Hllary Clinton and Donald Trump, sensing the urgency of a presidential campaign entering its home stretch, assailed one another on multiple fronts and in coarse terms on Tuesday as new data showed the candidates in a dead heat.
It was another day of scathing rebukes, intense rhetoric and titfor-tat accusations as the bitter rivals sought to claim the advantage with voters just nine weeks before the November 8 election. In Florida, Clinton branded Trump a “demagogue” and declared his campaign to be “one long insult”.
After the Republican candidate made a sudden trip to Mexico last week to meet President Enrique Pena Nieto, Clinton said Trump choked because he failed to discuss his demand that Mexico pay for Trump’s border wall.
Trump has edged ahead of Clinton in a new CNN/ORC poll, at 45% to 43%, while an NBC News poll of registered voters shows Clinton’s lead holding at six percentage points – 48% to 42%. A survey by The Washington Post, looking at all 50 states, shows Clinton with a solid lead in terms of electoral college votes, and even strength in some Republican strongholds.
Clinton, in the national eye for three decades, shrugged off the intense Republican attacks against her. “I believe I’m the best person for this job and I believe they’re going to keep coming after me,” she told reporters.
Clinton said Trump was “dead wrong” for saying his tax returns were not the concern of Americans. “He clearly has something to hide,” she said. While she repeated her charge that he is “temperamentally unfit” for office, Trump told veterans in Virginia Beach: “She’s a disaster. You have illegal immigrants that she wants… treated better than veterans.”
Clinton is promoting a pathway to citizenship for many of the 11 million people living in the shadows, while Trump wants to curtail immigration. They also exchanged shots on national security, with Trump warning that Clinton would be unable to stand up to adversaries like President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
Trump released a letter in which 88 retired generals and admirals endorsed him, a revelation dismissed by Clinton. “I think we’re up to 89,” she quipped, noting that several Republican national security figures support her.