With race tight­en­ing, Clin­ton re­vives Trump-women is­sue ‘For my en­tire life, I’ve been a woman’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

KING OF PRUSSIA: With just a week to go and the race for the White House tight­en­ing, Hil­lary Clin­ton with help from Pres­i­dent Barack Obama - un­leashed a fresh of­fen­sive Tues­day against Don­ald Trump and his vul­gar com­ments about women. 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 Clin­ton in bat­tle­ground Florida and Trump in Penn­syl­va­nia and Wis­con­sin - 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 crit­i­cal 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 ev­ery ac­cu­sa­tion, but Obama said there was a pat­tern at work to which vot­ers needed to pay heed. “This is a life­time of call­ing women pigs and dogs and slobs,” Obama said at a rally in Ohio. “The part we’re con­cerned about is if we start act­ing like this is nor­mal.”

Po­lit­i­cal fights

For Trump, he spent the day re­lent­lessly on mes­sage, es­chew­ing wild tan­gents and po­lit­i­cal fights in fa­vor of care­fully scripted re­marks fo­cused on health care and at­tacks on his op­po­nent. 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 in a speech out­side Philadel­phia.

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. 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. Obama, amid his pitch to work­ing-class vot­ers in Ohio, tried to boil the choice down to a ques­tion of char­ac­ter, say­ing the Oval Of­fice “am­pli­fies who you are. It mag­ni­fies who you are. It shows who you are.”

“If you dis­re­spected women be­fore you were elected, you will dis­re­spect women once you’re pres­i­dent,” Obama said. And speak­ing di­rectly to men, Obama said “we have to get over the hump” of elect­ing the first woman pres­i­dent. “I just want to be hon­est with you be­cause she’s been out there for so long some­times in this cul­ture we al­ways want to see the new shiny ob­ject,” he said.

Trump, how­ever, did not im­me­di­ately take the bait. In Wis­con­sin, he urged early vot­ers there who “are hav­ing a bad case of buyer’s re­morse” to change their bal­lots be­fore Thurs­day’s dead­line. Four states Wis­con­sin, Michi­gan, Min­nesota and Penn­syl­va­nia al­low early vote switches but the prac­tice is ex­tremely rare, ac­cord­ing to the Early Vot­ing In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter at Reed Col­lege. Still, frus­trated Repub­li­cans were en­cour­aged that Trump was fo­cus­ing on pol­icy pre­scrip­tions - for one day, at least - after a roller-coaster cam­paign marked by self-cre­ated con­tro­versy and po­lit­i­cal mis­steps.

FBI rev­e­la­tion

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. —AP

—AP

DADE CITY: Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton is greeted on stage by Ali­cia Machado, who won the Miss Uni­verse pageant in 1996, right, as she takes the stage to speak at a rally at Pasco-Her­nando State Col­lege.

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