Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are not mincing words as tightening poll numbers force both candidates to wrestle for momentum as the election heads into the final stretch.
Democrat Clinton, speaking at a rally in Dade City, Florida attempted to shift the conversation back on to her Republican rival Trump after spending several days chiding the FBI for its decision to revisit its investigation into her emails.
She appeared hesitant to address Trump directly, but in bringing up some of his past comments, said Trump “sure has spent a lot of time demeaning, degrading, insulting and assaulting women.”
“I would frankly rather be here talking about nearly anything else, but we’ve got to talk about something that, frankly, is painful. Because it matters. We can’t just wish it away.”
Clinton was introduced at the Tuesday night rally by former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, the woman who Trump once referred to as overweight and who has been engaged with a feud with Trump for longer than a month.
“He told me that I looked ugly and I was massive,” Machado said of Trump. “For years afterwards I was sick – fighting back eating disorders.”Clinton goes to Arizona Wednesday, a traditional Republican state but where a growing Hispanic population resents Trump's tough anti-immigration stance and his vow to build a wall along U.S.-Mexican border.
Trump has three rallies scheduled for Wednesday in Florida, one of the states seen as a must-win for Trump to achieve the 270 electoral votes it will take to win the presidency.
While Clinton continued to attack Trump on character and temperament issues, Trump instead focused his attention on the failures of President Obama’s signature healthcare law, which will see premiums for some popular healthcare plans rise by more than 25 percent in 2017.
“Hillary Clinton wants to expand Obamacare and make it even more expensive. She wants to put the government totally in charge of health care in America,” Trump said during a Pennsylvania rally earlier in the day. “If we don’t repeal and replace Obamacare, we will destroy American health care forever. It’s one of the single most important reasons why we must win on Nov. 8.”
If elected, Trump said he would immediately call a special session of Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“It will be such an honor for me, for you and for everybody in this country, because Obamacare has to be replaced," he said. "We will do it and we will do it very, very quickly."
While Trump would technically have the authority to call a special session of Congress, it would likely be unnecessary, since Congress would already be in session on January 20, when the inauguration takes place.
The latest polls of likely voters show the race between Clinton and Trump is too close to call when the two main third-party candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party's Jill Stein, are among the choices given to respondents.
Further FBI involvement
The FBI on Tuesday released additional documents from a 15-year-old closed investigation into Bill Clinton’s controversial presidential pardon of a prominent Democratic fundraiser.
The newly released documents come just a week before the presidential election, and days after the agency announced it would revisit its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, a move that drew scorn from Democrats and praise from Republican nominee Donald Trump.
The newly released documents contain 129 pages of extensively redacted material regarding Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich on his last day in office. Rich left America for Switzerland shortly after being indicted on federal tax charges and lived there in hiding for several years. Prior to his pardon, Rich was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List and at the center of the largest tax evasion case in U.S. history.
The controversy surrounding the pardon comes from donations made by Rich’s ex-wife, Denise Rich, to Clinton’s presidential library for $450,000 and to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign for $100,000.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon questioned the timing of the FBI’s decision to publish the documents now, so close to the election.
"Absent a (Freedom of Information Act) deadline, this is odd," Fallon wrote on Twitter. "Will FBI be posting docs on Trumps' housing discrimination in '70s?"
The second portion of Fallon’s tweet was in reference to a 1973 federal housing lawsuit against Trump, in which he and his father Fred Trump were accused of discriminating against potential tenants based on their race. The case was settled out of court and Trump never admitted guilt.
The FBI, in a statement, said the documents became available for release and were automatically posted to the agency’s online reading room in accordance with the law. If more than three people request documents from the FBI, the agency has a policy to make those documents available for viewing online.
Most of the pages in the Clinton documents were completely redacted and did not provide any new insight into the case.
Ken Bredemeier contributed to this report.