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Campaign says, Trump Believes Obama was Born in US

Trump and Clinton both held campaign events on Thursday, with Clinton returning to the trail in front of a small crowd on a North Carolina college, and Trump appearing on television to discuss his medical history

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Laconia Middle School, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. Source: VOA
  • The US Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump’s campaign office in a statement, praised Trump for his dedication to prove President Obama’s citizenship and bringing closure to the issue
  • Trump, who has always raised questions against the Obama administration in their 8-year term, is not the only one, Hillary Clinton, also raised an issue on this in her failed 2008 campaign for president
  • Clinton has, in the past, had denied the claims that it was her campaign that started the rumors about Obama’s birthplace

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump – or, at least his campaign – admitted Thursday he believed President Barack Obama was actually born in the United States, after years of questioning the president’s citizenship.

The Trump campaign, in a statement, credited Trump with forcing Obama to release his birth certificate and bringing closure to an issue he helped bring into the spotlight over the course of Obama’s presidency.

“Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer,” spokesman Jason Miller said. “Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.”

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Earlier in the day Thursday, Hillary Clinton, at her first campaign event since she was diagnosed with pneumonia and forced to leave a September 11 memorial event Sunday with health issues, tore into Trump for his support of the so-called “birther movement.”

She referenced a Washington Post story published Thursday in which Trump refused to say whether he believes Obama was born in America and said he does not talk about the issue anymore.

Clinton urged voters to “conclusively” stop Trump, and what she calls his bigotry, in the November election.

While Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of Obama’s presidency over the past eight years and fed into conspiracy theories over the authenticity of his birth certificate, Miller blamed Clinton for raising the issue in the first place.

“Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for president. This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton playbook. As usual, however, Hillary Clinton was too weak to get an answer.”

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The Trump statement pointed to a 2007 Clinton campaign memo in which chief strategist Mark Penn said Obama had a “lack of American roots” and not “fundamentally American in his thinking and values” as proof of Clinton’s role in the birther movement.

Clinton responded to Trump on Twitter by saying, “President Obama’s successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement. Period.”

Clinton has, in the past, denied claims that her campaign started the rumors about Obama’s birthplace.

Dueling campaign events

Trump and Clinton held competing for campaign events Thursday, with Clinton returning to the trail in front of a small crowd on a North Carolina college campus, and Trump appearing on television to discuss his medical history.

“It’s great to be back,” Clinton told an audience in Greensboro, North Carolina. She admitted that she tried to “power through” her illness before realizing it did not work and that she needed to stay home and rest.

“I’m not great at taking it easy even under ordinary circumstances. But with just two months to go before election day, sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be.”

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But Clinton said she considers herself lucky to be able to afford time off if she gets sick. She said millions of Americans have no backup if they fall ill and are just one paycheck away from losing their homes or facing other catastrophes.

She said she is running for president to make life better for children and their families.

“Every child, no matter who they are, what they look like or who they love is part of the American dream now and way into the future. Let that be our message. Let that be our mission.”

Later, Clinton appeared before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington, saying she would send Congress comprehensive immigration reform within her first 100 days in office. She said her plan would include a path toward citizenship for many undocumented immigrants.

Meanwhile, Trump appeared on a television talk show hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz Thursday and presented a letter from his doctors proclaiming him to be healthy after he took a physical exam last week.

“We are pleased to disclose all of the test results which show that Mr. Trump is in excellent health,” the campaign said, “and has the stamina to endure — uninterrupted — the rigors of a punishing and unprecedented presidential campaign and, more importantly, the singularly demanding job of president of the United States.”

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Trump, who is known to be fond of fast food, admitted to Oz that he takes drugs to treat high cholesterol.

He told the doctor that just like many other Americans, he wants to lose weight. Trump is 1.9 meters tall, (6 foot 3 inches) and weighs 107 kilograms (236 pounds). He is overweight by medical standards.

But it is Trump who has suggested Hillary Clinton does not have the strength and stamina to be president.

Clinton mocked the way Trump disclosed his medical condition by appearing on a daytime TV talk show, calling him a “showman.”

If the 70-year-old Trump wins the November 8 election, he would be the oldest to be elected U.S. president, while Clinton would be the second oldest. She turns 69 on October 26.

