Trump’s zero sum tax game

“HALF of Americans don’t pay income tax despite crippling govt debt . . . ” Donald Trump tweeted that in 2012. It wasn’t the first or last time he raged about other people getting off too easy with the IRS.

So, if Trump declared $915.7 million in losses on a 1995 tax return, which could have allowed him to shield more than $50 million annually from income taxes for 18 years, and possibly pay nothing at all, what does that make him?

“A genius,” said both Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani in separate Sunday talk show interviews. Neither they nor Trump’s campaign challenged the accuracy of The New York Times story, Newsday’s Emily Ngo reports.

“A lot of the people that are poor take advantage of loopholes and pay no taxes,” said Giuliani. “It shows you . . . how smart he is, how intelligent he is, how strategic he is,” he said. (Video here.)

A tweet from Trump’s Twitter account said: “I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them.”

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Who's impressed? Not the small businessman in Ohio who told the Washington Post: "It’s the way the laws were set up. But it’s not right. I would feel guilty if I didn’t pay anything. It’s flat-out cheating the government."

Team Clinton’s take

“This bombshell report reveals the colossal nature of Donald Trump’s past business failures and just how long he may have avoided paying any federal income taxes whatsoever.” said Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook.

Spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted that Trump should “release all his returns so we see his full brilliance.”

Speculation abounds about who mailed out the 1995 form.

High infidelity

Are Trump and those of his surrogates whose extramarital affairs went public the right people to point a finger at the Clintons’ checkered marital history? Here is Giuliani’s response when NBC “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd pointed out to him: “You have your own infidelities, sir.”

“Well, everybody does,” Giuliani said. I’m a Roman Catholic, and I confess those things to my priest.” He accused Hillary Clinton of besmirching Bill Clinton’s “victims” and said: “I think your bringing up my personal life really is kind of irrelevant to what Hillary Clinton did.” (Video here.)

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Giuliani also said: “Don’t you think a man who has this kind of economic genius is a lot better for the United States than a woman” — going on to discuss her email controversy. Messages to Giuliani’s staff asking to elaborate on his remark were not immediately answered, AP said.

The take-away: Second fiddles

When vice presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine debate Tuesday, they will be playing up the differences between Trump and Clinton. But each also offers contrasts with the heads of their own tickets, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

The debate should help their name recognition. An ABC News poll found more than 40% of Americans cannot name either one.

Clinton: Fight ‘systemic racism’

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Clinton on Sunday visited a black church in Charlotte, North Carolina, a city recently beset by strife over a police shooting of a black man, and said “law and order’ alone won’t solve problems brought on by “systemic racism.”

“I am a grandmother and like every grandmother, I worry about the safety and security of my grandchildren. But my worries are not the same as black grandmothers, who have different and deeper fears about the world that their grandchildren face,” Clinton said.

The view from Glen Cove

Many voters in Glen Cove view the approaching election with more dread than enthusiasm, profoundly unhappy with the choices, reports Newsday’s Carol Polsky.

The angry divisions in the country are being played out over some dinner tables.

“I’m a Democrat and my husband is a Republican, and there’s a lot of fighting in the house,” said Patrina Grella, 55.

Confidence in ballot integrity

Lawmakers and election board officials on Long Island and elsewhere in New York State say they’re not too worried about hackers breaking into election systems to tamper with voter rolls or results, reports Newsday’s Paul LaRocco.

They point to New York’s continued reliance on records and machines disconnected from the internet and backed up by paper.

What else is happening:

  • Clinton leads by 6 in the latest Politico/Morning Consult poll.
  • NBA star Lebron James gave an emotional endorsement to Clinton. 
  • Trump talked cyber-security Monday and called for a review of U.S. policy.
  • Bernie Sanders defended leaked comments that Clinton made about his young supporters at a February fundraiser as “children of the Great Recession” who “are living in their parents’ basement.” Trump’s campaign portrayed the remarks as an attack on Sanders’ backers.
  • The Washington Post did an in-depth examination of Hillary Clinton’s history of hands-on efforts to defend her husband and his career when womanizing allegations arose.
  • Almost 7 of 10 backers of third-party candidates aren’t locked in to their choices, and they are about evenly split between Clinton and Trump if they had to choose between those two, an AP-GfK poll found.
  • Republicans are anxious about Trump's latest public antics, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Clinton’s campaign collected more than $154 million in September, its best fundraising month.
  • Former President George W. Bush’s daughter Barbara showed up at a Clinton fundraiser in Paris.
  • Some Florida seniors who previously voted Republican are defecting to Clinton, the WSJ reports.
  • Did you miss the “Saturday Night Live” takeoff on last week’s debate at Hofstra University? You can check it out here.
  • Consultant Kellyanne Conway comes out a financial winner regardless of how her client Trump fares Nov. 8, Politico reports.