Trump's campaign now insists that Trump's birther crusade ended in 2011, after the president released his long-form birth certificate. Trump considered the shorter certificate of live birth that Obama released in 2008 a possible fraud. In reality, the release was only the beginning for Trump. He continued to fan speculation of the president's not-so-mysterious place of birth, suggesting that "Israeli science" had shown the certificate to be fake and announcing that he had sent a team of investigators to Hawaii to get to the bottom of it.
As Romney reeled from super-PAC attacks on his record at Bain Capital and from his closed-door comments about the "47 percent," Trump believed certain secrets about Obama's past were the best bet to turn things around.
.@MittRomney must ask for Obama's college records & applications--why is he not doing this?
Trump was obsessed with the president's college records because he believed they would confirm that Obama was foreign-born. (He has suggested the president's real name was "Barry Soetoro," or sometimes "Barry Soweto," even though Soetoro was Obama's stepfather's name and Soweto is a famous township in South Africa.) "Obviously he wasn't born in this country or, if he was, he said he wasn't in order to receive financial aid and in order to have a clear and very easy path into a college or university," Trump explained to WorldNetDaily a few days before the 2012 election.
Romney continued to ignore Trump's advice for the second and third debates. But tonight, on the heels of Trump's bizarre press conference on the issue and the Hillary Clinton campaign's repeated attacks on birtherism, Trump might finally get the chance to raise the issue during a presidential debate.
The polls are tightening and the freak-out is beginning. With hours to go before the first presidential debate, FiveThirtyEight's polls-plus forecast gives former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just a 53.4 percent chance of winning the election. It's the closest the race has been since the elections site unveiled its model in June. The "bedwetting cometh," tweeted New York Times political reporter Jonathan Martin.
But Democrats have been here before. In 2012, President Barack Obama held a modest but consistent lead over Republican nominee Mitt Romney heading into the first debate, only to uncharacteristically collapse. Within a few days, the lead had evaporated—according to FiveThirtyEight, Obama's chances went from 86.1 percent to 61.1 percent, the steepest drop of the campaign—and his supporters started to lose it. No one captured this liberal angst better then Andrew Sullivan, then of the Daily Beast, who had championed Obama in 2008 and joyfully called him "the first gay president" in a Newsweek cover story.
Following Obama's first debate with Romney, Sullivan was inconsolable:
Maybe if Romney can turn this whole campaign around in 90 minutes, Obama can now do the same. But I doubt it. A sitting president does not recover from being obliterated on substance, style and likability in the first debate and get much of a chance to come back. He has, at a critical moment, deeply depressed his base and his supporters and independents are flocking to Romney in droves.
I've never seen a candidate self-destruct for no external reason this late in a campaign before. Gore was better in his first debate—and he threw a solid lead into the trash that night. Even Bush was better in 2004 than Obama last week. Even Reagan's meandering mess in 1984 was better—and he had approaching Alzheimer's to blame.
I'm trying to see a silver lining. But when a president self-immolates on live TV, and his opponent shines with lies and smiles, and a record number of people watch, it's hard to see how a president and his party recover. I'm not giving up. If the lies and propaganda of the last four years work even after Obama had managed to fight back solidly against them to get a clear and solid lead in critical states, then reality-based government is over in this country again. We're back to Bush-Cheney, but more extreme. We have to find a way to avoid that. Much, much more than Obama's vanity is at stake.
A week later, after the vice presidential debate had passed, Sullivan was even further gone. "Obama threw it all back in his supporters' faces, reacting to their enthusiasm and record donations with a performance so execrable, so lazy, so feckless, and so vain it was almost a dare not to vote for him," he wrote. And then Obama rebounded at the next two debates and won 332 electoral votes.
The race heading into the first debate tonight is closer than it was heading into the first presidential debate in 2012. If the election were held today, there's a virtually even chance that Donald Trump would win. But Clinton backers anxiously hitting refresh on FiveThirtyEight and consulting their astrologers would do well to reread Sullivan's lament. It's fine to panic, but a 7-point polling swing is nothing a few good debates can't reverse.
The first day in office is a hectic one for new presidents. It doesn't start until the late morning, and they spend hours at a formal ceremony, with hours of obligations to follow on the party circuit that night. None of their appointees have been confirmed; few of them have even been nominated. They'll probably get lost once or twice. It's a lot like any first day at a new job, in other words.
But that doesn't stop presidential candidates from making bold promises about how much they'll accomplish that day. Here's everything Donald Trump has promised to do on his first day in office (or, in a few cases, things his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has promised Trump will do):
Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger, whose district includes part of the city of Charlotte, said in an interview with the BBC Thursday that black residents of the North Carolina city "hate white people because white people are successful and they're not." The day after African American protesters shut down a highway and demonstrated in Charlotte over the fatal police shooting of a black man, Keith Lamont Scott, Pittenger, a second-term congressman, blamed the community's frustrations on "the welfare state."
Pittenger added, "We've put people in bondage so that they can't be all that they’re capable of being."
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article103536037.html#storylink=cpy
Until the election, we're bringing you "The Trump Files," a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.
Donald Trump doesn't like to lose. When he was trailing in the polls this summer, he began offering a dire warning: The 2016 election would be "rigged" through massive voter fraud. He blamed election fraud, too, when he lost the Iowa caucuses to Ted Cruz. And in 2012, when President Barack Obama won reelection over Mitt Romney, Trump called for a "march on Washington" to "stop this travesty."
But Trump's allegations of rigged elections extend beyond domestic politics. When Glenfiddich announced in 2012 that a notorious Trump critic had received the most votes for its annual Top Scot award, Trump cried foul, accusing the renowned Scotch distillery of holding a rigged election. Per the Guardian:
After suggesting that the voting for Forbes had been fixed by "a small group of detractors" casting multiple votes, he continued: "Glenfiddich's choice of Michael Forbes, as Top Scot, will go down as one of the great jokes ever played on the Scottish people and is a terrible embarrassment to Scotland."
William Grant & Sons gave short shrift to Trump's criticisms, which he first aired on Twitter on Tuesday, insisting it had nothing to do with the voting for the award, which Glenfiddich has sponsored for 15 years.
Forbes, a salmon fisherman who lives next-door to Trump's golf course outside Aberdeen, became a folk hero in Scotland for his refusal to sell his 23-acre farm to the billionaire. According to Trump, Glenfiddich boosted Forbes because it was jealous of Trump's own brand of Scotch. "Glenfiddich is upset that we created our own single malt whisky using another distillery, which offers far greater products," he said in a statement. "People at our clubs do not ask for Glenfiddich, and I make a pledge that no Trump property will ever do business with Glenfiddich or William Grant & Sons [the company that owns Glenfiddich]."
Lest there be any doubt about his position on Glenfiddich, Trump capped off his declaration of war with the traditional Twitter rant:
Trump's public spat didn't do much damage. Revenue for Glenfiddich's parent company increased 12.5 percent in the fiscal year following the boycott.