If you only read one thing: Donald Trump's reeling campaign descended deeper into the bowels of Internet conspiracy Thursday as he defiantly pushed back against new allegations of sexual assault. Speaking in West Palm Beach, Trump cast blame on a supposed conspiracy including the media, half the federal government, global corporations and banks, and the Clinton campaign being out to destroy him. (In fairness, he has a point about that last one.) Offering few facts and lots of innuendo, Trump's campaign has retreated from trying to reach out to new voters. Instead, he's in an all-out battle to keep his base engaged amid a firestorm of criticism. It's not exactly a winning strategy.
Just hours before, First Lady Michelle Obama reprised her role as this cycle's most effective surrogate, as she delivered an impassioned critique of Donald Trump's comments and alleged actions about the treatment of women. "I've listened to this, and I feel it so personally," she said. "And I'm sure that many of you do, too—particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman. That is cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is, it hurts." The Clinton campaign already produced a video of Obama's remarks that has gone viral online. Meanwhile, her husband was in Ohio trying to diagnose the root causes of Trumpism.
janitor running mate is continuing his efforts to clean-up after the top of the ticket, responding on CBS Friday Morning to Michelle Obama's comments, saying, “I don’t understand the basis of her claim.” Pence echoed Trump in claiming that evidence refuting the new accusers is forthcoming, but his campaign has been silent on what, if anything, they are going to produce.
Clinton doesn't remember. Why Glenn Beck can't get to a yes on Trump. And the RNC shifts resources to save the Senate and House.
Here are your must reads:
Donald Trump Has a Grand Unified Campaign Conspiracy Theory
"This is a conspiracy against you," he tells supporters Thursday in defiant speech [TIME]
Two Speeches in Two Hours Crystallize the State of Campaign 2016
Two speeches. Two Americas [Washington Post]
Cut Ties to Donald Trump, Big Donors Urge R.N.C.
RNC shifts money down ballot, but sticks by him [New York Times]
Emails Show Aides Pressed Hillary Clinton to Apologize
Discussions about private email server highlighted in new documents disclosed by WikiLeaks [Wall Street Journal]
Clinton Says She Can't Recall Key Details About Email Server
Questions continue to dog her campaign [Associated Press]
"It shouldn't matter. Look, I can't make any excuse for Bill Clinton's conduct. And I wouldn't attempt to make any excuses for the conduct. But he paid a price for it. He paid a price. He was impeached." — Vice President Joe Biden on NBC's Meet the Press on allegations against former President Bill Clinton
"So the problem is not that all Republicans think the way this guy does. The problem is, is that they’ve been riding this tiger for a long time. They’ve been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years --primarily for political expedience. So if Trump was running around saying I wasn’t born here, they were okay with that as long as it helped them with votes. If some of these folks on talk radio started talking about how I was the anti-Christ, you know, it's just politics." — President Obama in Ohio Thursday on the state of the GOP
Bits and Bites
Biden: Bill Clinton 'Paid a Price' for Conduct [Meet the Press]
RNC Transfers $6.35 Million to Down Ballot Races [Bloomberg]
The New York Times’s Lawyer Responds to Donald Trump [New York Times]
Michelle Obama Slams Donald Trump for Bragging About ‘Sexually Predatory Behavior’ [Wall Street Journal]
Republican ads are starting to give up on Donald Trump [Washington Post]