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Clinton enters fall with key advantages in White House race

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Phone volunteer James McMillian of Newark, Ohio, makes a call seeking support for Hillary Clinton at the Ohio Together Hillary Clinton campaign office in Newark, Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio >> Two months from Election Day, Hillary Clinton has a clear edge over Donald Trump in nearly every measure traditionally used to gauge success in presidential races.

She’s raising huge sums of money and flooding airwaves with television advertisements. A sophisticated data team with a history of winning White House contests is meticulously tracking voters in key battleground states. Clinton also has multiple paths to the 270 electoral votes needed to win in November — so many that she could lose Ohio and Florida and still become America’s first female president.

But Trump’s campaign believes there are pockets of voters eager to be persuaded not to back Clinton. While Trump squandered a summer’s worth of opportunities to court those voters, his campaign heads into the fall suddenly confident in its ability to make up lost ground.

Trump aides were gleeful Friday over the release of FBI notes regarding Clinton’s controversial email practices while secretary of state. His campaign plans to come out of the Labor Day weekend wielding the report as a warning about the Democrat’s judgment.

Getting Trump to make that kind of consistent case against Clinton has been a herculean task for much of the campaign. But advisers say he’s more receptive to his new leadership team’s more scripted approach, mostly because it’s coincided with a tightening in the public polls he monitors obsessively.

“There’s a renewed focus on Hillary Clinton and her problems, which I think has been beneficial,” said Matt Borges, the chairman of Ohio’s Republican Party. “He’s got to sustain this for another couple weeks.”

Still, Trump aides acknowledge that the brash businessman needs to more to address his own shaky standing with voters.

Trump’s campaign has spent no general election money on positive, biographical ads, despite having plenty of cash to do so. Efforts to highlight a warmer side of the New York real estate developer at the GOP convention were quickly overshadowed by flaps of his own making. He’s also angered anew Hispanics voters, a fast-growing segment of the electorate that Republicans are desperate to draw from, by holding fast to his tough immigration policies.

“He’s running up against a population trend and a demographic reality,” said Steve Schale, a Florida-based Democratic strategist.

If Trump can reshape the race, he’ll need to do so quickly. Early voting begins in some states this month. North Carolinians can start submitting absentee ballots Friday. In Ohio — a state no Republican has won the White House without — people can start voting on Oct. 12, a week before the last of three presidential debates.

Both campaigns expect enormous audiences for the debates. Clinton, who has been in intensive study sessions with her debate team in recent days, is sure to face higher expectations from voters. Trump’s political inexperience leaves him with a lower bar to clear.

Privately, Republican leaders say it will take more than strong debates for their nominee to alter a race that appears to be leaning in Clinton’s favor. While Trump publicly maintains support from numerous high-ranking GOP officials, a striking number of discussions among Republicans in Washington often begin with an assumption that Clinton will be president come January.

Trump advisers vigorously dispute that the race has slipped from their grasp. They contend most Americans are just now tuning into the presidential campaign in a serious way.

“We’re very much on schedule to do what we need to do to turn out the vote for Mr. Trump,” said Bob Paduchik, Trump’s Ohio state director and one of the most experienced operatives on the Republican’s staff. Paduchik said Trump’s efforts heading into the fall are focused primarily on rallying “disaffected Democrats and independents.”

Clinton’s campaign has long argued that Trump is overestimating the number of voters willing to switch from voting Democratic in presidential election to Republican. But Clinton aides are monitoring movement toward a pair of third party candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

“There’s no question you’ve got two candidates who are both underwater on their favorables right now,” Joel Benenson, Clinton’s chief strategist and pollster, said by way of explaining the appeal of Johnson and Stein. “I think it’s important as this gets closer that people understand the stakes and the importance of their vote.”

Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine will have an all-star stable of Democrats making that case on their behalf through the fall.

President Barack Obama is expected to spend much of October campaigning for Clinton, focusing in particular on increasing turnout among young people, blacks and college-educated whites. Vice President Joe Biden will camp out in working class areas of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s vanquished primary rival, will be rallying the young voters and liberals who backed his campaign.

