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Stock SectorOctober 16, 201822min10

Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor Resigns After ‘Inappropriate’ Comments

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, right, with Gov. Bill Walker of Alaska earlier this year in Anchorage. CreditCreditMark Thiessen/Associated Press
  • Oct. 16, 2018

SEATTLE — The lieutenant governor of Alaska, Byron Mallott, resigned abruptly on Tuesday after making what Gov. Bill Walker, a political Independent, called “inappropriate” but unspecified comments.

The resignation threw an already tight re-election effort by Mr. Walker into even more uncertain territory with only a few weeks before voting begins.

Mr. Mallott, 75, is the state’s most prominent Native Alaskan politician, a member of the Tlingit people, and has been a hugely popular figure in rural tribal areas of the state. As a Democrat, he was also part of an unlikely political marriage with Mr. Walker, a former Republican who left his party to run as an Independent in 2014.

In his first term, Mr. Walker repeatedly referred to Mr. Mallott as his partner in dealing with a huge budget deficit that has required painful cuts to state programs and a reduction in payments to Alaskans from a fund created by decades of oil tax revenues.

And Mr. Walker was entering what appeared to be a tough gantlet in seeking a second term, facing a well-known Democratic candidate, the former United States Senator Mark Begich, and a well-financed Republican former state senator, Mike J. Dunleavy.

Now, with only a few weeks left before the election, Mr. Walker’s office said in a statement that it was too late to remove Mr. Mallott’s name from the ballot. “He will not accept the position of lieutenant governor if elected,” the statement said.

Mr. Walker said he learned on Monday night of “inappropriate comments that do not reflect the sterling level of behavior required in his role as lieutenant governor.”

Mr. Mallott’s replacement, Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson, who had been commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services and is also Native Alaskan, suggested in her own statement that Mr. Mallott’s comments involved a woman or women, though she, too, provided no specifics.

“Respect for women, and the dignity of all Alaskans, is our responsibility,” she said. “I am profoundly disappointed by his conduct.”

Mr. Mallott was briefly the Democratic Party nominee for governor in 2014, but gave up the nomination to run at Mr. Walker’s side because Mr. Mallott said that only together could they defeat the previous governor, Sean Parnell, a Republican.

Mr. Mallott could not be immediately reached for comment, with a call and email to the governor’s office getting no response late Tuesday afternoon. He said in his resignation letter that his comments had “placed a person whom I respect and revere in a position of vulnerability.”

He said in the letter that he would seek “healing for my family and for my staff, my friends and all those who have place their faith in me and been let down by my behavior.”

“I take full responsibility for this action and apologize to, and seek healing for, the person I hurt,” he added.

The rapid erasure of Mr. Mallott from the executive branch website was also sharp and sudden. An internet search that turned up the lieutenant governor’s website produced an error message, saying that “the page you are looking for no longer exists,” and listing Ms. Davidson as the office holder.

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Stock SectorOctober 16, 201813min20

Warren defends decision to release DNA test
Globe Staff
Senator Elizabeth Warren went public when she did because that’s when the analysis came back, she told the Globe during an hour-long interview with the editorial board.
By Victoria McGrane

Senator Elizabeth Warren defended the timing of her decision to release the results of a DNA test just ahead of the midterm elections, telling the Globe Tuesday that she went public as soon as possible to begin deflecting the constant taunting from the president and her Senate challengers.

“I have an election,” Warren said during an hour-long interview with the editorial board. “Donald Trump goes in front of crowds multiple times a week to attack me. Both of my opponents have made the same attack. I got this analysis back, and I made it public.”

The six-page genetic data report, which was released on Sunday, is dated Oct. 10. The analysis showed “strong evidence” Warren had a Native American ancestor dating back six to 10 generations. That generational range suggests Warren is between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American. According to Warren’s family lore, her great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was at least partially Native American.


The results, perhaps predictably, only triggered further attacks from Trump and other Republican critics, who quickly seized on the low end of the results — showing as little as 1/1,024th Native American blood — as ammunition for further mockery.

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“Now that her claims of being of Indian heritage have turned out to be a scam and a lie, Elizabeth Warren should apologize for perpetrating this fraud against the American Public,” Trump said Tuesday morning as part of a Twitter tirade against the Cambridge Democrat.

