Saturday, December 4, 2021

Race tightening, Clinton revives Trump-women issue

By on November 1, 2016

 

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes the stage with Alicia Machado, who won the Miss Universe pageant in 1996, to speak at a  campaign rally at Pasco-Hernando State College in Dade City, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes the stage with Alicia Machado, who won the Miss Universe pageant in 1996, to speak at a campaign rally at Pasco-Hernando State College in Dade City, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. – With just a week to go and the race for the White House tightening, Hillary Clinton unleashed a new offensive against Donald Trump on Tuesday, pushing the Republican’s vulgar and sexist comments back to the forefront. Trump strove to blend a quieter, presidential tone with his usual tough rhetoric, warning that a Clinton victory would “destroy American health care forever.”

The White House contenders clashed from afar – Democrat Clinton in battleground Florida and Trump in Pennsylvania – with the sprint to next Tuesday’s finish well underway.

“For my entire life, I’ve been a woman,” Clinton, who would be the nation’s first female president, declared in battleground Florida. “And when I think about what we now know about Donald Trump and what he’s been doing for 30 years, he sure has spent a lot of time demeaning, degrading, insulting and assaulting women.”

Trump has faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct in recent weeks, complicating his efforts to win over women in both parties. He has denied them all.

For Trump, the day’s first appearance marked a sharp shift from his standard brash tone as he delivered carefully scripted remarks focused on health care. He cautioned that Clinton’s plan to strengthen “Obamacare” would lead to dire consequences, although he offered few specifics about his own plan.

“If we don’t repeal and replace Obamacare, we will destroy American health care forever,” Trump charged.

He also promised, if elected, to call a special session of Congress to replace the law. However, Congress would already be in session when the next president takes office, raising the question of just what he meant.

Still, frustrated Republicans were encouraged that Trump was focusing on policy prescriptions – for one afternoon, at least – after a roller-coaster campaign marked by self-created controversy and political missteps.

Clinton worked to ensure voters would not forget Trump’s most damaging moments six days before the election.

Alicia Machado, a former beauty queen who Trump previously described as “Miss Piggy,” introduced the Democratic nominee before her appearance in central Florida.

“He was cruel,” Machado said of Trump’s criticism of her weight. “For years afterward I was sick, fighting back eating disorders.”

Trump spent several days in late September assailing the winner of his 1996 Miss Universe pageant and encouraging his Twitter followers to view her “sex tape,” although none exists.

The Machado appearance was in line with Clinton’s broader closing argument against Trump.

“He thinks belittling women makes him a bigger man,” Clinton said. “He doesn’t see us as full human beings.”

Clinton also unveiled a television ad set to run in eight battleground states, including his remark caught in a 2005 video that he kissed women and grabbed their genitals without permission.

Meanwhile, both sides continued to spar over the recent revelation that FBI investigators are again probing Clinton’s email practices.

A lawyer for Clinton aide Huma Abedin said Tuesday that her client learned from media reports last Friday that a laptop belonging to her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner, might contain some of her emails. The attorney said Abedin has not been contacted by the FBI about the development and she will cooperate if asked.

The revelation has put Democrats on the defensive, at least briefly, and hurt Clinton’s plans to promote a positive message over the campaign’s final week.

“The Trump campaign is on the offensive and we’re expanding our map,” Trump aide David Bossie said, suggesting the campaign now sees opportunities to compete in traditional Democratic states such as New Mexico and Michigan.

Yet few Republican or Democratic operatives view the email news as a game-changer in the race for Senate control. The balance of power in Congress could have profound consequences for the future of health care in America, among other policy debates.

Trump on Tuesday promised to replace the federal health care law with health care savings accounts, while allowing states to craft their own Medicaid programs to cover the poor.

The nonpartisan Center for Health and Economy determined this summer that Trump’s proposal would lower premiums significantly for policies purchased directly by consumers but also make 18 million people uninsured. The nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund predicted that 20 million people would lose coverage under Trump’s plan while Clinton’s would add coverage for 9 million.

Trump on Tuesday seized on projections of sharp health care cost increases as he campaigned in Pennsylvania, a state where some premiums are expected to rise by more than 40 percent. He was introduced by his running mate Mike Pence, who expanded Medicaid coverage as part of Obama’s law as Indiana governor.

Pence called Obamacare “a crushing weight” on the American economy. “We’re going to pull it off the market so it stops burning up our wallets,” he declared.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has been silent on Trump’s candidacy in recent weeks, told Fox News that electing Clinton and a Democratic-controlled Congress would be “the worst of all possible things.”

“For those of us who lived through the 1990s, it’s sort of a feeling like deja vu,” Ryan said. “This is what life with the Clintons looks like. It’s always a scandal, then there’s an investigation.”

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