The Note: Trump, Inc. on the Trail

ByMichael Falcone
October 26, 2016, 9:23 AM

— -- NOTABLES

--TRUMP TAUNTS 'TOUGH GUY' JOE BIDEN OVER 'BEHIND THE GYM' COMMENTS: It's on! Donald Trump taunted Joe Biden during a rally in Florida last night, saying that he would "love" if the "tough guy" vice president "wants to take me to the back of the barn,” according to ABC’s TOM LIDDY. "Did you see where Biden wants to take me to the back of the barn," Trump told the crowd in Tallahassee. "I'd love that. I'd love that. Mr. Tough Guy. You know he's Mr. Tough Guy. You know when he's Mr. Tough Guy -- when he's standing behind a microphone by himself. That's when. He wants to bring me to the back of the barn ohhh." Trump made the comments in response to an impassioned Biden saying that if he were in high school, he'd like to take the GOP candidate "behind the gym" for his comments about women and being caught on video tape bragging about how he can grope women because he's "a star." http://abcn.ws/2fehYyV

--BY THE NUMBERS -- CLINTON’S FUNDRAISING PROWESS: After months of traveling the country to raise money for her campaign, Hillary Clinton's high-dollar fundraising effort is finally coming to a close. The Democratic nominee attended her last fundraiser of the 2016 campaign in Miami Tuesday night according to a campaign aide. The fundraising circuit has been good to Clinton this cycle. From mansions in Bel Air to lunch at Justin Timberlake's home and a fundraiser at the estate of the late Steve Jobs in Northern California, these often lavish events have helped the former secretary of state raise over $500 million for her campaign, write ABC’s JOSH HASKELL and LIZ KREUTZ. http://abcn.ws/2eDPwmA

--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Team Trump is pleading with the Republican base to come home. Donald Trump himself is pleading with the public to … stay at his hotels? It’s a curious choice of campaign time for the Republican nominee. Now less than two weeks out, he’s following up a trip to one of his Florida properties – complete with testimonials from his employees – with a visit to the grand opening of his Washington hotel. (Isn’t it open already? Couldn’t any ribbons be cut, say, after Nov. 8?) It’s part of the two-track operation that is the campaign at this late stage. There is actual campaigning going on. Then there is brand-building that might overlap with campaigning, complete with the new Trump TV-style operation. (Are there soft Trump supporters, or undecided voters, who are watching livestreams on Trump’s Facebook page at 6:30 pm?) Trump has been selling himself, and his brand, from the start. Up and down the ballot, though, Republicans might be expecting a little more campaign focus at this stage.

 

POLLING NOTE -- DEAD HEAT FOR CONGRESS, DESPITE CLINTON'S ADVANTAGE. Hillary Clinton’s lead in the presidential race is no longer in the double digits in the latest ABC News tracking poll, and there are signs of vote splitting that could help down-ballot Republicans. Clinton leads Donald Trump by 49-40 percent among likely voters, notes ABC’s GARY LANGER. That’s not significantly different from the previous 50-38 percent Clinton lead, but it holds out the possibility of better days for Trump moving beyond his difficult last two weeks. Moreover, likely voters divide essentially evenly, 47-46 percent, between the Democratic and Republican candidates in their congressional district. While the measure’s imperfect (it’s not limited to competitive districts, and doesn’t cover Senate races), it indicates challenges for Clinton forces as they seek to turn her support into a broader, Democratic wave. http://abcn.ws/2dVQOLj

 

YESTERDAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s ADAM KELSEY

GOP ACCUSES STATE DEPT. OF 'COVER-UP' TO PROTECT HILLARY CLINTON OVER EMAILS. The Republican Party is accusing the State Department of “stonewalling” a request to obtain the missing emails belonging to an information technology staffer who helped maintain Hillary Clinton’s private server, suggesting the delay is part of a “cover-up to protect” the Democratic presidential nominee, ABC’s JUSTIN FISHEL reports. New documents, first seen by ABC News, show that the State Department has not responded to a months-old request from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to explain why it has so few email records belonging to the senior staffer, Bryan Pagliano, who worked at the department as a political appointee from May 2009 to February 2013. During the course of Clinton’s email imbroglio, Pagliano developed a reputation as quiet insider with knowledge of Clinton’s controversial email configuration. He signed an immunity agreement with the Justice Department in exchange for cooperating with FBI investigators examining Clinton’s use of that private email server and has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights hundreds of times in response congressional and legal inquiries. http://abcn.ws/2eEVhDn

