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It’s undebatable — Donald Trump is as baitable as ever

Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado criticizes Donald Trump

Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado criticizes Donald Trump at a news conference on June 15, 2016, in Arlington, Va. Machado's name came up during the first presidential debate between Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on Sept. 27, 2016. Credit: AP / Luis Alonso Lugo

Trump’s gender gamble

The best blackjack players at Donald Trump’s casinos knew there were good and bad times to double down. Does he?

Battling back at Hillary Clinton’s depiction of him as disrespectful to women, Trump used some of his last words in Monday night’s debate to tell America there was nothing wrong with hurling words like “fat” and “pig” in his celebrity feud with Rosie O’Donnell: “I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it.”

On Tuesday, calling in to “Fox and Friends,” he went after Alicia Machado, Miss Universe of 1996. “She gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem,” Trump maintains. “Not only that, her attitude.” (Video here.)

That was in response to Clinton telling Machado’s story of being called “Miss Piggy” and being publicly humiliated by pageant boss Trump over a weight gain she says he exaggerated.

The Clinton campaign organized a media interview blitz with Machado Tuesday and posted a video with her story.

Sound checks, not fact checks

Trump declared himself the winner of the debate — citing, among other less-than-sure-fire indicators, a viral #TrumpWon hashtag on Twitter that was used for snark against the Republican candidate as well as genuine praise.

But Trump also complained that he got tougher questions and a “very bad” microphone, reports Newsday’s Tom Brune.

Clinton ridiculed that comment. “Anyone who complains about a microphone is not having a good night,” she told reporters on her campaign plane. (Video here.)

Trump also blamed the mic for listeners thinking he constantly sniffled — he insisted he didn’t, though he did — which set off the kind of unsubstantiated speculation on health that Clinton has often faced.

Trump’s tax smarts: Priceless

Trump handed Clinton a new attack line — his debate brag “That makes me smart” about the years in which he is known to have paid no federal income taxes.

Clinton told supporters in North Carolina Tuesday that if Trump “not paying taxes makes him smart ... what does that make all the rest of us?”

Clinton continued, “This is a man who goes around calling our military a disaster. He probably hasn’t paid a penny to support our troops, or our vets or our schools.” See Laura Figueroa’s story for Newsday.

Trump’s zero-tax years were in the 1970s. What he has or hasn’t paid more recently is unknown because he won’t release his tax returns.

The take-away: Hangers-on at Hofstra

Many of New York’s power players were on the scene for the debate, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Newsday’s Dan Janison looks at their varying stakes in the White House race.

No more Mr. Nice Guy

Trump said of Clinton that he might “hit her harder” in their next encounter by raising the subject of former President Bill Clinton’s infidelities.

“I really eased up because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings,” Trump said on Fox News, adding he would have brought up “the many affairs that Bill Clinton had,” but held back because the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, was in the audience.

Republicans and Democrats alike believe such an attack would backfire, Politico reports.

Trump pitches change-up

At a rally in Melbourne, Florida, Trump stuck to one of his main themes from the debate — that he will bring change, and that Clinton’s experience is a liability, not an asset, reports Newsday’s Michael Gormley.

“She has been there for 26 years and hasn’t fixed anything,” Trump said at the Florida rally. “All talk and no action. Typical politician.”

What else is happening

  • Chelsea Clinton revealed in a Cosmopolitan interview she had not known her mother had pneumonia and believed Hillary Clinton just wanted to 'power through' the illness.
  • A record 83.8 million viewers saw Monday night’s debate on home TV, according to Nielsen, and most of them stayed with it for the full 90 minutes. The viewership number doesn’t include those who watched online or at parties, bars, restaurants and offices. See Verne Gay’s story for Newsday.
  • It will take a few more days to see reliable polling on what, if any, impact the Hofstra debate had on the race.
  • has an annotated transcript of the debate. Click on the highlighted sections for the fact checks.
  • All within 24 hours, Trump was for Lester Holt before he was against him.
  • Trump said his campaign raised $18 million online and in private fundraising during and after the debate.
  • A Chicago GOP financier helps to "win over donors who want to help Trump but are leery of having their names publicly associated" with him, Politico reports.
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump ally and cabinet hopeful, was told about the politically engineered traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge while it was underway in 2013 and seemed happy about it, a former loyalist testified.
  • Online polls are unreliable as a gauge of what most people are thinking, the Times reminds us.
  • Even among suburban women interviewed who dislike Clinton and found her smug and condescending, Trump left a sour impression.
  • Trump's Georgia campaign director quit after his criminal record surfaced


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