Trump will be largely on his own, with the exception of running mate Mike Pence and a few loyal supporters such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In the battle for control of the Senate, most Republicans in competitive races have stayed away from Trump.

Democrats now see a clear path to taking back control of the Senate, with party leaders identifying Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as favorable opportunities to pick up seats. Democrats are also confident that if Clinton wins in some of the most contested state such as New Hampshire, North Carolina and Nevada, she’ll bring along the party’s Senate candidates.

There are bright spots for Republicans in the Senate contests. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio is running a campaign that mirrors Clinton’s more than Trump’s — disciplined, well-funded, and heavily centered on data — and appears on track to hold his seat, even if Clinton carries the state in the presidential race.

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      • You’ve been saying that over and over and over again about every possible manufactured charge. And then over again. And then you lied over and over about her being ill.

        How has that worked out for you so far? Looks to me like Mrs. Clinton is still in the race and is actually winning.

        Oh well! Might as well get used to President Hillary Clinton. Probably for eight years.

        • It is totally wrong to say that charges are “manufactured” against Hillary. Benghaziz is not manufactured. The reckless behavior with her illegal server is not manufactured. Wiping her server clean, two weeks after the request was made for her emails, is not manufactured. Ging from broke to over 100 million is not manufactured. Saying “I can’t recall” over 40 times when asked about her training on Classified document procedures is not manufactured. If the Dept of Justice were not protecting her, she’d be in big trouble. Just how much corruption is acceptable? Out of 300 million people can’t we find someone with more integrity? How about her record in the mid -east? Russia, libya, and the rest. Please, manufactured charges? I don’t think so.

        • Lock her up. Just love the democrats supporting a criminal for president. Typical release of documents on a Friday afternoon before a holiday. How can she receive classified briefings when she can’t possibly pass a background check? Bernie and Donald are correct when they say the election is fixed. “Make America Great Again”

        • Corporal22 relax and take a deep breath. The game is over. The fat lady has sung more than once and you are sounding more like lespark which is not good.

        • Klastri, you seemed to have overlooked the FBI report that shows Mrs. Clinton was not able to recall significant and key details as Secretary of State. She invoked the “do not recall” response 26 times and she even said she had no recollection of any briefings after her fall in December 2012 that left her with a concussion. If that does not suggest she is ill or suffers from a brain injury, what does it suggest? Do you really want a president who can’t remember from day to day?

        • Ronin006 – People aren’t buying what you’re selling. You can persist with the nonsense or give it up. Your choice.

        • I don’t recall Ronin previously mentioning FBI reports. I don’t remember mentioning Classified emails and the Clinton Foundation either. Do you believe it????

      • Anyone who believed Donald when he said again and again that Obama was born in Kenya–even after the Hawaii birth certificate was published–is an ld1ot.

        If you believed the birther conspiracy theory, you should never post comments.

        If you don’t believe the birther conspiracy theory, you realize what an ld1ot Trump is.

        Therefore, anyone still touting Trump is an ld1ot. Truth.

        • “Donald when he said again and again that Obama was born in Kenya”

          Not really, someone else started it and he brought it up as a question to be answered.

          Early on, there were other “birthers”. From what I read the list included Hillary and John MCcain.

    • Mrs. Clinton’s major advantage is that the press and google are on her campaign team.

      Trump aides were gleeful Friday over the release of FBI notes regarding Clinton’s controversial email practices while secretary of state and the fact that they are tied in multiple national polls.

      • Old and boring story. Do you think the FBI would be releasing this information if they were planning to file criminal charges against her. The Chump is getting his as- kicked and his supporters have no other defense then to whine about the emails. The dummy is no help flip flopping like a pancake on steroids.

        • Only boring if you don’t know about it. She used “I can’t recall” 43 times to excuse her conduct.

    • Now you’re a psychoanalysts. I’ll have a go myself. Mr. Trump is fortunate to be running against a profoundly incompetent, characterless schlub. Go ahead, Sigmund, look it up. It’s a perfect fit.

