The Note: Ruckus Over Rigging

ByMICHAEL FALCONE
October 17, 2016, 8:59 AM

— -- NOTABLES

--TRUMP’S WEEKEND IN REVIEW: In a series of tweets, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on his contention that the Nov. 8 election is somehow “rigged.” He offered no specific evidence to back these assertions.

@realDonaldTrump: The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary - but also at many polling places - SAD

@realDonaldTrump: Can't believe these totally phoney stories, 100% made up by women (many already proven false) and pushed big time by press, have impact!

@realDonaldTrump: Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!

--PENCE SAYS HE AND TRUMP WILL ‘ABSOLUTELY ACCEPT’ RESULTS OF ELECTION: Mike Pence said Sunday that he and Trump "will absolutely accept the results of the election" on Nov. 8, ABC’s INES DE LA CUETARA. "As Donald Trump said in that first debate, and I will say to you today, we will accept the will of the American people," Pence said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Asked about claims by the Trump campaign that the election is "rigged" against the Republican presidential candidate, Pence said, "One of the great, great traditions of America is the peaceful transfer of power ... Elections get rough. I expect they're going to stay just as rough as they are right now going into November the 8th. The stakes are so high in this election." http://abcn.ws/2dYyZOq

--ANALYSIS -- ABC'S RICK KLEIN: And so it will end for Donald Trump with words that could be far more damaging than the insults or innuendo or labels or lies. Trump is closing with allegations of massive conspiracy, suggesting a corporate/media/international cabal to boost the Clintons that would be unprecedented in scope. Even if there's no evidence for any of it, Trump is now using words (and Tweets) that directly undermine faith in American democracy. (Notably, after Newt Gingrich gave him a partial out on "This Week," saying he meant media conspiracy and not precinct-level irregularities that would leave Americans skeptical of the results, Trump Tweeted to clarify that he means both. Mike Pence and Paul Ryan are among those who are signaling they disagree.) By saying the election itself is "rigged," Trump is playing a dangerous game during a tense time. With each passing day, the possibility of a gracious loser, in keeping with American traditions of power transfer, diminishes with fresh allegations.

 

BY THE NUMBERS -- ENTHUSIASM FOR TRUMP FADES, YET PARTISANSHIP KEEPS IT CLOSE.  Enthusiasm for Donald Trump’s candidacy has fallen, two-thirds of registered voters reject his claim not to have made unwanted sexual advances toward women and Hillary Clinton’s support has firmed in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. Yet the race between them remains close, a testament to the strong pull of partisan preferences, ABC’s GARY LANGER reports. The contest stands at 47-43 percent, Clinton-Trump, among likely voters, with 5 percent support for Gary Johnson and 2 percent for the Green Party’s Jill Stein if the election were today. That’s little changed from 46-44 percent in the last ABC/Post poll, conducted just ahead of the first debate and before the firestorm of controversy that’s erupted over Trump’s treatment of women. http://abcn.ws/2e4zrb1

 

YESTERDAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI

GINGRICH BACKS ‘RIGGED’ ELECTION CLAIM, SAYS VOTERS SHOULD MONITOR POLLING SITES. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich stood by Donald Trump's claim that the election is being "rigged," blaming what he calls "the unending one-sided assault of the news media" on the GOP candidate, ABC’s NICKI ROSSOLL reports. "Without the unending one-sided assault of the news media, Trump would be beating Hillary Clinton by 15 points," Gingrich said. “So to suggest to us that people who are concerned about honest elections are somehow nutty, I think is a mistake,” he said. Gingrich emphasized that the rigging is not at the local level: "This is not about election officials at the precinct level," he said. Nevertheless, he said voters should monitor polling stations as Trump has encouraged because past elections have been "stolen." http://abcn.ws/2ej4kWE

KAINE CALLS TRUMP’S TALK ‘SCARE TACTICS.’ Sen. Tim Kaine slammed Donald Trump's recent claims that the election is rigged as "scare tactics." "Donald Trump has kind of started to go wilder and wilder," Kaine said on ABC’s “This Week.” “He started to make wild claims, kind of scorched-earth claims about the election being rigged ... He shouldn't be engaging in those scare tactics." According to ABC’s NICKI ROSSOLL, Trump has warned supporters that the election is not being conducted fairly, telling a crowd in New Hampshire Saturday, "Remember, it's a rigged system.” Kaine said that to counter such claims, “We have to keep putting out a message, and we need to call on everybody to speak out about the fact that we run elections and we run them well here...we’re needing to push that message, and we ask the GOP leaders also to stand up for the integrity of the American electoral process." http://abcn.ws/2ej1VuW

NORTH CAROLINA GOP OFFICE HIT BY SUSPECTED FIREBOMB. Police in Hillsborough, North Carolina, are investigating the suspected firebombing and vandalism of a Republican Party office Saturday night, local officials said. It appears that a bottle filled with flammable substance was thrown through a front window of the Orange County GOP offices, according to a statement from the Hillsborough government. The substance ignited inside the office, burning some furniture and damaging the building's interior before going out, ABC’s DEAN SCHABNER reports. An adjacent building was also vandalized with graffiti including a swastika and the words "Nazi Republicans leave town or else," which was discovered and reported Sunday morning by another business owner, the statement said. Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina, called the incident "a horrific attack of political terrorism." http://abcn.ws/2eeZor2

TRUMP CALLS SNL’S PARODY OF HIM A ‘HIT JOB.’ Donald Trump apparently didn't like Alec Baldwin's portrayal of him on Saturday Night Live and called the comedy show's parody of the second presidential debate a "hit job." "Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me. Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!" Trump tweeted Sunday morning. According to ABC’s DAVID CAPLAN and MICHAEL EDISON HAYDEN, Saturday’s episode poked fun at both candidates' performance in the presidential debate, including the absence of a handshake between Trump and Hillary Clinton at the start of the debate, Trump's proclivity to hover behind Clinton as she spoke, and the emergence of undecided voter Ken Bone as an internet superstar. http://abcn.ws/2dUB4bM

NEARLY 40 PERCENT OF AMERICANS REPORT TENSION WITH FAMILY OR FRIENDS OVER ELECTION. Nearly 40 percent of Americans have experienced tension with friends or family over the 2016 presidential election. Together with SSRS, a survey research firm, ABC News asked voters how often they discuss the presidential election with relatives or friends and whether the subject causes any friction. Ninety percent of Americans talk about the presidential race often with friends or family, the survey shows, ABC’s RACHEL TILLMAN writes. Of those, 58 percent discuss the election very often, and 32 percent somewhat often. Only 4 percent never talk about the presidential election. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said the 2016 race has caused tension with relatives or friends. http://abcn.ws/2e8pXMV

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@pbump: The governors of Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona are Republican. They’re rigging for Clinton?

@alanblinder: Back in August, @NYTNational reported out some questions and answers on election fraud. http://nyti.ms/2alCf3y 

@PhilipRucker: Today's A1, my latest w/ @costareports: Inside Trump's echo chamber -- the Breitbart and Alex Jones closing argument http://wapo.st/2ejT8Js

@meridithmcgraw: Trump son-in-law makes approach on post-election TV start-up https://www.ft.com/content/7dc39954-940e-11e6-a1dc-bdf38d484582 … via @FT

@AdamWollner: Sanders, Warren stopped in CO ahead of start of mail voting. HRC was there last week, DJT visits this week. http://bit.ly/2eeoAtx

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