Some Democrats have also criticized Warren’s timing on releasing the report — just weeks before the midterm elections on Nov. 6, when the party hopes to capitalize on a backlash against Trump to make inroads into the GOP’s majorities in Congress.

When asked whether, based on the results, she made a mistake identifying herself as Native American as a law professor, Warren expressed regret but stopped short of admitting error.

“There’s a distinction between citizenship and ancestry. I wish I had been more mindful of that distinction. The tribes and only the tribes determine citizenship,” said Warren in the Globe interview. “It’s their right as a matter of sovereignty, and they exercise that in the ways they choose to exercise it. I respect that distinction.”


Pressed again if she made a mistake decades ago in listing herself in directories of minorities in academia, Warren emphasized she was thinking about her Native American ancestry, not any sort of claims to tribal citizenship, when she made those decisions.

“The distinction is: I’m not a citizen, never have claimed to be, and I wish I had been more mindful of that 30 years ago,” Warren said, noting that she has cousins who are tribal citizens. “I wish I had been clearer about that — been more mindful, is the word.”

Leadership of the Cherokee Nation have nonetheless criticized Warren for her move.

“Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong,” Chuck Hoskin Jr., the secretary of state for the Cherokee Nation, said in a statement after Warren’s results went public.

Another of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes offered more support for Warren, telling Business Insider they did not take issue with Warren’s decision. “Senator Elizabeth Warren does not claim to be a citizen of any tribal nation, and she is not a citizen of the Eastern Band,” Eastern Band Principal Chief Richard Sneed told the outlet. “Like many other Americans, she has a family story of Cherokee and Delaware ancestry and evidence of Native ancestry.”


Warren’s Republican challenger on Nov. 6, Geoff Diehl, has largely avoided mentioning the controversy surrounding Warren’s claims of Native American ancestry, though he has referenced it in some recent TV interviews, including during a Tuesday appearance on Fox News.


“She’s been consistently misleading the people of Massachusetts and the American people in saying that she had this claim. Now we know there’s no real conclusive proof that she has Native American identity,” Diehl said.

He also attacked Warren by saying she benefited professionally from identifying as Native American. An extensive Boston Globe investigation found clear evidence, in documents and interviews, that her claim to Native American ancestry did not help her remarkable rise through the legal teaching ranks.

“Honesty with Elizabeth Warren seems to be a foreign word,” Diehl said.

Warren has been attacked on the issue much more aggressively by the third candidate on the ballot, independent Shiva Ayyadurai of Belmont, whose main campaign slogan is “Only a real Indian can defeat a fake Indian.”

Warren’s decision to share the DNA results is an unprecedented move by an American politician, and sets her apart from both Hillary Clinton — who resisted releasing personal information — and Trump, who continues to refuse to release his tax returns.

In the interview, the Cambridge Democrat, who has said she will “take a hard look” at running for president after Nov. 6, placed the DNA results within the context of other recent moves she’s made to open her background to outside scrutiny.

“I believe in transparency,” she said, pointing to her decision to release her tax returns back to 2008, and every employment document “that we could lay our hands on” to show that her claims to Native American blood did not help her professionally. “This was just another part of it.”

An in-depth Globe review of Warren’s professional history, including interviews with 31 professors on the Harvard Law hiring committee who offered her a job in 1993, found that Warren was viewed as a white woman by the hiring committees at every institution that employed her.

Warren said that any backlash or criticism that greeted her decision did not change her mind because it was the right thing to do.

“I know what it is, and I’m not going to hide it,” said Warren. “How do you sit here if you know what it is, and people ask, and you don’t give an answer? I don’t know how to do that and I don’t want to do that.”

Victoria McGrane can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @vgmac.

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Stock SectorOctober 16, 201831min13

Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz Set to Debate Tuesday Night

Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Beto O’Rourke held their first debate last month in Dallas.CreditCreditTom Fox/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • Oct. 16, 2018

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. — Three weeks after their last debate, Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Beto O’Rourke will face off again Tuesday night for the second and perhaps final time, as Mr. Cruz seeks to widen his lead in the polls and Mr. O’Rourke tries to restore dimming Democratic hopes that he can unseat Mr. Cruz and pull off the biggest upset in modern Texas political history.