TRUMP, DEFENDING 'RIGGED' ELECTION TALK, CALLS PRESIDENT OBAMA 'A PHONY.' Donald Trump defended his characterization of the presidential election as “rigged” Tuesday, noting that his warnings of voter fraud in major cities echoed those of a prior presidential candidate: Barack Obama, writes ABC’s ADAM KELSEY. Trump, speaking at a campaign rally in central Florida, described a television clip of Obama he said he viewed Monday evening, showing the then-Illinois senator campaigning during his first presidential run. “Do you remember what I said, that some of the voting is rigged? OK. Everybody knows. Check out Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis,” said Trump. http://abcn.ws/2dTZ6DD

CLINTON RAMPS UP SURROGATE OPERATION AS TRUMP'S WITHERS. Hillary Clinton has been bringing out the big guns when it comes to her surrogate supporters — including President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. At the same time, GOP candidate Donald Trump appears to be leaning less on the heavy hitters he touted earlier in the campaign, including former rivals Dr. Ben Carson and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as well as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The differences in the surrogate game between the campaigns appear stark just two weeks before the election, reports ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY. http://abcn.ws/2ePcR54

BILL CLINTON HINTS AT POSSIBLE TITLE 'FIRST VOLUNTEER' IF HILLARY WINS. There has been much speculation about what title former President Bill Clinton would take if his wife, Hillary Clinton, wins the White House. First Gentleman may be the odds on favorite. But Tuesday, at a campaign stop in North Carolina, Clinton said he might like to be called "First Volunteer," reports ABC’s MATTHEW CLAIBORNE. "I don’t care what they call me as long as she wins," he said with a smile as he greeted supporters on a Kinston, North Carolina sidewalk. "I’ll be the First Volunteer. I hope to be the best free labor she’s got." http://abcn.ws/2ePGi79

THE POSSIBLE MEDIA AMBITIONS BEHIND THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN'S NEW LIVE SHOW. The new nightly Facebook Live show that Trump advisers have launched ahead of the final two weeks of the campaign may signal a foray into a formal media presence, but the transition from political campaign to cable news show — or even channel — has been tried before, without great success. When asked if the live show, dubbed "Trump Tower Live," was a precursor or test case for a larger, post-election media operation, Trump communications adviser Cliff Sims said, "this effort is a result of conversations that took place inside the communications team on how to best utilize Mr. Trump's massive online platforms to reach people with his message." ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY has more: http://abcn.ws/2eBMwtw

AMERICA 101 -- A HISTORY OF THE 'NASTIEST' US PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS. There have been several times during the course of this presidential campaign when things have gotten particularly "nasty," but this isn't the first time where the mudslinging has reached notable lows. The Founding Fathers faced off back in 1800 when Thomas Jefferson's campaign spread rumors about John Adams' sexuality, writes ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY. Then in 1828, negative campaigning apparently contributed to a fatality when Andrew Jackson's wife found a pamphlet that detailed her alleged sexual misdeeds and she promptly had a heart attack and died. http://abcn.ws/2eOvsy8

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

COLIN POWELL TO VOTE FOR CLINTON. Former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell revealed today at a luncheon on Long Island that he intends to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, according to Powell's spokesperson. The retired four-star general joins a small number of prominent Republican figures who have either crossed party lines to support Clinton or refuse to support Donald Trump. But this is the third time in recent history that Powell has supported a Democratic candidate over his own party's nominee, notes ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI. http://abcn.ws/2ePonO6

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@bpolitics: BREAKING: Donald Trump has 45% to Hillary Clinton's 43% in @bpolitics poll of Florida http://bloom.bg/2dVx4qZ 

@JuleannaGlover: An excellent ex of another typically great and trend-leading @jonward11 column http://yhoo.it/2eF1BuJ  @Evan_McMullin

@chefjoseandres: You know it is going to be an amazing day when you are boarding a plane to #Tampa to join @HillaryClinton early voting rally!! #ImWithHer

@EliStokols: As his electoral chances fade, Trump pimps his hotels. @ShaneGoldmacher and I on the campaign as informercial. http://politi.co/2eF1WgX

@MattNegrin: Nothing wrong with Trump promoting his hotel today; just surprised he's focusing on the one in DC and not on Park Place or Marvin Gardens

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