Trump-mentum where it counts

President Barack Obama said at a Democratic fundraiser on Manhattan’s Upper East Side Tuesday night, “This shouldn’t be close, but it’s close.” New polls Wednesday show those weren’t just scare words to shake loose more donations.

Surveys for Bloomberg News and CNN both showed Donald Trump jumping out to a 5-point lead over Clinton in Ohio, a key battleground state, in a four-way race with the Libertarian and Green candidates. The CNN/ORC poll also found Trump 3 points ahead in Florida.

A national poll by Quinnipiac University had Clinton up by just 2 points in a four-way race. The New York Times / CBS poll seems to follow the same trend.

Something very interesting has happened over the past two weeks in the presidential campaign: Donald Trump has seized the momentum from Hillary Clinton and is climbing back into contention in both national and key swing state polling.

Trump’s momentum hasn’t put him in the lead, but as an analysis in The Washington Post lays out, the race is now competitive.

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Anti-Trump GOPers sweat it out

Republicans who have been openly or quietly rooting against Trump are getting worried, and exasperated at Clinton, reports BuzzFeed.

“I’ve heard a lot of conservatives voicing frustration, like, ‘How ... hard is this, Hillary?’ ” said Ben Howe, a conservative ad-maker. “I’m losing faith in Hillary’s ability to win this easy ... election.”

Republicans who have endorsed Clinton have been expecting access, appointments and influence over a Clinton administration’s policies, Politico reported.

The take-away: Bench strength

Clinton’s illness-forced hiatus from the campaign trail has also served as a reminder of one of her long-term advantages: a strong bench of supporters who can speak for her, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

Obama did so for her on Tuesday in Philadelphia, and her A-team also includes Bill Clinton, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Pastor shushes Trump

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Trump’s visit to an African-American church in Flint, Michigan, a city suffering a prolonged crisis over tainted drinking water, turned awkward when he launched into a rally-style attack on Clinton.

The Rev. Faith Green Timmons, a pastor at the church, went on stage and stopped him. “Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not give a political speech,” she said. He left quickly after a question about past charges of racial discrimination in Trump housing and heckling.

Later, he trashed his host. "She was so nervous, she was like a nervous mess, and so I figured something was up," he told Fox News Thursday."When she got up to introduce me she was so nervous she was shaking and I said 'wow, this is strange' and then she came up. So she had that in mind, there is no question about it."

She posted on Facebook: " "Had he stuck to what his camp claimed he came to do, we would not have had a problem! - Good night"

Doctor, Doctor, gimme the news

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There were new medical reports on both candidates Wednesday, reports Newsday’s Laura Figueroa. Clinton’s doctor Wednesday said she is “is recovering well with antibiotics” from pneumonia. Clinton is due to resume campaigning Thursday with an event in North Carolina.

Trump, in a recorded appearance on “The Dr. Oz Show,” shared what he said were results from a recent physical exam. Audience members told CNN that Trump proclaimed he would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” doesn’t exercise and wants to lose at least 15 pounds. What we've been told subsequently should surprise no one: He's on cholesterol-reducing medication and too fat. 

What a stand-up guy

Trump put his attacks on Clinton’s “stamina” on hiatus when she fell ill, but he was back at it during a rally in Canton, Ohio, Wednesday night.

“You think Hillary would be able to stand up here for an hour and do this?” Trump asked. “I don’t think so.”

Powell e-wrath cuts wide swath

Former Gen. Colin Powell’s hacked emails showed contempt for Trump as “a national disgrace and an international pariah,” and disdain for Clinton, saying “everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.”

His other labels for Clinton — “unbridled ambition, greedy” — will deter her backers from cherry-picking comments that might have helped her, such as that “Benghazi is a stupid witch hunt” whose “basic fault” rested with the slain U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens, for not realizing the risk of going there.

Others trashed in emails he exchanged included colleagues in the George W. Bush administration, such as Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

What else is happening

  • Melania Trump released a letter Wednesday from an immigration attorney about her pathway to U.S. citizenship, but there were no documents provided to put to rest questions over whether she took modeling jobs before obtaining the proper visa.
  • Russian hackers can't fix but can disrupt election operations, senior intelligence officials assured Congress, according to the Times.
  • That six-foot painting of Trump bought for $20,000 by the Trump foundation was shipped at Melania’s request to the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester, the painter’s former manager told The Washington Post.
  • Rebekah Mercer, daughter of Long Island billionaire and GOP megadonor Robert Mercer, has emerged as a heavyweight, deeply involved player on Trump’s behalf, according to a profile in The Washington Post.
  • Pitching her dad’s maternity leave and child-care plans, Ivanka Trump said paid maternity leave is the Trump Organization policy for all employees. Not so, found The Huffington Post, after checking many of Trump’s hotels.
  • The Ivanka plan wins few Republican supporters in Congress, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • Bill Clinton's surrogate role is of limited value, Politico reports.
  • Trump will be on NBC’s “Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon Thursday, and Clinton has been booked for Monday.
  • The Union Leader newspaper in New Hampshire, long famous for its crusty conservative tilt, endorsed Gary Johnson over Trump, calling the Republican nominee "a liar, a bully, a buffoon."