Sim­i­lar paths for cam­paigns af­ter 1st de­bate

Trump, Clin­ton each see per­for­mances as spring­board to boost tra­di­tional bases

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Steve Peo­ples and Lisa Lerer

COUNCILBLUFFS, Iowa — Un­moved by harsh de­bate re­views, a de­fi­ant Don­ald Trump showed no sign Wednes­day of mak­ing any big changes be­fore his sec­ond face­off with Hil­lary Clin­ton, press­ing ahead with a strat­egy fo­cused on speak­ing di­rectly to his white work­ing- class loy­al­ists across the Mid­west.

Demo­crat Clin­ton, mean­while, pushed to im­prove her stand­ing among younger vot­ers with the help of the pres­i­dent, Sen. Bernie San­ders and other key al­lies, 48 hours af­ter a de­bate per­for­mance that seemed to spark badly needed en­thu­si­asm.

Those clos­est to Trump in­sisted the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee was sat­is­fied with Mon­day night’s de­bate, even as prom­i­nent voices within his party called for more se­ri­ous prepa­ra­tion next time af­ter an open­ing con­fronta­tion marked by what they said were missed op­por­tu­ni­ties and mis­steps. The next de­bate is Oct. 9. Un­like Clin­ton, Trump is not plan­ning to par­tic­i­pate in any mock de­bates, al­though he is likely to in­cor­po­rate what one per­son de­scribed as “tweaks” to his strat­egy.

Specif­i­cally, Trump is likely to spend more time work­ing on spe­cific an­swers and sharpen his at­tacks af­ter spend­ing much of the first meet­ing on de­fense, said that per­son, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss in­ter­nal cam­paign strat­egy.

That may not be enough to sat­isfy con­cerned Repub­li­cans.

For­mer House Speaker Newt Gin­grich said Trump should have been bet­ter pre­pared and he rec­om­mended that the can­di­date work harder with skilled coaches. He said, “What you need is peo­ple who are pro­fes­sional de­baters.” Don­ald Trump in at a rally in Iowa, on Wednes­day. His cam­paign said he wasn’t al­ter­ing his strat­egy for next de­bate.

South Carolina Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham said sim­ply: “The only ad­vice I could give him, and take it for what it’s worth: Pre­pare bet­ter.”

The New York busi­ness­man strug­gled to at­tack Clin­ton con­sis­tently on the de­bate stage Mon­day night, but has lashed out at her ag­gres­sively in the days since.

He at­tacked her record as the na­tion’s chief diplo­mat dur­ing a Wednes­day ap­pear­ance in Chicago. He went fur­ther at a later rally in Iowa.

“If she ever got the chance, she would put the Oval Of­fice up for sale,” Trump told hun­dreds gath­ered in a Coun­cil Bluffs con­ven­tion hall the day be­fore early vot­ing be­gins in the bat­tle­ground state.

Clin­ton, mean­while, sought Wednes­day to par­lay her widely praised de­bate per­for­mance into stronger sup­port from women, young Amer­i­cans and other crit­i­cal voter groups. She got help from her party’s big­gest stars.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama ham­mered Trump over his busi­ness prac­tices and treat­ment of women in an in­ter­view aired on Steve Har­vey’s ra­dio show, which is par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar among black au­di­ences. The pres­i­dent said his own legacy was “on the bal­lot” in Novem­ber. He also sug­gested Clin­ton wasn’t get­ting enough credit, pos­si­bly be­cause she’s a woman.

And his wife, first lady Hil­lary Clin­ton and Sen. Bernie San­ders speak to young vot­ers at the Univer­sity of New Hamp­shire on Wednes­day. Michelle Obama, ac­cused Trump of try­ing to un­der­mine her hus­band’s pres­i­dency for years by ques­tion­ing his birth­place. Trump pub­licly ad­mit­ted the pres­i­dent was born in Amer­ica for the first time this month af­ter spend­ing years ques­tion­ing the au­then­tic­ity of Obama’s birth cer­tifi­cate.

“Trust me, a can­di­date is not go­ing to sud­denly change” once in of­fice, Mrs. Obama said at a rally for Clin­ton in Penn­syl­va­nia.

Hop­ing to broaden her ap­peal among mil­len­ni­als, Clin­ton joined her pri­mary ri­val, Ver­mont Sen. San­ders, on the trail for the first time since they held a “unity” rally in July in an at­tempt to heal di­vi­sions within the Demo- cratic Party. Since then, Clin­ton has strug­gled to win over young Amer­i­cans who formed a cru­cial pil­lar of the coali­tion that twice elected Obama.

Flanked by cam­paign signs pro­mot­ing Clin­ton’s col­lege af­ford­abil­ity pro­posal, San­ders and Clin­ton touted a plan they de­vel­oped to make col­lege debt-free for mil­lions of stu­dents from mid­dle-class and low-in­come fam­i­lies.

“None of this will hap­pen if you don’t turn out and vote,” Clin­ton said at the Univer­sity of New Hamp­shire, af­ter a quick hug with San­ders. For his part, San­ders de­clared, “It is im­per­a­tive that we elect Hil­lary Clin­ton as our next pres­i­dent.”

JOHN LOCHER/AP

JUSTIN SUL­LI­VAN/GETTY

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