With Early Voting Underway, Clinton and Trump Go After Each Other in Florida

Nearly 300,000 Florida voters showed up for the first day of in-person early voting on Monday, new totals from state election officials showed

Hillary Clinton assailed Donald Trump on Tuesday for refusing to say he'll respect the outcome of the presidential election, while Trump kept up with his push to paint Clinton as part of a corrupt establishment.

The Democratic nominee said in Florida that she has "serious doubts" about whether Trump understands the meaning of the president's oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend the constitution."

Clinton said Tuesday at a Coconut Creek rally that Trump is "attacking everything that has set our country apart for 240 years." She pointed to his refusal at the final debate to commit to conceding the race if he loses.

She joked that Trump would have called George Washington "a loser" for not wanting to be king.

During the rally, the crowd broke into a spontaneous singing of "Happy Birthday" ahead of Clinton's 69th birthday on Wednesday.

With the race for the White House speeding to an end, Trump and Clinton were both campaigning Tuesday in swing state Florida, where tens of thousands of voters are already flocking to the polls.

Trump, on the final day of a three-day Florida swing, has been denouncing the "disgusting" media that promotes "phony polls" showing him trailing Clinton in this and other battleground states.

"The media isn't just against me. They're against all of you," Trump told cheering supporters Monday in St. Augustine. He added, "I believe we're actually winning."

On Tuesday morning, Trump appeared with the employees at at Trump National Doral golf course just outside Miami where they offered testimonials to the boss. 

Several dozen employees stood with the Republican nominee as he boasted about the golf course and said that 80 percent of his workers were of Hispanic origin.

Insisting it wasn't rehearsed, Trump invited employees to the microphone to offer their support.

One put on a "Make America Great Again" cap. Another said he supported Trump, though his family did not. And a bartender said she "loved" working for Trump.

Trump has frequently mixed his campaign and business interests as he touts his ability to create jobs. On Wednesday, he will attend the official opening of his new hotel in Washington.

At an afternoon rally in the town of Sanford, Trump added on to his usual job-creation rhetoric that he would revitalize the space program, which he said was destroyed by the "Obama/Clinton administration."

"I will free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistics agency for low-earth orbit...that's a big deal," he said. "Instead, we will refocus its mission to space exploration." He said he would encourage public-private partnerships to create jobs in the space industry.

In the same speech, he said Wikileaks' latest release of hacked emails sent among top Clinton campaign staffers held "one of the most shocking revelations to date." He was referring to an exchange that Trump said indicates President Obama was aware Clinton was using a private email server but kept quiet about it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that Obama exchanged emails with his then-secretary of state, but the president had no knowledge of where Clinton's server was located or what sort of arrangements had been made to retain her emails.

At the third of his three appearances Tuesday, at a Tallahassee rally, Trump responded to a comment made by Vice President Joe Biden last week. Biden, criticizing Trump's vulgar remarks toward women, said he wished he could take Trump "behind the gym" to settle things.

The GOP candidate told his rally crowd Tuesday evening that he'd "love that."

"You know when he's Mr. Tough Guy? When he's standing behind a microphone by himself!" he said.

Trump must win Florida to have any chance at the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

Earilier Tuesday, Trump praised veterans of the failed CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs operation which tried to topple Cuba's Fidel Castro.

The Republican presidential nominee visited the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami on Tuesday. He received an endorsement from the Veterans Association for the Bay of Pigs.

Trump said he was "in a room full of heroes." He said the veterans were "fighting for values that unite us all" during the 1961 invasion.

Trump's appearance in Tallahassee completed his three-day schedule in the Sunshine State. 

Her confidence surging, Clinton is also eyeing a new Democratic majority in the Senate. Her campaign has been attacking Republican Senate candidates in Florida and New Hampshire.

On Monday, the Democratic nominee campaigned alongside New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is locked in a tight Senate race against Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte. They got an assist from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was merciless as she seized on recent revelations of Trump's predatory sexual language and several allegations of sexual assault.

"He thinks that because he has a mouth full of Tic Tacs, he can force himself on any woman within groping distance," Warren charged. "I've got news for you Donald: Women have had it with guys like you."

Trump, in an interview with WGIR radio in New Hampshire, called the accusations "total fiction." He lashed out at his latest accuser, former adult film performer Jessica Drake, who said Saturday that he had grabbed and kissed her without permission and offered her money to visit his hotel room a decade ago.

"One said, 'He grabbed me on the arm.' And she's a porn star," Trump said. He added, "Oh, I'm sure she's never been grabbed before."

As the war of words plays out, hundreds of thousands of Floridians are voting. Tuesday marks the second day of early in-person voting. Early voting by mail began two weeks ago.

Nearly 300,000 Florida voters showed up for the first day of in-person early voting on Monday, new totals from state election officials showed. Altogether, more than 1.6 million Floridians have voted so far.

Traditionally, Republicans have run up a large advantage in mail-in ballots, while Democrats rely on early voting to boost their turnout numbers. But this year the Democrats and Republicans are running nearly even. So far, slightly more than 665,000 Republican voters have cast ballots in the state, compared to slightly more than 658,000 Democrats. Another 300,000 voters with no party affiliation have also voted.

At the same time, a new national poll shows young voters turning to Clinton now that the race has settled down to two main candidates. Clinton now leads among likely voters 18 to 30 years in age by 60 percent to 19 percent, according to a new GenForward survey.

Young black voters already were solidly in her corner, and now young whites are moving her way, according to the survey by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

With Election Day two weeks away, Trump's electoral map looks bleak.

Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway outlined a path to 270 electoral votes over the weekend that banks on victories in Florida, Ohio, Iowa and North Carolina along with New Hampshire and Maine's 2nd Congressional District. Assuming Trump wins all of those — and he currently trails in many — he would earn the exact number of electoral votes needed to win the presidency and no more.

Meanwhile, Trump and his party got fresh political ammunition with news that premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama's health care law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer. Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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