody who’s going to do something in Washington”
    • Reed and Plumb vying in Southern Tier district that voted 50-48% for Mitt Romney in 2012 general election and 52%-26% for Trump over John Kasich in GOP presidential primary
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