The rival campaigns had initially agreed to three debates, but one was postponed and has not been rescheduled. Tuesday’s debate will focus on domestic and foreign policy.

The battle between Mr. Cruz and Mr. O’Rourke has captivated and polarized Texas and drawn enormous interest nationwide, with the candidates raising far more money than those in typical Senate races. Mr. O’Rourke raised a record-breaking $38.1 million in the last three months alone, the most of any Senate candidate ever. And he has enjoyed a kind of pop-culture celebrity status, getting a shout-out from the young El Paso soul singer Khalid at the American Music Awards and jamming on stage with Willie Nelson. On Thursday, he will appear in a live town-hall event on CNN in the border city of McAllen.

For weeks, several polls showed the two candidates running about even, an extraordinary feat in Texas, where Democrats have failed to win any statewide offices since 1994. But lately the polls have shown Mr. Cruz building a lead over Mr. O’Rourke. One Quinnipiac University poll last week showed Mr. Cruz ahead by nine percentage points and another by The New York Times Upshot and Siena College had Mr. Cruz up by eight points.

Texas Democrats remain cautiously optimistic, with some more cautious and others more optimistic.

Few, if any, Democrats running statewide in Texas in recent decades have generated the amount of enthusiasm that Mr. O’Rourke has. In the 2014 race for governor, the party’s nominee, Wendy Davis, enjoyed an initial wave of excitement but then trailed the Republican, Greg Abbott, by up to 12 percentage points in the polls four months before the election, and some Democrats were publicly and privately grumbling about her campaign’s missteps. Mr. O’Rourke is running a tighter race and a smoother campaign, effectively turning much of his life into a social-media livestream, allowing his supporters to watch him as he drives between events and gets a haircut.

“He’s probably running the best campaign that’s been run in Texas in my lifetime,” said Garry Mauro, a former state land commissioner who was the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Texas in 2016. “I’m on his Facebook. At one time yesterday he had 13,000 people watching him drive in the car.”

Mr. Cruz was criticized early on by some Texas Republicans for not taking Mr. O’Rourke seriously enough. Those complaints have largely vanished as Mr. Cruz has gone on the attack, warning conservative audiences across the state that Mr. O’Rourke is too radical and liberal for Texas.

“The polls are beginning to reflect the reality that is Texas — we are a conservative state where Republicans dominate,” said Allen E. Blakemore, a prominent G.O.P. political strategist in Texas. “Beto’s campaign was always built on a myth, and he’s taken $70 million from liberals all over the country to launch a quixotic adventure. It’s been a vanity play.”

Next week, President Trump will come to Houston to hold a rally for Mr. Cruz, a move that many Democrats view as a sign that Mr. Cruz’s campaign has been in need of a presidential rescue. Mr. Cruz dismisses that notion, expressing confidence he will win. In a recent interview, he said the only major question in his mind was turnout on Election Day.

“The voters on the hard left are going to show up. They’re enraged by Donald Trump and that anger will turn them out at the polls,” Mr. Cruz said. “What will decide this election is the South Texas oil field worker, or the West Texas oil field worker, whose job is going great, the economy’s booming. And he’s focused on going to work, going to church and raising his kids, maybe going to the ballgame, and he just might not make it to the polls this year.

“The sort of voter that typically votes in a presidential year and doesn’t typically vote in an off-cycle, nonpresidential year,” he added. “Those are the voters we need to turn out, who are just common-sense conservatives, but we need to make sure that they get to the polls.”

In the first debate in Dallas last month, Mr. Cruz and Mr. O’Rourke clashed on immigration, gun control and police shootings, spoke over one another and accused each other of taking their words out of context. Mr. Cruz was in attack mode, turning a lighthearted moment into an opportunity for a jab, after he compared Mr. O’Rourke to Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist. Mr. O’Rourke held his own against Mr. Cruz, who was a national debate champion at Princeton University, but he was more reserved and struggled to turn his expansive speaking style into memorable bite-size responses.

