Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump was so concerned about her health that he sent a car to take her to a dinner they both attended last night. “Actually it was a hearse,” she joked. Trump said that Clinton had accidentally bumped into him and said: “Pardon me.” He politely replied: “Let me talk to you about that after I get into office.”
This year’s campaign has been conspicuously short of humour, but Al Smith dinner in New York provided a welcome dose of it. Because this is 2016, however, the white tie event came with a cutting Trumpian edge, as the Republican’s jokes gave way to unvarnished attacks taken from his stump speeches, which drew jeers from the great and the good of New York.night’s
Joe Concha, a reporter for The Hill, said he sat near one man who repeatedly yelled at Trump: “You’re a jackass.” But he said Clinton got some boos too, including when she said Trump had dismantled a teleprompter because “it is harder when you are translating from the original Russian”.
The dinner came 24 hours after the third and final presidential debate, which yielded Trump’s refusal to pledge that he’d accept the election result, but probably didn’t change the race “bigly” (as Trump would say) one way or the other.
One Countdown source at the New York dinner said Clinton came across as far more relaxed and affable than usual, while Trump's staffers appeared downbeat. In the latest RealClearPolitics poll-of-polls, Clinton is 6 points ahead in a two-way national race and has consistently led by at least 4 points since October 6.
Not helping Trump’s case with female voters on Friday was Brian Babin, a Trump-supporting Texas congressman, who was asked on Fox News about Trump’s debate comment that his rival was “such a nasty woman”. Babin, having explained that he was a genteel southerner, replied: “I think sometimes a lady needs to be told when she’s being nasty.”
We’re now just 18 days away from the election. One Republican operative today told me he had some hope that with the unpredictable debates out of the way Trump might be able to get back on script and focus on hammering Clinton, as he did with some success in September. Still, he said, a win for the Democrat remained the most likely outcome.
I’m also thinking about bombshells. If anyone is sitting on explosive material that could wound either candidate – a secret video, a leaked email or something else – the prime time for releasing it is in the next two weeks. What could be out there?