Sept. 9, 2016: Our daily Bulldog election-campaign recaps return as the critical stretch of the U.S. election begins. On Friday, Donald Trump aides reassured everyone that the Republican nominee believes U.S. President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii; new tapes filmed in the aftermath of 9/11 demonstrate Hillary Clinton’s work ethic; and the Clinton Presidential Library releases some candid 16-year-old photos of Bill Clinton hanging out with Trump himself.
Here’s what you need to know about what happened today on the campaign trail.
Trump believes Obama was born in Hawaii, says everyone but Trump
For longer than it deserved any media attention, Trump was the leading voice of the so-called “birther” movement that claimed Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii, despite a multitude of evidence (including a birth certificate). On Thursday, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani told MSNBC: “Donald Trump believes now that [Obama] was born in the United States. I believe it. He believes it. We all believe it.” And when CNN asked Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway about Trump’s position on Friday, she said: “He believes President Obama was born here. I was born in Camden by the way, New Jersey. He was born in Hawaii.”
One person who hasn’t directly answered this question, however—even though he’s been asked about it in recent days—is Trump himself.
An ‘outraged’ Hillary
How upset was Hillary Clinton when she found out first responders were misled about the air quality at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11? According to Clinton herself, recorded on tapes from 2003 unearthed by WNYC: “I am outraged,” she said. “I don’t think any of us expected that our government would knowingly deceive us about something as sacred as the air we breathe.”
Those tapes, which offer an inside glimpse into Clinton’s work in the aftermath of 9/11, can be heard here.
Gary Johnson on foreign policy, take two
The Libertarian Party nominee attempted to recover from a big blunder on Thursday, when he asked “And what is Aleppo?” after an MSNBC interviewer asked him about how the U.S. can help the war-ravaged Syrian city. On Friday, Johnson shifted his foreign policy talk to Asia.
In the aftermath of North Korea’s latest claim to have tested nuclear warheads, Johnson told CNN: “We are kind of making China go crazy with our 30,000 troops in South Korea, recognizing there is no chance that North Korea invades South Korea conventionally.” South Koreans, and a host of other nations, likely won’t want to test fate.
Smile for the camera
The Clinton Presidential Library released some pretty chummy photos of the time Bill Clinton met Trump back in 2000. Melania Trump and an unidentified woman in a Playboy shirt make an appearance, too.
So Bill has his arm around Trump's wife, and Trump has HIS arm around the "unidentified woman" in Playboy shirt. Heh pic.twitter.com/7eoVVtTD0G
— Billmon (@billmon1) September 9, 2016
And who knows what’s happening in this photo?
— POLITICO (@politico) September 9, 2016
See the rest of the images on Politico.
Just what the doctor ordered
After the controversy around a simple doctor’s note that said Trump is in extremely good health, the Donald now plans to unveil just how he maintains peak condition in the most spectacular way possible: an hour-long sit-down interview with TV personality Dr. Oz. The episode will air next Thursday.
Russia gets another dose of Trump
Trump figured it was just an interview with former CNN legend Larry King, according to his campaign manager, and no one told him the 10-minute phone interview was going to be broadcast on Russian television. As it turns out, King’s newest endeavour, Politicking, is on RT America, a Russian government-sponsored TV network, where Trump criticized some U.S. foreign policy, including the Iraq War. Trump critics have taken advantage of the opportunity to repeat the Republican nominee’s various words of praise for Vladimir Putin.
Out of their pews
Churches and other tax-exempt organizations in the U.S. aren’t allowed to make political endorsements, but that decades-old ban could be repealed if Trump becomes President. Trump is expected to repeat a promise to scrap the rule Friday when he attends a convention targeting “values voters” organized by the Family Research Council. At the moment, organizations that fail to abide by the law could lose their coveted tax-exempt status.
Trump reached out to America’s poor on Thursday, promising to expand low-income families choice of school with a $20-billion block grant. Where exactly that money would come from was not yet spelled out, but with the pledge, made in the swing state of Ohio where four of five non-white voters back Clinton, Trump added he’d use federal funds to help 11 million poor children attend the school of their choice—be it public or private.
Friends in high places
Clinton and Trump may have few nice words about each other, but their opinions won’t affect their daughters’ friendship.
“We were friends long before this election. We will be friends long after this election,” Chelsea Clinton told The View after she was asked about Ivanka Trump. “Our friendship didn’t start in politics; it certainly is not going to end because of politics.”
But to avoid any awkward photographs, the two reportedly won’t be hanging out together until after the election. What are friends for?
Recommended reading: “Bill Clinton, After a Year of Restraint, Unleashes an Impassioned Self-Defense” (New York Times)