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Clinton, Trump brace for post-Labor Day campaign sprint

Hillary Clinton and her running mate Tim Kaine

Hillary Clinton and her running mate Tim Kaine at a campaign rally at Temple University in Philadelphia on Friday, July 29, 2016. Credit: AP / Matt Slocum

Make-or-break time looms

Labor Day has traditionally marked the final — and most hectic — leg of the campaign season.

With two months left to make their best sales pitch, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton are each beefing up their efforts to woo voters in early voting states, and prepare for a campaign-defining first debate at Hofstra University on Sept. 26.

Politico reports both campaigns “see September as the month that will make — or break — their candidate’s case for the White House.”

Early voting starts next week in North Carolina, and in the coming weeks, 37 states will allow voters to cast their ballots before Nov. 8.

As part of the push to court early voters, Clinton has opened more than 250 field offices in nine states, and has relied on a massive voter database used by thousands of campaign volunteers and paid staffers to fan out and mobilize voters, according to The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign told the AP it’s taking early voting seriously, and plans to open 24 more field offices on top of the 133 it currently has.

That still may not be enough, said Ryan Williams, a former senior staffer to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, who told AP that Trump’s recent hire of a national field director comes at a point in the race when most presidential campaigns would have had a whole field staff in place.

“A campaign with a superior voting operation can make a difference, and right now Donald Trump has shown little sign of organization,” Williams said.

Will Trump one-liners play in debate?

The one-liners that helped Trump stand out in the crowded Republican primary debates may not play as well in his first one-on-one debate against Hillary Clinton.

Republican and Democratic campaign strategists told Newsday’s Emily Ngo that the 90-minute debate format at Hofstra University on Sept. 26 will leave more time to fill and make it harder for Trump to wield the zingers that worked in the primary debates.

One Trump campaign surrogate is hoping both candidates stick to the issues.

JuanPablo Andrade, a Kings Park resident serving as an adviser to Trump’s National Diversity Coalition, said he expects both Clinton and Trump will stick to substance.

“I really don’t think that the attacks will get personal and I really hope they don’t, because that’s really not want people want,” said Andrade. “People want to get down to the facts and the issues and what the candidates will do.”

Sanders: Debate threshold “too high”

Bernie Sanders said the polling requirements for third-party candidates to participate in the fall debates should be reconsidered.

Sanders, during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, was asked if he thought the 15 percent national polling threshold established by the Presidential Commission on Debates was a “fair metric.”

“Probably too high,” said the runner-up for the Democratic presidential nomination. “Probably should be lower than that.”

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has racked up double-digit numbers in some national polls, but none yet above the 15 percent requirement established by the commission in 2000.

Sanders will stump for Clinton in New Hampshire on Monday — marking the first time he has hit the campaign trail for his former primary rival since endorsing her in July.

Swing-state paper endorses Johnson

Johnson picked up an endorsement from Virginia’s Richmond-Times Dispatch.

The newspaper’s editorial board has traditionally endorsed Republican candidates — siding with Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008 — but opted to go this year with Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico.

“Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton meets the fundamental moral and professional standards we have every right to expect of an American president,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote.

What else is happening

  • Can Trump get Mexico to pay for a border wall? No — according to 13 percent of voters polled by ABC News.
  • Reporters who have been trailing the Clinton campaign will start traveling aboard her campaign plane after months of the traveling press pool being kept at bay.
  • Rudy Giuliani said Clinton acted “intentionally and with criminal intent” in her use of a private email server.
  • Trump and Giuliani have become “two peas in a pod” in a political friendship that has endured since the 1980s, reports Wayne Barrett in the Daily News.

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