Mr. O’Rourke said in an interview on Saturday that although he viewed the debate as important, he did not believe it was a make-or-break moment for his campaign.

“The level of attention in Texas right now on this race is exactly what we want,” Mr. O’Rourke said of the debate. “We want everybody paying attention, making sure that they have an opportunity to decide the election of our lifetime because as we know, it’s not just the state, but the country that hangs in the balance.”

“Cruz is an excellent debater,” he added. “But I also think that the issues that I’ve heard from people in all of our visits here, and everywhere around the state, I don’t know that you need to be a master debater to make your case.”

The disconnect between state and national concerns has grown more striking for Mr. O’Rourke. Some Democrats called for Mr. O’Rourke to share his war chest with other Senate candidates around the country and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. On Monday, Mr. O’Rourke said he had no plans to share any of the $38.1 million he raised in recent months.

“I’m focused on Texas,” he told supporters in San Antonio on Monday.

Mitchell Ferman contributed reporting from McAllen, Tex.

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Stock SectorOctober 16, 20183min15

Hof was found dead Tuesday, the morning after a birthday celebration attended by conservative anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, controversial former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and adult film star Ron Jeremy.
Hof’s campaign manager, Chuck Muth, tweeted: “I just confirmed with Nye County sheriff’s deputy that Dennis Hof passed away this morning. No other details at this point. I’m heading out to Love Ranch Vegas now. Official statement will come once I learn more.”
Lt. David Boruchowitz with the Nye County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Hof’s death, but said the department is sharing no additional details.
Hof — the star of HBO’s “Cathouse” series who Republican consultant Roger Stone had called “Trump from Pahrump” — had ousted a sitting Republican member of Nevada’s State Assembly in a primary and was the favorite to win a seat in Carson City in November’s election.
“I’m riding the Trump wave,” Hof told CNN in June as he explained how an owner of legal brothels could win elections. “He’s Christopher Columbus.”
“This is the new breed of politicians because of what Donald Trump has done. He’s opened that door. Before this, who would have ever elected somebody who said, on tape, ‘Grab ’em by the p—-‘? Nobody ever would do that,” Hof said then.
Voters, he said, seem to have decided, “I’d rather have that than the guy that’s going to lie to me and raise my taxes and sell me out to the special interests.”

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Stock SectorOctober 16, 20185min12

(Reuters) – Democratic U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke faces off against U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in their second debate on Tuesday as recent opinion polls show the Republican incumbent pulling away from his liberal challenger for the Texas seat.

FILE PHOTOS: A combination photo shows U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (L) and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R) speaking to supporters in Del Rio, Texas, on September 22, 2018 and in Columbus, Texas, U.S. on September 15, 2018 respectively. REUTERS/Sergio Flores/File Photos

O’Rourke has captured national attention and set a Senate fund-raising record with $38 million in third-quarter donations, more than triple Cruz’s.

Democrats nationally have seen the race as a chance at one of the two seats they need to win in congressional elections on Nov. 6 to take a majority in the Senate and more effectively counter President Donald Trump.

But a CNN poll published on Tuesday showed the first-term incumbent Cruz with a 52 percent to 45 percent lead, suggesting national enthusiasm about O’Rourke reflected in media profiles and donations may not be so strong in Republican-leaning Texas, which has not elected a Democrat to the Senate in three decades.

That leaves the San Antonio debate, which will be broadcast live throughout the state, as a key opportunity for former punk rocker O’Rourke to convince Texans of his message.

Cruz has painted O’Rourke, who favors a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, opposes building a wall along the border with Mexico, and supports some gun-control measures, as too radical for Texas.

Cruz was due to get another dose of support from former presidential primary rival Trump next Monday when the president headlines a Houston campaign rally for Cruz and other Texas Republicans.

O’Rourke has blasted Cruz for supporting massive deportations of illegal immigrants. He has also criticized Cruz for supporting Trump’s trade policies, which he said have hurt the Texas economy.

The momentum may have turned in Cruz’s favor since the two squared off in Dallas last month, against the backdrop of the debate over Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

At the time, Cruz argued for swift confirmation of Kavanaugh while O’Rourke joined a chorus of Democrats calling for an FBI investigation into accusations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted another student while he was in high school.

