Trump: Polls are ‘phony,’ I’m win­ning

Repub­li­can nom­i­nee also de­nies an­other al­le­ga­tion of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE -

A de­fi­ant Don­ald Trump blamed his wors­en­ing cam­paign strug­gles on “phony polls” from the “dis­gust­ing” me­dia on Mon­day, fight­ing to en­er­gize his most loyal sup­port­ers as his path to the pres­i­dency shrinks.

Just 14 days un­til the elec­tion, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee cam­paigned in bat­tle­ground Florida as his team con­ceded pub­licly as well as pri­vately that cru­cial Penn­syl­va­nia might be slip­ping away. That would leave a ra­zor-thin path­way to the 270 elec­toral votes needed to win the White House on Nov. 8.

De­spite con­tin­ued dif­fi­cul­ties with women and mi­nori­ties, Trump re­fuses to soften his mes­sage in the cam­paign’s final days to broaden his coali­tion. The strat­egy leaves no mar­gin for er­ror. Yet Trump of­fered an op­ti­mistic front in the midst of a three-day tour through Florida as thou­sands be­gan vot­ing in per­son.

“I be­lieve we’re ac­tu­ally win­ning,” Trump de­clared dur­ing a roundtable dis­cus­sion with farm­ers gath­ered next to a lo­cal pump-

kin patch.

A day af­ter sug­gest­ing the First Amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion may give the press too much free­dom, he in­sisted the me­dia are pro­mot­ing bi­ased polls to dis­cour­age his sup­port­ers from vot­ing.

“The me­dia isn’t just against me. They’re against all of you,” Trump told cheer­ing sup­port­ers later in St. Au­gus­tine. “They’re against what we rep­re­sent.”

With Trump on the de­fen­sive, Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton worked to slam the door on his candidacy in swing state New Hamp­shire while eye­ing a pos­si­ble Demo­cratic ma­jor­ity in the Sen­ate.

The for­mer sec­re­tary of state cam­paigned along­side New Hamp­shire Gov. Mag­gie Has­san, who is run­ning for the Sen­ate, and Mas­sachusetts Sen. El­iz­a­beth Warren, who was mer­ci­less as she seized on Trump’s his­tory of preda­tory sex­ual lan­guage and sev­eral al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct.

“He thinks that be­cause he has a mouth full of Tic Tacs, he can force him­self on any woman within grop­ing dis­tance,” Warren charged. “I’ve got news for you Don­ald: Women have had it with guys like you.”

Trump has de­nied a pile of re­cent al­le­ga­tions, and he ad­dressed a new one Mon­day in an in­ter­view with WGIR ra­dio in New Hamp­shire.

He called the al­le­ga­tions “to­tal fic­tion” and lashed out at for­mer adult film per­former Jes­sica Drake, who said Satur­day that he had grabbed and kissed her with­out per­mis­sion and of­fered her money to visit his ho­tel room a decade ago.

“One said, ‘He grabbed me on the arm.’ And she’s a porn star,” Trump said. He added, “Oh, I’m sure she’s never been grabbed be­fore.”

With Elec­tion Day two weeks away, Trump’s elec­toral map looks bleak.

The Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee ig­nored him al­to­gether in mail­ers to New Hamp­shire vot­ers set to be

dis­trib­uted later this week, ac­cord­ing to ma­te­rial ob­tained by The As­so­ci­ated Press. The mail fo­cuses in­stead on Clin­ton’s cred­i­bil­ity, fea­tur­ing a pic­ture of her and for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and the words, “No More of The Ly­ing Clin­tons.”

Trump’s team has pub­licly ac­knowl­edged in re­cent days that he’s be­hind.

His cam­paign man­ager Kellyanne Con­way out­lined a path to 270 elec­toral votes on Sun­day that banks on vic­to­ries in Florida, Ohio, Iowa and North Carolina along with New Hamp­shire and Maine’s 2nd con­gres­sional district. As­sum­ing Trump wins all of those — and he cur­rently trails in some — he would earn the ex­act num­ber of elec­toral votes needed to win the pres­i­dency and no more.

No­tice­ably ab­sent from the list was Penn­syl­va­nia, a state that a top adviser pri­vately con­ceded was slip­ping away de­spite Trump’s ag­gres­sive courtship of white work­ing-class vot­ers. The adviser spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity to share in­ter­nal dis­cus­sions.

Florida was largely the fo­cus on Mon­day as in­per­son early vot­ing be­gan across 50 coun­ties, in­clud­ing the state’s largest: Broward, Du­val, Hills­bor­ough, Miami-Dade, Or­ange and Palm Beach. Re­main­ing coun­ties will start in the com­ing week.

Early vot­ing by mail has been un­der­way for weeks. Nearly 1.2 mil­lion vot­ers in Florida have al­ready mailed in bal­lots.

Clin­ton plans to visit Tues­day and Wed­nes­day, while her run­ning mate, Vir­ginia Gov. Tim Kaine, was making two Florida ap­pear­ances on Mon­day. He took a shot at Florida Repub­li­can Sen. Marco Ru­bio in the first, a re­minder that Clin­ton’s team is fight­ing to re­take a Sen­ate ma­jor­ity.

Kaine noted that Ru­bio pre­vi­ously called Trump a dan­ger­ous “con artist,” though the sen­a­tor cur­rently sup­ports him. If some­one can’t con­demn Trump, Kaine said, “you’ve got to ask the ques­tion whether they’re the right per­son to rep­re­sent you.”

AN­DREW HARNIK —AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton, fore­ground, is joined at a Mon­day cam­paign rally in Manch­ester, N.H., by U.S. Sen. El­iz­a­beth Warren, D-Mass.

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