Clin­ton re­turns; Trump talks GDP

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA -

Hil­lary Clin­ton got back on the cam­paign trail on Thurs­day af­ter tak­ing three days off for pneumonia, and the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date faced a more chal­leng­ing po­lit­i­cal land­scape, with Repub­li­can rival Don­ald Trump ris­ing in opinion polls.

Se­nior Clin­ton aides said they al­ways ex­pected the Nov 8 elec­tion to be a close con­test. But it was clear from a raft of new polls that Trump had halted a sum­mer swoon af­ter tak­ing steps to give a less free­wheel­ing, more pol­ished per­for­mance on the stump.

Clin­ton, 68, ap­peared in good health on a visit to her cam­paign plane’s press cabin while fly­ing to Greens­boro, North Carolina, for a rally where she sought to re­fo­cus her cam­paign on the plight of the work­ing class — which has turned out to be a po­tent theme for Trump.

Leav­ing the stage to the tune of James Brown’s “I feel good”, Clin­ton told re­porters she kept her pneumonia di­ag­no­sis on Sept 9, telling only se­nior staff, be­cause she thought she would be able to “power through” the ill­ness and keep cam­paign­ing.

“From my per­spec­tive, I thought I was go­ing to be fine and I thought that there was no rea­son to make a big fuss about it,” she said.

On Sun­day, Clin­ton nearly col­lapsed while leav­ing a cer­e­mony mark­ing the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist at­tacks in New York.

Her ill­ness co­in­cided with a mini-surge by Trump, who has drawn even or taken a slight lead in na­tional polls. Polls in bat­tle­ground states where the race is likely to be de­cided showed Trump now lead­ing in Iowa, Ohio, Florida and Ne­vada, and tied in North Carolina.

Fol­low­ing her ap­pear­ance in North Carolina, Clin­ton was sched­uled to ap­pear at a Washington din­ner.

“We al­ways ex­pected the race to tighten up; we still feel like we’re in a strong po­si­tion with or­ga­ni­za­tional ad­van­tage in Florida and Ohio,” Clin­ton cam­paign chair­man JohnPod-esta told re­porters on Thurs­day. “They call these states bat­tle­grounds for a rea­son.”

In a speech at the New York Eco­nomic Club, Trump stuck to his script, avoid­ing the more im­pro­vi­sa­tional style that has pro­duced con­tro­ver­sies.

Trump pushed a pack­age of tax cuts he said would help push the US econ­omy to an an­nual growth rate of 3.5 per­cent.

The New York busi­ness­man said his goal would be 4 per­cent growth. Trump said the growth would gen­er­ate 25 mil­lion new jobs.

His eco­nomic pack­age res­ur­rected a decades-old de­bate on whether tax cuts can gen­er­ate sus­tain­able growth. But the over­ar­ch­ing im­pres­sion left by his speech was one of Trump talk­ing about sub­stan­tive is­sues and avoid­ing the friv­o­lous.

Bob Shrum, a Demo­cratic strate­gist who man­aged 2004 can­di­date John Kerry’s un­suc­cess­ful cam­paign, said Clin­ton re­mained the fa­vorite to win the White House, with de­mo­graphic changes fa­vor­ing her over Trump, who is re­liant on white vot­ers.

What has hurt Clin­ton, Shrum said, is not the time taken off from the cam­paign trail but rather her de­ci­sion to keep her di­ag­no­sis se­cret un­til forced to dis­close it — which re­in­forced a per­cep­tion among vot­ers that she has a pen­chant for se­crecy.

“Fairly or un­fairly, what this was taken as was more ev­i­dence that she was not trans­par­ent and that’s what hurts her,” Shrum said. “She been far more trans­par­ent than Trump, but she hasn’t got­ten any credit for it.”

Democrats have sought to pres­sure Trump to re­lease his tax re­turns, but the Repub­li­can has said he will not re­lease them un­til a fed­eral gov­ern­ment au­dit has been com­pleted. Clin­ton has re­leased her tax records.

With the can­di­dates’ health in the spot­light, Trump, 70, on Thurs­day re­leased de­tails of a re­cent phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion, a day af­ter Clin­ton re­leased specifics on her med­i­cal con­di­tion.

Trump’s cam­paign said the re­sults of his phys­i­cal showed he has nor­mal cholesterol with the help of a statin drug, weighs 236 pounds (107 kg) and has nor­mal blood pres­sure.

In a not-so-sub­tle slap at Clin­ton, the Trump cam­paign said his med­i­cal re­port showed he “has the stamina to en­dure — un­in­ter­rupted — the rig­ors of a pun­ish­ing and un­prece­dented pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and, more im­por­tantly, the sin­gu­larly de­mand­ing job of pres­i­dent of the United States.”

Trump also ap­peared on the “Dr. Oz Show” to dis­cuss his health in an in­ter­view with host Mehmet Oz, a sur­geon.

Top Clin­ton aide Jen­nifer Palmieri said “one up­side” of Clin­ton’s un­planned break was the chance to “sharpen the fi­nal ar­gu­ment Clin­ton will present to vot­ers in these clos­ing weeks”.

“Our cam­paign read­ily ad­mits that run­ning against a can­di­date as con­tro­ver­sial as Don­ald Trump means it is harder to be heard on what you as­pire for the coun­try’s fu­ture, and it is in­cum­bent on us to work harder,” Palmieri said in a statement.

REUTERS

Hil­lary Clin­ton re­turned to the cam­paign trail in Greens­boro, North Carolina, on Thurs­day, in a speech fo­cused on work­ers af­ter tak­ing time off fol­low­ing a pneumonia di­ag­no­sis. Don­ald Trump, speak­ing to The Eco­nomic Club of New York, said his goal is for 4 per­cent an­nual growth for the US econ­omy.

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