Trump chides ‘cor­rupt’ Clin­ton; first lady hugs her

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD - By Julie Pace and Jonathan Lemire

WIN­STON-SALEM, N.C. » Trail­ing with time run­ning out, Don­ald Trump de­nounced both Hil­lary and Bill Clin­ton Thurs­day as crea­tures of a cor­rupt po­lit­i­cal sys­tem who would use an­other pass at the Oval Of­fice to en­rich them­selves at the ex­pense of Amer­i­can fam­i­lies.

Clin­ton turned to pop­u­lar first lady Michelle Obama to rally vot­ers in North Carolina, a state that could de­liver a knock­out blow to Trump.

Trump seized on newly pub­lic emails in which long­time Bill Clin­ton aide Doug Band de­scribes over­lap­ping re­la­tion­ships of the Clin­tons’ global phi­lan­thropy and the fam­ily’s pri­vate en­rich­ment. The emails were among thou­sands stolen from the pri­vate ac­count of a top Clin­ton aide, part of a hack­ing the Demo­cratic cam­paign has blamed on the Rus­sians.

“Mr. Band called the ar­range­ment ‘un­ortho­dox.’ The rest of us call it out­right cor­rupt,” Trump de­clared dur­ing a rally in Spring­field, Ohio. “If the Clin­tons were will­ing to play this fast and loose with their en­ter­prise when they weren’t in the White House, just imag­ine what they’ll do in the Oval Of­fice.”

Band wrote the 2011 memo to de­fend his firm, Te­neo, de­scrib­ing how he en­cour­aged his clients to con­trib­ute to the foun­da­tion and pro­vide con­sult­ing and speak­ing gigs for Bill Clin­ton. Some of his work in­cluded ob­tain­ing “inkind ser­vices for the pres­i­dent and his fam­ily — for per­sonal travel, hos­pi­tal­ity, va­ca­tion and the like.”

Clin­ton made no men­tion of the rev­e­la­tions as she cam­paigned along­side Mrs. Obama, their first joint ap­pear­ance of the cam­paign. The first lady has emerged as one of Clin­ton’s most pow­er­ful sur­ro­gates, pas­sion­ately tout­ing her ex­pe­ri­ence and de­nounc­ing Trump as too di­vi­sive and thin-skinned for the White House.

“We want some­one who is a uni­fy­ing force in this coun­try, some­one who sees our dif­fer­ences not as a threat but as a bless­ing,” Mrs. Obama said as she ad­dressed an en­thu­si­as­tic, 11,000-per­son crowd, one of Clin­ton’s big­gest of the cam­paign.

Trump of­ten points out that his crowds are gen­er­ally larger than his ri­val’s.

Mrs. Obama also ac­cused Trump’s cam­paign of try­ing to de­press voter turnout and panned his provoca­tive as­ser­tion that the re­sults of the Nov. 8 con­test may be rigged.

“Just for the record, in this coun­try, the United States of Amer­ica, the vot­ers de­cide elec­tions,” the first lady said. “They’ve al­ways de­cided.”

With a lead in the race for weeks, Clin­ton’s cam­paign is con­cerned that her ad­van­tage could prompt some of her back­ers to stay home on Elec­tion Day or cast protest votes for a third-party can­di­date. Nearly all of her re­cent events have been in states where early vot­ing is al­ready un­der­way, aimed at us­ing the ral­lies to prompt sup­port­ers to bank their votes now.

A new As­so­ci­ated PressGfK poll re­leased Wed­nes­day found Clin­ton on the cusp of a po­ten­tially com­mand­ing vic­tory, fu­eled by solid Demo­cratic turnout in early vot­ing, mas­sive op­er­a­tional ad­van­tages and in­creas­ing en­thu­si­asm among her sup­port­ers.

The sur­vey shows her lead­ing Trump na­tion­ally by 14 per­cent­age points among likely vot­ers, 51-37. That mar­gin is the largest na­tional lead for Clin­ton among re­cent sur­veys.

Still, the hacked emails and re­cent news of an “Oba­macare” pre­mium hike have ap­peared to hand Trump a pair of po­tent gifts in the cam­paign’s fi­nal fort­night. The Repub­li­can charged Thurs­day that the rate hikes were “mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble for par­ents to pay their bills and sup­port their fam­i­lies.”

But to the frus­tra­tion of many in his party, Trump has strug­gled to stay on mes­sage. While cam­paign­ing in Ohio, he crit­i­cized Clin­ton for be­ing too tough on Vladimir Putin, an­other sur­pris­ingly fa­vor­able com­ment from Trump about the Rus­sian leader.

“She speaks very badly of Putin, and I don’t think that’s smart,” he said.

Trump has been re­peat­edly crit­i­cized, by Repub­li­cans as well as Democrats, for fail­ing to de­nounce Putin. He’s also re­fused to say whether he be­lieves Rus­sia is be­hind the hack­ing of Demo­cratic groups, al­though in­tel­li­gence agen­cies have pinned the blame on Moscow.

CHUCK BUR­TON — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton is hugged by first lady Michelle Obama dur­ing a cam­paign rally in Win­ston-Salem, N.C., Thurs­day.

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