Following raucous hearings, Kavanaugh was confirmed early this month in a 50-48 vote that firmly solidified the court’s 5-4 conservative majority.

Reporting by Scott Malone, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Tom Brown

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Stock SectorOctober 16, 20189min19

Donald Trump was the least transparent presidential candidate in decades. He defied 40 years of precedent in 2016 when he declined to release his tax returns. Rather than sharing his health records with reporters, he dictated a memo to his personal doctor and discussed his health in a TV interview with controversial celebrity physician Dr. Oz. Even as President, his business operations remain opaque.

Now one of the contenders to take him on in 2020 is trying to use transparency against him.

In revealing the results of a DNA test of her ancestry this week, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren showed just how far she would go to rebut Trump’s repeated and baseless claim that she lied about having Native American ancestry to get ahead in academia.

But it wasn’t the only move she’s made to be more open.

After six years of waving off questions from Capitol Hill reporters from routine “hallway interviews,” Warren has recently opened up to the D.C. press corps for more spontaneous question-and-answer sessions.

“In a world where Donald Trump is trying to take the legs out from underneath any press effort to hold him accountable,” she said, “then I think that means it’s even more important that the rest of us who serve in government on both sides of the aisle open up.”

In recent weeks, Warren also sat for a lengthy interview with the Boston Globe, which pored over hundreds of documents and interviewed 31 professors and released a dozen personnel forms relating to her academic career at Harvard University and other schools. The Globe found that she was not given preferential treatment in hiring because of any claims about American Indian heritage.

And in August, she also posted 10 years’ worth of her state and federal tax returns online.

Warren has explicitly tied the release of her own records to Trump’s refusal to do the same, especially in regard to his taxes.

The bid for more transparency shows Warren may have learned a lesson from Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign.

Though Clinton released her tax returns and medical records, as other candidates typically have, her campaign often had a begrudging attitude toward transparency. Her medical records were nowhere near the level of disclosure offered by John McCain in 2008, when he allowed reporters to look at thousands of documents. She refused to release transcripts of speeches she made at Goldman Sachs and questions lingered to the very end of the campaign about the Clinton Foundation.

Although she was more transparent than Trump by far, Clinton continually fed the perception that she wasn’t.

That hurt her several times, as when she didn’t reveal that she was suffering from pneumonia, fueling conservative conspiracy theories when she stumbled on the way out of a memorial for the Sept. 11 attacks, and when WikiLeaks posted the Goldman Sachs transcripts after campaign chairman John Podesta’s email account was hacked.

And it played a role in the most damaging scandal of her campaign, the revelation that she used a private email server as Secretary of State.

Warren’s approach so far seems more like that of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who released emails from his time as governor on his own website,, in December 2014. Even though the emails were already available under state law, Bush’s move was aimed at showing that he had nothing to hide, and the emails barely made a ripple in the Republican primary.

Warren’s DNA test seems to have backfired in the short run. The Cherokee Nation criticized her for attempting to use a DNA test to prove ancestry, calling it “inappropriate and wrong,” which Trump used as an excuse to gleefully bash her some more. And some Democrats questioned why she engaged Trump on the issue at all, especially this close to the midterm elections.

But being transparent could bolster one of Warren’s likely campaign themes — if she chooses to run — of strengthening anti-corruption laws.

In a speech at the National Press Club in August revealing a government reform bill, Warren argued that measures like requiring all presidential candidates and other federal officeholders release their tax returns and instituting a lifetime ban on lobbying by former lawmakers and Cabinet secretaries would strengthen confidence in government.

“People don’t trust their government to do right because they think government works for the rich, the powerful and the well-connected, and not for the American people,” she said. “And here’s the kicker: They’re right.”

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Stock SectorOctober 16, 201811min20

Adult actress Stormy Daniels signs an autograph in Berlin on Oct. 12. (Kamil Zihnioglu/EPA-EFE)
October 16 at 12:41 PM

Stormy Daniels’s story is straightforward. She met Donald Trump pre-politics at a Lake Tahoe golf tournament in 2006. Trump invited her to dinner, which, as it turns out, was in his hotel room. Things progressed. In 2011, also pre-politics, Daniels told her story to InTouch magazine, which sat on it — apparently because Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney at the time, threatened to sue.

