A performance-enhancing issue?
Attacking Obamacare is often good Election Day medicine for Republicans. In 2010, after Congress passed the legislation, the GOP took control of the House. In 2014, following a bumbling rollout for the health insurance system, the GOP won a majority in Senate.
However, the issue lacked the potency to propel Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012.
Now Donald Trump, needing a game-changer, is seizing upon news of sharp premium hikes for 2017 as proof “Obamacare is just blowing up” and he vowed to repeal it if elected. But can Trump persuade voters he has better ideas and isn’t over-promising?
“You’re going to have such great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost, and it is going to be so easy,” Trump told a rally in Sanford, Florida, on Tuesday.
Hillary Clinton told a Miami radio station she had plans to tackle the cost increases and said that if Trump prevailed, insurance companies would be in control and “costs will just skyrocket.”
Mother of all battlegrounds
Clinton has held a small but consistent lead in Florida — 3.1 points in the RealClearPolitics polling average. It will be virtually impossible for Trump to win the election without turning that around, which is why both he and Clinton are spending a lot of time there in the campaign’s closing weeks.
Among the signs pointing Clinton’s way: More absentee ballots are coming in from Democrats than in the past, Politico says. The GOP organization is focusing more on other party candidates instead of Trump, reports McClatchy newspapers.
Bloomberg News notes the influx of heavily pro-Democratic Puerto Rican voters to central Florida from the economically distressed island.
Powell: I’m with her
When Colin Powell visited Long Island in August for a Hamptons charity event, he made sure a reporter heard how irritated he was about Clinton’s story that her use of a private email server at the State Department was partly the result of his advice.
“Her people have been trying to pin it on me,” Powell said.
It sounds like he’s gotten over it or past it. Powell told a Long Island Association luncheon in Woodbury Tuesday that he will vote for Clinton. “I think she is fully qualified to serve as the president of the United States and will serve it with distinction,” he said.
And Trump? “He insults us every day.” See Robert Brodsky’s story for Newsday.
The take-away: Winning look
In the closing weeks, each candidate is trying to look like the likely winner and get their supporters to believe them, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison. It’s about keeping up morale, voter enthusiasm and cash flow from donors.
Clinton: Trump a threat
Addressing a rally at Broward College in Coconut Creek, Florida, Clinton cast Trump as a “serious” threat to democracy for refusing to say at last week’s presidential debate that he would respect the results of the Nov. 8 election.
She called his response “horrifying,” and “unprecedented,” Newsday’s Laura Figueroa reports.
Underscoring Florida’s importance, Clinton will hold events in West Palm Beach and Tampa on Wednesday. President Barack Obama heads there Friday for an Orlando appearance and on Saturday, Jennifer Lopez will perform at a free “Get Out The Vote” concert in Miami.
Trump: I’m your last chance
At his airport tarmac rally in Sanford, Trump warned voters he is their only salvation, reports Newsday’s Michael Gormley.
“This is the last time we are going to have a chance,” he said. “In four years, it’s over, you don’t have a chance. ... You don’t even have little bit of a chance.”
He cast Clinton as a threat to the nation. “The criminal conduct of Hillary Clinton threatens the foundations of democracy. I mean that,” he said. Trump’s full-court press put him on local talk radio and four appearances in two days in Florida, including an evening rally in Tallahassee.
Aide ripped Clinton email stall
The WikiLeaks hack of Clinton campaign emails revealed longtime confidante Neera Tanden complained that figures from her State Department inner circle should have made her use of a private server known long before it became a scandal.
Tanden’s exchange with campaign chairman John Podesta cast blame on Clinton’s chief of staff at State, Cheryl Mills, as well as lawyer David Kendall and aide Philippe Reines.
“Why didn’t they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy,” Tanden wrote to campaign chairman John Podesta, who replied “unbelievable.” Tanden then wrote: “I guess I know the answer. They wanted to get away with it.”
What else is happening
- Trump said in an interview with Reuters that Clinton’s plan for Syria would “lead to World War III” because of the potential for conflict with Russia.
- A super PAC led by Bill Bradley, the former senator and New York Knick, is running an anti-Trump ad with footage of nuclear bomb blasts and the warning: “Be careful who you vote for.”
- Undeterred by fact, Trump keeps repeating the clear, proven fiction that his opponent unilaterally "handed over" American uranium rights to Russia.
- From Tuesday swing state polls: A New York Times Upshot/Siena College survey has Clinton ahead 7 points in North Carolina. Monmouth University puts Trump up by 1 point in Arizona.
- The Trump campaign has spent more on hats ($3.2 million) than polling ($1.8 million), The Washington Post reports.
- Another WikiLeaks-hacked email shows strategist Luke Albee telling Podesta of Clinton: “She sometimes laughs a little too hard at jokes that aren’t that funny.” Podesta replies that it’s “her authentic weirdness.”
- Trump muffed his first attack Tuesday on Obamacare. Surrounded by workers at his Doral resort, he said, “All of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare.” The Doral general manager later clarified that 95 percent of the club’s employees are on company-provided insurance.
- An ABC News tracking poll finds 46% of likely voters see the election as a source of stress in their lives. The suffering is roughly equal among Clinton and Trump supporters.
- Following the dictum of "sell, sell, sell," Trump keeps bringing his press retinue to brand-name sites he's trying to promote that have nothing to do with the citizenry or the presidency.
- Clinton’s 69th birthday is Wednesday.