Oct. 5, 2016: The vice-presidential debate is now behind us—and as both Democrats and Republicans claim victory, the truth is that hardly anyone tuned in compared to previous years. In fact, the debate was so poorly watched, the real winner might have been Major League Baseball and the Toronto Blue Jays wild-card victory.
What voters can expect to see more of? Based on what happened today: pro-gun, pro-Trump commercials courtesy of the NRA; Hillary Clinton’s husband, Bill, walking the tightrope of supporting/not supporting Obamacare; and newspapers not endorsing Donald Trump.
Here’s our daily U.S. election Bulldog, rounding up what you need to know about what happened on this day on the campaign trail.
How about those Toronto Blue Jays?
Did you skip Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate? You’re not alone. Even Americans didn’t tune in. If early viewership numbers hold, the VP debate had its lowest TV ratings since 2000. It was so bad that when the Washington Post compiled its list of winners and losers of the debate, it listed the Toronto Blue Jays/Baltimore Orioles baseball game in the “winner” category.
“For most of the 95 minutes or so that the debate lasted, it was borderline unwatchable,” they wrote. “Searching for something else to watch seemed like a pretty good option. Enter the American League wild card game.”
Let me stop you right there
Trump had one big problem with Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, during Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate: “the constant interruptions.” He’s right. Kaine interrupted Trump’s running mate Mike Pence about 72 times during the debate, prompting Trump to tweet this the following morning:
The constant interruptions last night by Tim Kaine should not have been allowed. Mike Pence won big!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2016
The interruptions have been a problem at debates thus far, but, as some have pointed out, so too is Trump’s hypocrisy for complaining. Why? Trump interrupted Clinton on 51 occasions during their first debate, according to a tally from Vox. (Clinton, meanwhile, interrupted Trump a mere 17 times.)
For must-watch TV, it sure makes a lot of it unwatchable.
— Mic (@mic) October 5, 2016
The problem with Trump’s tax-brilliance boast
In the face of suggestions Trump could have gone 18 years without paying federal income taxes—stemming from a New York Times story with leaked Trump tax documents—Trump didn’t refute the claims but instead used them to make him sound like a financial guru. “I understand the tax laws better than almost anyone, which is why I’m the one who can truly fix them,” he told his supporters at a recent rally. “I have brilliantly used those laws.”
The only problem with that boast: his old accountant is saying he’s the one who did all the work, while Trump did nothing whatsoever. “I did all the tax preparation,” Jack Mitnick told Inside Edition. “He never saw the product until it was presented to him for signature.” So who’s the one who gets the credit/blame now?
Backtracking on Obamacare
Earlier this week, Bill Clinton called Obama’s signature piece of legislation during his presidency—the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare)—“the craziest thing in the world,” adding that small business people were seeing their premiums double and coverage cut in half. But wait! Isn’t Bill supposed to be supporting the Democrat Obama—who is also supporting his wife, Hillary, for president? On Wednesday, Bill backtracked slightly, saying he supported Obamacare for helping 20 million uninsured Americans get health coverage.
“But there are problems with it,” he told a crowd In Ohio. “There are problems with it and everybody knows it.” Which means instead of repealing it, as the Republicans have promised, Bill supports giving the legislation some fixes.
Trump still waiting on endorsements
The Hill is compiling a list of the top 100 newspapers by circulation in America and tallying which paper endorses which candidate. While the majority have yet to weigh in, not a single news source listed has publicly endorsed Trump. Clinton has racked up 17 endorsements thus far, while Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson has the backing of three—an amazing feat for a third-party candidate with no chance of being elected.
Can it be that bad for Trump? The Tulsa World—which endorsed the Republican candidates in every presidential election for the last 76 years—essentially picked “none of the above” this time around. “We encourage all voters to participate in the election and to follow their consciences in making the best choice from the least acceptable list of candidates for president in modern times,” it wrote. “We won’t be endorsing any of them.” As for the USA Today, a paper with the largest circulation in the country—and a history of not endorsing candidates—finally weighed in this time around: “By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.”
Trump is getting a big boost from the National Rifle Association, as the gun rights group just dropped $6.5 million in ad spending for this endorsement, where a 26-year-old woman tells the story of how a gun that she kept in her purse saved her from an attack in a parking garage.
The ad appears to be targeting not just the female vote, but also Millennials, a demographic that has been slow to grow on Clinton, but are often instead leaning toward a third-party candidate.
Kids say the darndest things
Trump made a special appearance at a Grade 1 class in a Las Vegas school on Wednesday. It was a great photo op: Trump got to ask who the best student was and several kids all raised their hands. But, the most honest line goes to the little girl who can be overheard saying, “I want to touch his hair because it’s orange.”
1st graders at International Christian Academy react to Trump walking into their class. pic.twitter.com/5ZQr7Ep98G
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) October 5, 2016
Today’s required reading: Tim Kaine really didn’t give the VP debate’s female moderator the respect she deserved (Vox)