Trump goes af­ter Clin­ton — Bill Clin­ton

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Josh Le­d­er­man and Cather­ine Lucey

Don­ald Trump abruptly res­ur­rected Bill Clin­ton’s im­peach­ment on Thurs­day, adding the for­mer pres­i­dent’s in­fi­deli­ties to the al­ready-ran­corous 2016 cam­paign. Trump warned vot­ers in bat­tle­ground New Hamp­shire that a Hil­lary Clin­ton vic­tory would bring her hus­band’s sex scan­dal back to the White House.

It was Trump’s lat­est ef­fort to bounce back from Mon­day night’s de­bate per­for­mance, which has been widely panned as lack­lus­ter. In con­trast, Clin­ton has de­liv­ered a mostly pos­i­tive mes­sage in the days since her de­bate per­for­mance reen­er­gized her can­di­dacy.

Clin­ton is stress­ing that her plans will solve the kind of kitchen-sink prob­lems fac­ing Amer­i­can fam­i­lies — the high cost of child­care, mount­ing stu­dent debt bur­dens and un­paid fam­ily leave. Trump, though promis­ing lower taxes and “jobs, jobs, jobs” for Amer­i­can work­ers, has in­ten­si­fied the dire warn­ings and per­sonal at­tacks that have de­fined his out­sider pres­i­den­tial bid.

He took it a step fur­ther on Thurs­day.

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple have had it with years and decades of Clin­ton cor­rup­tion and scan­dal. Cor­rup­tion and scan­dal,” Trump charged. “An im­peach­ment for ly­ing. An im­peach­ment for ly­ing. Re­mem­ber that? Im­peach.”

That was a ref­er­ence to Bill Clin­ton. Af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by an in­de­pen­dent coun­sel, the House ap­proved for­mal im­peach­ment charges in late 1998 in con­nec­tion with Pres­i­dent Clin­ton’s tes­ti­mony about his af­fair with a White House in­tern, Mon­ica Lewin­sky, and other mat­ters. He was ac­quit­ted of the im­peach­ment charges by the Se­nate.

Trump’s team said he had been pre­pared to bring up the Lewin­sky scan­dal dur­ing Mon­day night’s de­bate but de­cided oth­er­wise be­cause the Clin­tons’ daugh­ter, Chelsea, was in the room. Trump did not bring up Lewin­sky by name on Thurs­day.

Shortly be­fore Trump’s re­marks, Clin­ton of­fered a more op­ti­mistic mes­sage to sup­port­ers in Iowa’s cap­i­tal city.

“I want this elec­tion to be about some­thing, not just against some­body,” she said in Des Moines.

Asked Thurs­day about the pos­si­bil­ity that Trump would raise her hus­band’s in­fi­deli­ties, Clin­ton said, “He can run his cam­paign how­ever he chooses. That’s up to him. I’m go­ing to keep talk­ing about the stakes in this elec­tion.”

Her aides ar­gue that a sum­mer bar­rage of at­tack ads against Trump, along with the can­di­date’s own con­tro­ver­sial state­ments, have driven his neg­a­tive rat­ings to his­toric lev­els, leav­ing them lit­tle abil­ity to do more. That leaves her the choice of try­ing to win over un­de­cided vot­ers and Repub­li­cans con­cerned about Trump by em­pha­siz­ing a pos­i­tive vi­sion for Amer­ica.

In­deed, at her Des Moines rally, Clin­ton of­fered a hope­ful mes­sage to con­trast with the doom-and-gloom themes that have been sta­ples of Trump’s cam­paign. As she of­ten does, she re­counted her own back­ground of work­ing on chil­dren’s is­sues and her fa­ther’s strug­gles as a small busi­ness­man.

“I know so much of this cam­paign has been about, you know, what­ever my op­po­nent said and who he at­tacked and who he den­i­grates — and the list is long,” Clin­ton said. “But it’s not about that, it’s about you. It’s about your fam­i­lies and your fu­ture, and each of us should be telling you what we in­tend to do in the job.”

With Elec­tion Day less than six weeks away, early vot­ing al­ready is un­der­way in Iowa and some other places. Trump and Clin­ton re­main locked in a tight con­test. Trump has in­cluded hope­ful lines in his own re­marks. But the New York busi­ness­man has not de­vi­ated far from his ag­gres­sive ap­proach de­fined by in­sults that helped him win a crowded Repub­li­can pri­mary elec­tion.

In re­cent days, Trump and his sup­port­ers have raised anew a num­ber of deeply per­sonal at­tacks against Clin­ton, ques­tion­ing her role in her hus­band’s in­fi­deli­ties and cast­ing her as a cor­rupt tool of po­lit­i­cal donors and spe­cial in­ter­ests. Trump has also as­sailed a 1996 Miss Uni­verse pageant win­ner for her weight gain — an in­ci­dent Clin­ton used in the this week’s de­bate to por­tray Trump as sex­ist.

“The Clin­tons are the sor­did past. We will be the bright and very clean fu­ture,” Trump de­clared in New Hamp­shire.

Trump and Clin­ton meet again on the de­bate stage in 10 days, this time in St. Louis.

In a nod to the con­cerns ex­pressed by some Trump al­lies that he was in­suf­fi­ciently pre­pared for the first face­off, Trump’s cam­paign and the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee re­leased a sur­vey in­tended to en­gage sup­port­ers on­line. It asks whether he should use the sec­ond de­bate to crit­i­cize Clin­ton for her poli­cies on ter­ror­ism, eco­nomics and trade. Ab­sent is any in­quiry about whether Trump should bring up her hus­band’s in­fi­deli­ties.

In an­other re­minder of how far this year’s cam­paign has veered into baf­fling ter­ri­tory, third-party can­di­date Gary John­son, the for­mer New Mex­ico gov­er­nor, was be­ing ridiculed af­ter he was un­able, in a tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ance, to name a sin­gle world leader he ad­mired. The awk­ward mo­ment drew im­me­di­ate com­par­isons — in­clud­ing by John­son him­self — to his “Aleppo mo­ment” ear­lier this month when he didn’t rec­og­nize the be­sieged city in Syria.

Per­haps no state knows Clin­ton bet­ter than Iowa, where she cam­paigned on Thurs­day, but she has con­sis­tently strug­gled to con­nect.

Her cam­paign is bank­ing on the state’s in-per­son early vot­ing, which started on Thurs­day, re­flect­ing the pre­mium that Democrats are plac­ing this year on try­ing to get their vot­ers to turn out long be­fore Nov. 8. Democrats are con­cerned that a lack of en­thu­si­asm will keep their vot­ers from show­ing up in the same num­bers that led to Barack Obama’s vic­to­ries in the past two elec­tions.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump speaks at a cam­paign rally Thurs­day in Bed­ford, N.H.

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