A new New York Times/CBS News poll of likely voters shows Clinton and Trump neck-and-neck at 42 percent in a four-way race with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Trump has been steadily gaining ground on Clinton in the polls recently, and RealClearPolitics polling averages show Trump edging out Clinton in the key political battleground states of Florida and Ohio. (VOA)

  • Anubhuti Gupta

    US elections this year are taking more horrendous turns by the day. The fact that both of these candidates are finally standing in elections is still unbelievable,

Next Story

How Starbucks Magnate Howard Schultz Might Impact 2020 U.S Presidential Election

Political scientists, by and large, believe Clinton would have won in a two-candidate contest. But there are members of the GOP who still blame Perot for making the elder Bush a single-term president.

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Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks at the time, speaks at the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting in Seattle, March 22, 2017. VOA

A billionaire, with the ability and apparent willingness to self-finance a national campaign, Schultz could have a profound impact on the presidential contest, even if his actual chances of victory would likely be slim.

Schultz’s tentative entry into the race sparked a variety of reactions across the country. His announcement piqued the interest of those who long for an alternative to the two-party system. It also earned the immediate derision of many political veterans, who see him as a wealthy dilettante. Most notably, it provoked outright fear among many Democrats, who worry that his bid could siphon votes away from their party’s eventual nominee, giving President Donald Trump a better shot at re-election, despite his sharp decline in the polls.

People protest outside before former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks during his book tour in Seattle, Jan. 31, 2019.
People protest outside before former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks during his book tour in Seattle, Jan. 31, 2019.( VOA)

Originally from Brooklyn, Schultz, 65, made his billions on the West Coast, turning a small Seattle coffee company into a ubiquitous chain with more than 28,000 outlets worldwide. Along the way, he became a reliable donor to the Democratic Party, calling himself a “lifelong Democrat.”

That, however, has changed.

In a flurry of TV appearances over the past week, Schultz has explicitly broken with both major political parties, insisting that the majority of Americans are not being well-served by “far-right Republicans and far-left Democrats.”

Staking out a middle ground

While Schultz has not yet laid out detailed policy proposals, he appears to be staking out a middle-ground position, agreeing with Republicans on some economic and fiscal issues, but with Democrats on many social issues.

He has angrily denounced proposals from high-profile Democrats to expand Medicare to cover all Americans, and to increase taxes on the wealthy by raising marginal rates on the highest earners, or taxing wealth in addition to income.

In an appearance on CNN, he dismissed the Medicare idea as “not American.” In an interview with National Public Radio, he called Democratic tax plans “ridiculous.”

On many of the issues that have fueled the country’s ongoing culture war, though, Schultz is firmly on the side of his former party. He remains in favor of abortion rights and gay marriage, and has spoken in support of tighter regulation of firearms. He also favors a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and aggressive action to counter climate change.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is interviewed by FOX News Anchor Dana Perino for her "The Daily Briefing" program, in New York, Jan. 30, 2019. Schultz said he's flirting with an independent presidential campaign that would motivate voters turned off by partisan politics.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is interviewed by FOX News Anchor Dana Perino for her “The Daily Briefing” program, in New York, Jan. 30, 2019. Schultz said he’s flirting with an independent presidential campaign that would motivate voters turned off by partisan politics.(VOA)

Schultz’s pitch is that his mix of policy positions will appeal to what he has repeatedly referred to as a “silent majority” of independent voters who are dissatisfied with both major parties and want an independent candidate to support.

But that assessment of the American electorate isn’t shared by political scientists. While some 40 percent of voters do self-identify as independents, study after study has shown that the overwhelming majority of them actually have a strong preference for one party or the other.

Schultz looms as a ‘spoiler’

To think otherwise is “just incredibly naive,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “It shows a very unsophisticated understanding of the American electorate.” He added, “There is a spoiler potential with someone like Schultz. But a path to victory? It’s just difficult for me to imagine.”

Indeed, commentators and partisans on both sides have focused less on Schultz as a potential president and more as a disruptive force in what will almost certainly be a highly contentious election.

“His presence in the race adds a degree of uncertainty,” said Seth Masket, director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver.

“He stands very little chance of winning the 2020 election, but he stands a decent chance of affecting the outcome,” Masket added. “If it’s going to be a close re-election race, and I assume it is, his votes could be the difference between a Trump re-election and a defeat.”

For his part, Schultz said he has no intention of aiding the incumbent president.

“I would never put myself in the position of being the person to re-elect Donald Trump,” Schultz told CNN Wednesday. Yet, he strongly signaled that if the Democrats turn toward a far-left candidate like Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts or Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the temptation to launch an independent campaign would be irresistible.