As Election Day approached in 2016, Daniels was talking to various outlets about her alleged liaison with Trump. Someone at the National Enquirer got wind of it, and Cohen ended up paying Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about her allegation. Cohen, speaking under oath in a federal court this year, says Trump knew about and directed the payment to Daniels. Her story was buried until earlier this year.

On Monday, a court threw out a lawsuit Daniels had filed in the wake of her story becoming public. She’d sued the now-president for defamation after he called her allegations of having been accosted by someone to stay quiet about the alleged Trump affair “a total con job.”

On Tuesday, Trump responded as one might expect.

Why might we expect that Trump would disparage Daniels’s appearance (beyond the weirdness of saying that an alleged former romantic partner looks like a farm animal)? He has done it so often before. He disparaged Carly Fiorina’s looks when he faced her in the Republican presidential primary. He disparaged the looks of one of the women who accused him of sexually assaulting her. He’s disparaged so many women over time that the first question he got in the first Republican primary debate centered on those comments. The question came from journalist Megyn Kelly; Trump then proceeded to repeatedly attack Kelly on Twitter.

Trump’s willingness to throw punches at his opponents is something that his supporters often cheer. A Republican base that spent the administration of Barack Obama watching conservative media chastise elected officials for not fighting the Democrats hard enough embraced a candidate who’d watched the same media and was willing to throw those punches, warranted or not. Pew Research Center polling earlier this year found that far more of those who like Trump like him because of his approach to the job and personality than because of his policies.

And, sure enough, some conservative media outlets and personalities praised Trump’s response to Daniels.

The Daily Caller, in a tweet, called the new nickname “devastating.” The site created a special graphic to share on social media.

The Washington Free Beacon labeled the tweet “celebratory.” “Dilbert” creator and fervent Trump backer Scott Adams offered three laugh-crying emoji.

Prominent Trump supporter and radio host Bill Mitchell offered his praise.

Mitchell also tweeted that he would “take brutal honestly in my President over charming lies any day.”

The Daily Caller apparently decided against another tweet, deleting an image of a Halloween horse mask.

Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to George W. Bush, was less enthusiastic, speaking on Fox News.

“This is where the president is his own worst enemy,” Fleischer said. “He doesn’t need to call anybody horseface. You just don’t do that when you’re the president. . . . The president can counterpunch so hard, he often hits himself.”

Fleischer compared the tweet to Trump’s infamous disparagement of MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski last year. Trump called her “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and said she’d shown up at his Mar-a-Lago estate for a New Year’s Eve party “bleeding badly from a face-lift.” YouGov has been polling on all of Trump’s tweets; the Brzezinski series were two of the three worst-rated tweets of Trump’s presidency.

Bush’s former press secretary is not someone who necessarily reflects the attitudes of the Trump base, of course. There’s little to suggest that Trump’s willingness to refer to a woman who credibly alleges an extramarital affair as “Horseface” will cause concern among many of his ardent supporters.

It’s worth wondering, though, how an electorate that thinks Trump is biased against women in an election cycle that’s already lining up as being defined by women running for office and challenging the status quo — in part as a reaction to Trump’s presidency — will respond to Trump again disparaging a woman for her looks.

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Stock SectorOctober 16, 20185min14

WASHINGTON – Celebrating a court victory over porn star Stormy Daniels, President Donald Trump on Tuesday called his alleged former paramour “Horseface” and suggested he may take legal action against her.

“Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas,” Trump tweeted along with a Fox News story about his legal victory. “She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!”

Trump crowed a day after a federal judge in California dismissed a defamation lawsuit that the adult film actress filed against Trump for calling her a “con job” in a Twitter post earlier this year. In threatening legal action action against Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, Trump apparently cited Texas because Daniels has a residence there.

Historically, Trump often does not follow through on his threats.

Both Daniels and Avenatti hit back on Twitter.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present your president. In addition to his…umm…shortcomings, he has demonstrated his incompetence, hatred of women and lack of self control on Twitter AGAIN!” Daniels wrote. “And perhaps a penchant for bestiality. Game on, Tiny.”

