Trump Bashes Clinton to Cheers in Iowa

     COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (CN) — Insisting that he’d won the first presidential debate on Monday, Donald Trump doubled down on his core message on trade and immigration at a Wednesday rally in Iowa.
     Despite concerns even from his own campaign that he had stumbled during the final hour of the 90-minute debate, Trump was his braggadocious self in Council Bluffs, claiming he’d won every online poll of voters after the debate and questioning the validity of any poll that said he’d fared poorly.
     Speaking in Pottawatomie County, where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by 5 to 4, Trump got an enthusiastic reception in a packed convention center room as he bashed Hillary Clinton.
     “This will be the year the American people say enough is enough,” Trump said, calling himself a force for change and his campaign a “movement.”
     Aided by a teleprompter, Trump’s 50-minute speech wended through a host of topics, including immigration, trade, jobs, national security and taxation — typically light on details but with repeated promises that a Trump presidency would make things better.
     “People are working harder for less money. You know what, I’m also working harder,” Trump said, presenting himself as an ally of the working class.
     If there was a theme of the day, it was that Clinton is incapable of being a successful president. Every speaker who took the stage blasted what they called her “failed” and “incompetent” efforts during 30 years in politics. Her receipt of money from wealthy donors and “special interests” were also popular topics, as was her private email server.
     Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani introduced Trump with pointed remarks on Clinton’s referring to Trump’s supporters as “deplorables” and “irredeemable” people.
     “I’m also irredeemable,” Giuliani said. “Know what that means? I’m not going to vote for her.”
     The consensus in national and international news outlets was that Trump was outmaneuvered during the Monday night debate, the most-watched in history. After scoring points early on trade, he walked into unforced errors by appearing to acknowledge that he pays little or no federal income taxes, and bragging that the 2008 housing crash was great for him personally.
     Trump kept himself in the headlines Tuesday, blaming some of his debate problems on a poor microphone, criticizing debate moderator Lester Holt as a “fact checker,” and, perhaps inadvisedly, revisiting his personal attack upon former Miss Universe Alicia Machado for gaining weight after winning the beauty contest Trump once owned.
     A Morning Consult national tracking poll released Wednesday afternoon showed Clinton with a 41 to 38 percent lead over Trump in a four-way race that includes Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein.
     Trump led by a single point in the previous Morning Consult poll, taken before the debate.
     Polling numbers are close in Iowa, where early voting starts Friday.
     Trump lost the Iowa Caucus to Ted Cruz on Feb. 1, while Clinton eked out a narrow win over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Trump has held a slight advantage in recent polls from the Hawkeye state. Iowa has gone to the Democrat in five of the past six presidential elections, and is still a swing state.
     In neighboring Nebraska, polling has remained close as well. Nebraska is one of only two states, along with Maine, that allows for some of its Electoral College votes to be split along congressional district lines. Barack Obama’s 2008 victory in the Omaha district was the first and only time so far that that has happened.
     Clinton aims to repeat the strategy, holding a large rally at Omaha North Magnet High School in early August, and pledging to “dance in the streets” if she does manage to knock off Omaha’s electoral vote.
     “There’s been an increase of volunteers in to make calls and the response on the phones and at the doors has been positive, Nebraska Democratic Party Associate Chairman Tom Tilden told Courthouse News. “People have been commenting that Hillary looked presidential during the debate,”
     Tilden couldn’t have sold that to the Trump supporters in Council Bluffs.
     “Either we want change or we want status quo, and we have to have change,” said Bryan Robinson, 58, who thought Trump did well Monday night.
     Beth Garza said that scandals have dogged Hillary Clinton for years. “Trump is going to clean it up,” she said.
     “I thought the speech was great,” said Bruce Fuglei, 63. “I wish that he’d gotten more into policy rather than criticizing … Hillary Clinton. But I really loved what he said. He was energetic; he gave us a lot of time. I like almost everything he said.”

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