FILE - Four-term Alabama Gov. George Wallace in his office at the Capitol in Montgomery, March 26, 1984.
Those candidates have come from across the political and social strata of the country, but in living memory, they have all had one thing in common: abject electoral failure.(VOA)

 

Long list of failed political outsiders

Should he make the decision to fully commit to a presidential run, Schultz would join a long list of outsiders who have sought to disrupt the two-party system that has dominated post-Civil War U.S. politics.

Those candidates have come from across the political and social strata of the country, but in living memory, they have all had one thing in common: abject electoral failure.

It has been more than 50 years since a candidate not representing one of the two major parties in the U.S. won even a single electoral vote in a presidential election.

In 1968, George Wallace and the American Independent Party, running on a segregationist platform, managed to collect 46 of them. (The Libertarian Party candidate received one electoral vote in 1972, but he did not actually win it. It was awarded to him by a “faithless” elector, who was supposed to cast his vote for Republican candidate Richard Nixon.)

The most successful independent candidate since Wallace was, like Schultz, another self-funded billionaire. Texas businessman H. Ross Perot earned about 19 percent of the popular vote in 1992, though again, that wasn’t enough to earn him a single electoral vote.

But it is important not to confuse a lack of electoral success with a lack of overall impact, and that’s why Schultz’s potential candidacy is making some people nervous.

Libertarian Jeff Jared of Kirkland, Wash.,holds a sign in support of third parties before former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks during his book tour in Seattle, Jan. 31, 2019.
Libertarian Jeff Jared of Kirkland, Wash.,holds a sign in support of third parties before former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks during his book tour in Seattle, Jan. 31, 2019. (VOA)

The Perot effect

Perot’s effect on the 1992 presidential race remains a source of controversy today.

There is little doubt that his intense focus on the federal budget deficit forced his opponents, incumbent President George H.W. Bush and Democratic challenger Bill Clinton, to pay more attention to the issue than either would have liked. A larger question is whether Perot helped Clinton win the presidency by pulling votes away from Bush.

Political scientists, by and large, believe Clinton would have won in a two-candidate contest. But there are members of the GOP who still blame Perot for making the elder Bush a single-term president.

Better examples of third-party candidates as spoilers arose in both 2000 and 2016.

The election of 2000 came down to the state of Florida, where Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore were within 0.01 percent of each other when the votes were counted.

FILE - Former independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader poses in Washington, Aug. 20, 2009.
– Former independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader poses in Washington, Aug. 20, 2009. VOA

In that race, charismatic consumer activist Ralph Nader ran as the candidate of the Green Party. He earned 2.74 percent of the vote nationwide, and crucially, 1.63 percent in Florida.

In a different race, it would have been insignificant. But many believe that the Green Party drew its voters almost exclusively from the political left, with a fatal effect on Gore’s candidacy in the state.

More recently, Green Party candidate Jill Stein in 2016 may have damaged the chances of Democrat Hillary Clinton in key races in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

In all three states, Clinton lost to Republican Trump by fewer votes than Stein received. While it is impossible to know how —or even if — all of Stein’s supporters would have voted if she hadn’t been on the ballot, there is broad consensus that she hurt Clinton far more than Trump.

 Former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg speaks to the media in Jackson, Miss., Nov. 29, 2018. Bloomberg’s philanthropy has announced a $50 million donation to help fight the nation’s opioid epidemic.
Former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg speaks to the media in Jackson, Miss., Nov. 29, 2018. Bloomberg’s philanthropy has announced a $50 million donation to help fight the nation’s opioid epidemic.. Read more at: https://www.newsgram.com/how-starbucks-magnate-howard-schultz-could-beat-2020-election

Bloomberg wary

It’s the potential for a Schultz candidacy to serve as a spoiler that has Democrats, in particular, sweating over his announcement.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is considering a run for the Democratic nomination, said he had researched the possibility of an independent run and believes that it would only benefit Trump.

“In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the president,” he said in a statement. “The data was very clear and consistent. Given the strong pull of partisanship and the realities of the Electoral College system, there is no way an independent can win. That is truer today than ever before.”

Also Read: Americans Losing Faith In Government, Democrats Seek Voting Rights

But not everyone is convinced that a Schultz candidacy would be uniquely damaging to a Democratic candidate.

“I think the most natural constituency for someone like Schultz would be affluent, white, college-educated voters in the suburbs, some of whom may be transitioning away from the Republican Party,” Kondik said. “Maybe they grudgingly voted for Clinton in 2016. Maybe they grudgingly voted for Trump. Maybe they voted for another third-party candidate, and maybe some of those voters would be open to voting for someone like Schultz.”

Schultz, he said, could actually damage Trump as much or more as he might a Democratic candidate. (VOA)