  • Many of you progressives are environmentalists and care deeply about mother earth. It’s time to out your money where your mouth is and vote for Stein. Jill Stein will not allow greedy capitalists to continue destroying our home. She will see to it that our children inherit a world free from GMO’s fossil fuels, and unchecked development. She will heal the planet unlike Mrs. Clinton who is beholden to moneyed interests (boy is that ever an understatement). Remember a vote for Jill Stein is a vote for planet earth.

    • A vote for Ms. Stein may be a vote for planet earth but it certainly will not, unfortunately, be a vote for our next president. Protest votes are great unless the stakes are very high as they are this time around. The US and planet earth both need Mrs. Clinton. Do you honestly believe that The Donald will do anything for our environment? It’s better to pick the lesser of two evils. Ms. Stein could never win and you know that, don’t you? Forget the soapbox and come back down to earth.

      • I disagree 110%. The folks are ready for change they just need a charismatic candidate who looks out for them. We know Hillary looks out for herself and the ultra-rich who fund her candidacy. Jill Stein is motivated by other less selfish pursuits. And let’s not forget the historical significance of electing a woman to the WH. A woman who is healthy and still has a functional memory. Don’t lose hope people, Jill will save us. In the immortal words of Theodor Herzl “If you will it, it is no dream.”

        • CEI it looks like you finally woke up and jumped off the Chumps sinking ship. Only problem is that chose to land on an infants floatation device. Talk about bad choices.

      • Please, please , please! Let’s not miss this opportunity to reverse melting glaciers and lower sea levels not to mention saving the whales and cuddly polar bears. All caring democrats should do some serious soul-searching before choosing a candidate. Jill Stein is the planet’s last best hope. Do you want destruction of our only home on your head because you selfishly vote for Clinton over Stein? “Hillary’s greed runs a world in need”

        • The experts say a vote for Jill would be a waste of your vote because she does not have a chance. However, since we live in Hawaii, our votes have no meaning anyway. We only have four for the whole state and the winner is already declared before the polls close. Maybe a vote for Jill could be a statement.

      • I hope you’re not falling for the carbon tax scam. Hillary is all for income redistribution. Climate change is the quickest way to reduce our (except for Hillary and her colleagues in crime) wealth as a nation. First, you do not need a “middleman” such as Al Gore to address climate change and collect carbon tax dollars. Secondly, any resolution must apply to all countries, not the U.S. “setting examples” . Finally, Trump, as a business person I would suspect would take a logical approach to cleaning the environment without losing jobs or wealth, such as tax incentives, etc., all the means that made the U.S. great to begin with, and not more government socialistic approaches. Those approaches aren’t efficient and will lower the standard of living. Hillary knows this, but she’s counting on you not knowing. Trump would be a far better choice for anyone concerned about the environment and our economy. And, by the way, every single Black or Hispanic should vote for Trump if they are concerned about their well being.

  • as the female felon stated in the fbi investigation: she had a concussion, a blood clot, and based on her doctor’s advice she only worked a few hours a day while secretary of state, and her selective memory failures affected her recall of security briefings and training sessions on handling classified information.

    her frequent bouts of fatigue, fainting and dizzy spells, falls, broken bones, confusion and spastic seizures coupled with her own testimony to the fbi are critical mental and physical issues that spotlight her inability to serve as president of the united states.

    the female felon refuses to meet the press in an open forum under the guise of avoiding questions about her criminal money laundering foundation and the mishandling of classified information when in reality open public and media forums are avoided to cloak her multiple failing health issues.

    • Hillary’s health has been a concern among her inner circle for some time now. However she has a lot of debts to repay and a lot of privileged people owe their existence to the Clinton machine. So poor health be damned the DNC ramrodded her into the nominee position. This is why no other credible democrat emerged in the primary process. She did have a handful of competitors but they were all clowns and that’s an insult to legitimate clowns. There are probably a lot of deep pocketed “donors” with their fingers crossed right now. They are expecting some play for their pay and may end up empty handed if Trump wins the election.

    • That illness nonsense is the best you can do? Really? The thing is … no matter how often you lie about that, it won’t come true. That’s not the way it works.

