Welcome to McClatchy’s Voter Survival Guide, an interactive presentation of daily events from one of the strangest presidential campaigns in modern history.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton respond to an explosion in New York. Birtherism is back in the news again after Donald Trump finally admits Barack Obama was born in the United States and reports come out that a Hillary Clinton supporter helped share the false claim back in 2008. Barack Obama jokes he’s “relieved it’s finally over.”
Welcome to another week in the 2016 election. The polls open nationally in 49 days. Let’s get started.
Trump and Clinton respond to NYC bombing
An bomb exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan Saturday night injuring 29 people. A second bomb failed to detonate. Both explosives were filled with shrapnel.
Donald Trump immediately described the explosion as a bomb before authorities had fully assessed what happened. “I must tell you that just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what's going on. But boy, we are living in a time - we better get very tough, folks,” he said.
Hillary Clinton reacted to the event by saying “Obviously we need to do everything we can to support our first responders. Also to pray for the victims. We have to let this investigation unfold. We've been in touch with various officials including the mayor's office in New York to learn what they are discovering as they conduct this investigation and I'll have more to say about it when we actually know some facts.”
When asked about Trump’s comments, Clinton responded “I think it's always wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions.”
Trump doesn’t acknowledge past birther statements
The media was primed for a “major announcement” by Donald Trump Friday morning, with TV cameras and reporters waiting for Trump to denounce his previous “birther” statements. What they got was a slew of endorsements from veterans and Trump promoting his new hotel. But he barely addressed the hot-button topic of Obama’s birth and did not take questions from reporters.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period," Trump said. "Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again."
He also accused Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign for spreading the idea that Obama was born in Kenya.
Clinton addressed the issue earlier on Friday.
"For five years, he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president," Clinton said at an event in Washington. "His campaign was founded on this outrageous lie."
For five years, he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president
Hillary Clinton on Donald Trump
Did Clinton supporter Sydney Blumenthal play a part in spreading birtherism?
Former McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher jumped in the birtherism fray Friday as well, tweeting that longtime Hillary Clinton supporter Sydney Blumenthal shared the false claim about Barack Obama’s birth place back in 2008.
“Mr. Blumenthal and I met together in my office and he strongly urged me to investigate the exact place of President Obama’s birth, which he suggested was in Kenya. We assigned a reporter to go to Kenya, and that reporter determined that the allegation was false,” he said.
Barack Obama responds personally
Barack Obama had plenty to say on the birtherism subject. The president tore into the Republican nominee at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner in Washington, characterizing Donald Trump as a ‘nasty, hateful charlatan selling a false message to African-Americans and the rest of the country,’ according to Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere.
RNC may punish Republicans who don't back Trump
The #NeverTrump movement includes numerous members of Congress and other prominent Republicans, but RNC chair Reince Priebus said Sunday there could be consequences for Republicans who don't get on board.
"I think that we're going to evaluate the process--of the nomination process and I don't think it's going to be that easy for them," Priebus said.
That's notable because three of Trump's presidential primary opponents, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Jeb Bush, have declined to endorse the nominee. Cruz in particular could suffer if he mounts another bid for the presidency.
Clinton continues to struggle with groups that historically support Dems
Hillary Clinton will need voters under 30 to overwhelmingly support her candidacy to take down Trump, and the numbers aren't looking good right now. A Quinnipiac poll showed Clinton capturing 31 percent of 18-to-34 year-old voters, with just a five point lead over Trump. An Ohio poll shows Clinton doing better with young voters, winning 51 percent of them and holding a commanding lead over Trump, but her lead is down six percentage points from August. A poll in Michigan shows that she has the support of 31 percent of voters under 35 in the state and a seven point lead over Trump.
Obama won 60 percent of under 30 voters in 2012.
Clinton also faces questions about her support among Hispanic voters, although she does hold a commanding lead among the demographic.
"We're not seeing the Democratic Party take advantage of this moment in time, really looking to leverage more engagement in a more strategic way with our community," National Council of La Raza president Janet Murguia said.
A Pennsylvania poll shows that Clinton has a comfortable eight point lead in the state, even when Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein are included.
Michelle Obama hits the trail
Michelle Obama made her first campaign appearance on behalf of Clinton on Friday, and she attacked Trump—without uttering his name.
“Barack Obama has answered those questions [about his birth] by going high when they go low,” she said.
Johnson and Stein get bad news
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein were left out of the presidential debates on Friday, a blow to their hopes of getting more national attention for their campaigns.
Johnson polled at 8.4 percent while Stein polled at 3.2 percent. The threshold to qualify for debates is a 15 percent polling average in a number of national polls.
The first debate will take place on September 26 in Long Island.
- Trump or Clinton as commander-in-chief? It could swing Virginia. (McClatchy)
- Under Putin's shadow (U.S. News and World Report)
- Jeb Bush shows up at the Emmys. (McClatchy)
- Politico breaks down the candidates’ most unlikely claims. (Politico)
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Alex Daugherty, @alextdaugherty
Eric Wuestewald, @eric_wuest