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Long IslandPolitics

Donald Trump tries to ride Obamacare woes to the lead

Hillary Clinton and former Miss Universe Alicia Machado

Hillary Clinton and former Miss Universe Alicia Machado greet the crowd at a campaign rally on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, in Dade City, Fla. Credit: AP / Chris O’Meara

Trump: Bye bye, Obamacare

Hillary Clinton’s lead began to shrink before polls began measuring the impact of the revived FBI probe of her State Department email server. Could the announcement nine days ago of premium hikes in 2017 for Obamacare coverage be a big reason?

Donald Trump seems to be betting that the issue has new potency. “Obamacare is a catastrophe,” he said in a speech Tuesday in suburban Philadelphia.

He vowed if elected to immediately call upon Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“What good is a health care plan if you can’t afford to use it?” asked running mate Mike Pence, who joined Trump at the event. “We can’t trust Hillary Clinton with our health care any more than we can trust her with classified information,” Pence said.

Trump was still light on specifics on his alternative. Read Emily Ngo’s story for Newsday.

Obama: Blacks must vote or get Trump-ed

African-American turnout in Florida’s early voting has been short of the pace set by Barack Obama in 2012, Politico reports. Democrats there saw better news in a surge of early Hispanic voters.

Clinton has added to her schedule a get-out-the-vote rally Friday in Detroit, suggesting concern about protecting her long-standing lead in Michigan, where Trump held a rally Monday. Her campaign is buying ads there and in Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico and Michigan — all states that have seemed out of Trump’s reach.

On Wednesday Obama appeared in a pre-recorded version of the Tom Joyner Morning Show in which he said: "I’m going to be honest with you right now. The Latino vote is up. The overall vote is up. But the African-American vote, right now, is not as solid as it needs to be."

"I need everyone to understand that everything we’ve done is dependent on me being able to pass the baton to somebody who believes in the same things I do."

"If you really care about my presidency and what we’ve accomplished, then you are going to go and vote."

The Russian front

Clinton’s campaign is trying to focus attention on Trump’s friendly stance toward Vladimir Putin. A tweetstorm from her team Monday night passed along stories of varying credibility on suspicions of covert Russian election mischief.

The FBI has conducted multiple investigations of alleged Russian connections with Trump, his campaign or his backers, but hasn’t so far found any criminal links, CNN reported.

The U.S. government has publicly accused senior levels of Russian government of being behind hacks on Democratic groups and the release of sensitive documents online.

What’s solid is in public view: that Trump has called for making nice with Putin, admired him as a “strong leader,” given Russia unearned credit for fighting ISIS in Syria and bad-mouthed the NATO alliance.

Clinton: He disrespects women

Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe who says Trump verbally abused her for a weight gain, spoke at a south Florida rally with Clinton to buttress the Democrat’s denunciation there of Trump’s record of “demeaning, degrading and assaulting women.”

Clinton called him a “bully” who “thinks belittling women makes him a bigger man.” See Yancey Roy’s story for Newsday.

The appearance coincided with a new Clinton ad playing back Trump comments. In one, he says, “Putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing.” In another, Trump replies, “I can’t say that” when asked if he treats women with respect.

The take-away: Yes, excuses

While we don’t know who’s going to win, the excuses and explanations for the loser can already be scripted. Having the two most unpopular candidates ever makes for long lists. See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.

State of the race

The website FiveThirtyEight’s election forecasters, weighing polling and other data, rated Clinton’s chance of winning the election as of Tuesday night at 69.7% and Trump’s at 30.3%.

That’s a doubling of how Trump’s prospects were rated on Oct. 17, when the spread was 85.3% for Clinton and 14.7% for her opponent.

What else is happening

  • Clinton, Trump and allied groups have lined up thousands of lawyers to monitor voting and possibly challenge election results across the country, Bloomberg News reports.
  • Days after it put out word of the email probe, the FBI posted online heavily redacted files from its 2001 investigation of President Bill Clinton’s pardon of financier Marc Rich. That probe ended with no charges. The FBI said an automated Twitter account posted the files, which shed no new light.
  • Counsel in the civil case of a "Jane Doe" who says Trump raped her when she was 13 are due to confer in Manhattan federal court on Dec. 16.
  • Newsday’s 2016 Voters Guide is now online, with profiles of every candidate and proposition on Long Island ballots.
  • Will someone go positive? That's one of the questions lingering for the final six days of the campaign. 
  • Clinton in Florida urged her fans to "stage an intervention" with Trump voters.
  • Trump's foreign financial ties would pose unprecedented conflicts if and when he takes office, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • For a fourth straight day, Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin, stayed away from the campaign trail while the FBI continued to sift through emails on a laptop she used along with her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.
  • Before he began denouncing Weiner as a “perv,” Trump was a donor. He gave $4,300 in 2007 and 2010 to Weiner’s congressional runs, and $150 to a City Council race in 1997.
  • A federal judge is weighing whether to temporarily suspend the enforcement of a state law that prohibits New York voters from sharing their completed ballot via “selfies” on social media, Newsday’s Laura Figueroa reports.

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