      “I love the poorly educated!” Go Trump!

  • hiLIARy’s Health issue along with her Lies will overwhelm her in the end. Good always wins in the end…beating Ev_l.
    Trump Pence 2016
    “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”
    #MAGM

  • Obama was greeted with cheers as he told the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia: “There has never been a man or woman, not me, not Bill (Clinton) – nobody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States.
    In the bag. Nothing to worry about.
    Don’t know why she’s getting all upset. Taking money from the Russians and insulting Putin. No wonder we got problems all over the World. Insults Nigel, paid off by every Middle Eastern and African country with money. Fixed up her band of Soros. Pays Chelsea millions to suckle her daughter. Lies on a daily basis.
    Once she gets in to the White House the American people won’t know what hit em. Pay Up! And it will cost you double.

  • The Clingons are enjoying an insurmountable lead in the polls, assuring the Clingon Campaign a crushing victory come November 8. Unless they can find some support the Trump Campaign will have to start shutting down operations.
    By executive order the POTUS banned free speech, abolished the 2nd Amendment, erased on emails and shut down government email until after the election.

  • The AP is going to have to do better than this smoke and mirror cheerleader story. The new LA Times poll has the Donald up 3 points and on an upward trend. Hillary’s handlers have her under wraps as much as possible. The only people she comes into contact are boot lickers and the ultra-rich. Meanwhile Donald is out meeting the regular folks. She is looking more fatigued by the day. Next time she flies commercial she’s going to have to check the bags under her eyes ’cause they definitely won’t fit in the overhead bin. Not looking’ good for democrats.

    • Not voting for neither of these two. Voting for Gary Johnson means voting with a conscience free and peaceful nights. On the other hand. voting for the other two whose polluted and disgusting histories would surely give me a lifetime of nightmares!!

      • WOM, with due respect, a vote for former New Mexico’s Governor Gary Johnson is truly the destruction of the United States as most of us know it. For certain a vote for Johnson is not conscience free and peaceful. And, worst is casting a vote for Ms Hillary.

  • the female felon’s many failing health issues are the reasons she avoids many press and public appearances even as polls show the combover narrowing the gap.

    the congenital liar’s handlers can’t risk exposing her bouts of confusion, fatigue, spasms, short circuits, fainting and selective loss of memory before the first live broadcast debate takes place with the combover.

    • Today, Trump is “walking back” his categorical statement that he never talked to Bondi. Today’s story is that he meant to say that he never talked to her about Trump University. However, it should be noted that his spokesperson didn’t deny that Trump and Bondi spoke about the illegal donation. The Trump Foundation made that donation to a Bondi-supporting PAC just 4 days after she announced that she was considering joining the New York State lawsuit. Then, and we’re supposed to believe that it was merely a coincidence, Bondi decided not to pursue a lawsuit against Trump University. A foundation’s donation to any political campaign is illegal, but this is clearly pay-for-play, and so was the payoff to the Texas AG who decided shelve a lawsuit after being paid off by Trump. So, Trump lied about the events leading up to his illegal donation to Bondi, and today his campaign can’t seem to come up with a consistent, believable story.

  • It’s people like Keaukaha, Klastri, Ike and a few other Beach Bullies who like to throw their weight behind this post that keep her in the game. The same kind of people who think Kenoi is innocent. Korruption.
    Keep on talking because that’s just that much more sh-t you are going to have to eat.

    • You’re lying, of course. I never said Mr. Kenoi was innocent. I said, correctly, that he will be found not guilty.

      You are unable to be truthful about anything, ever.

  • Today, the Dallas Morning News, which has endorsed every Republican candidate since 1964, published a blistering editorial which concluded, “Trump doesn’t reflect Republican ideals of the past; we are certain he shouldn’t reflect the GOP of the future. Donald Trump is not qualified to serve as president and does not deserve your vote.”

  • Stronger together. Crooked Hilliary will win in a landslide. Send money to Clinton Cash. Clingons, sell or reverse mortgage your house.
    Don’t listen to the media. They are Pro Trump.

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