Avenatti called Trump “a disgusting misogynist and an embarrassment” to the country.

“Bring everything you have, because we are going to demonstrate to the world what a complete shyster and liar you are,” Avenatti said. “How many other women did you cheat on your wife with while you had a baby at home?”

In dismissing the defamation suit, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero said preventing Trump from engaging in “rhetorical hyperbole” would “significantly hamper the office of the president.”

“Any strongly-worded response by a president to another politician or public figure could constitute an action for defamation,” he wrote.

Avenatti has appealed the ruling.

Avenatti also represents Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in another suit to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement she said she signed to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump. The president has denied the affair, and his attorneys said in September they don’t intend to enforce the agreement.

Trump has a history of attacking the looks of women who have criticized him.

He has described actress Rosie O’Donnell as a “slob,” and that news broadcaster Megyn Kelly has “blood coming out of her wherever” as she questioned him during a 2015 Republican primary debate. He once attacked GOP primary rival Carly Fiorina by saying: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?”

Last year, he lashed out at MSNBC host Mika Brzezinksi, referencing that her face was “bleeding” from a facelift.

The president has no public events on his schedule Tuesday. He spent much of the morning tweeting, often in response to items on cable television news programs.

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Stock SectorOctober 16, 20186min12

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Just 9% of likely Texas voters say there’s a chance they could change their mind about the Senate contest before Election Day, although O’Rourke’s voters are more apt to be locked in to their choice (92% say their minds are made up) than are Cruz’s backers (87% say they’ve made a final decision).
The two candidates are set to debate Tuesday night, and O’Rourke will participate in a CNN town hall later this week. O’Rourke’s challenge has drawn tens of millions in donations, forcing Republicans to play defense in one of the few Republican Senate seats in play this election cycle. President Donald Trump even plans to host a rally for his former rival’s benefit.
Beto O'Rourke smashes record, raises $38.1 million in three months
The President could be an asset among those planning to vote in Texas. Trump’s approval rating is net negative statewide, with 50% of adults disapproving of his handling of the presidency vs. 41% who approve. Among likely voters, however, 49% approve of Trump’s job performance and 48% disapprove.
The gender gap in this race is tighter than what CNN has measured in nationwide polling on the House generic ballot and in other Senate contests. In four other critical battlegrounds, the gender gap has been 30 points or higher in three states, and stood at 21 in the fourth. In this contest, it’s a narrower 18 points. O’Rourke holds just a 2-point edge among women, the smallest for a Democrat among women in the states CNN has polled so far. The next closest is Jacky Rosen’s 14-point lead among women in Nevada earlier this month in her race against Republican Sen. Dean Heller.
In Texas, the race gap appears more meaningful than the gender gap. Latino voters break sharply in O’Rourke’s favor, 62% to 35%, while white voters favor Cruz by a 2-to-1 margin, 66% to 33%.
Likely voters in Texas place immigration at the top of their issue list: 26% call it the most important issue in deciding their vote, while 23% call the economy their top priority. Cruz leads among both sets of voters. O’Rourke has a wide edge among the 19% of voters who call health care their top issue. Eleven percent say their top issue is national security, 8% gun policy and 5% the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump, Cruz mend fences and try to save each otherTrump, Cruz mend fences and try to save each other
Both Senate candidates hold net-positive favorability ratings with voters in Texas generally, and that holds among those most likely to vote. Cruz is viewed positively by 51% of Texas voters, 41% have an unfavorable view, and O’Rourke is seen favorably by 45%, with 36% holding a negative opinion. Cruz fares better among his own partisans (92% favorable among Texas Republicans) than O’Rourke does with Democrats in the state (81% favorable among Democrats).
The poll also finds Texas Gov. Greg Abbott standing well ahead of his Democratic challenger in the poll — 57% of likely voters support Abbott with 39% for Lupe Valdez.
The CNN poll in Texas was conducted by SSRS October 9 through 13 among random statewide samples reached on landlines or cell phones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample of 1,004 adults have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points. For the subset of 862 registered voters, it is plus or minus 4.1, and for the 716 likely voters, plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

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