Donald Trump speaks yesterday during a rally in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

With Breanne Deppisch

THE BIG IDEA:

SALT LAKE CITY—The revelations of recent days about Donald Trump’s lascivious and predatory attitudes toward women have hurt him in Utah perhaps more than any other state.

Julie de Azevedo Hanks, a psychotherapist with a blog that is widely read in the Mormon community, is an independent who voted for Mitt Romney four years ago. She planned to keep her preference for Hillary Clinton quiet until she saw the 2005 video of the Republican nominee boasting to Billy Bush about pursuing married women and using his celebrity to make unwanted advances.

“That tape put the final nail in the coffin,” Hanks said. “A year ago, I never would have thought I’d be voting for her. I know she’s not flawless. I don’t idolize her. I don’t have rose-colored glasses. … We may not get everything we value with Hillary, but she aligns more closely with what we do value than Trump.”

Hanks posted on her blog about how dangerous she thinks Trump would be as president. She said her husband, a rock-ribbed Republican, may just not vote at all now. Last night, she was one of nearly 70 volunteers who showed up to phone bank at Clinton’s Utah headquarters, on the outskirts of the capital of one of the country’s reddest states.

The parking lot overflowed. Volunteers – many who identify as independent or even Republican – parked down nearby residential streets and walked. They ate Little Caesar’s Pizza as they made the case on cell phones to their Utah neighbors to back a Democrat for president for the first time since 1964.

The Clinton team has a full-time staffer on the ground to organize the phone banks and canvassing. They’ve even launched a Mormons for Hillary effort.

The angel Moroni statue, silhouetted against a cloud-covered sky, sits atop the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns the Deseret News. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

The influential Deseret News, which is owned by the Mormon Church, has stayed out of presidential politics for 80 years. But the editorial board urged all of its readers over the weekend not to vote for Trump. (For context, more than six in 10 voters in next month’s election will be members of the flock.)

“What oozes from this audio is evil,” the editorial said. “Trump’s banter belies a willingness to use and discard other human beings at will. That characteristic is the essence of a despot.”

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, both Mormons, withdrew their support last Friday just hours after The Post published the video. Sen. Mike Lee, who is up for reelection, also called for the reality TV star to drop out, prompting an avalanche of colleagues to follow.

A former Miss Teen Utah is one of the women who has come forward to accuse Trump of boorish behavior in the days since. (Trump denies any wrongdoing.)

-- Romney, who is Mormon, got 73 percent of the vote here four years ago. Trump got just 34 percent of the vote in a Monmouth University poll published yesterday. He leads Clinton by only 6 points (she pulled 28 percent). Another 20 percent back independent Evan McMullin, who joined the race at the urging of Never Trump conservatives, and 9 percent support Libertarian Gary Johnson. The survey was in the field after the emergence of the 2005 tape but before numerous additional women came forward to accuse Trump of misconduct.

Just 19 percent of likely voters view Trump favorably. Seven in 10 do not believe he has the temperament to be president. Six in 10 Republicans and three in four Mormons say he does not share their values.

-- I interviewed more than 30 voters on the ground over the past two days, and it feels like he has not yet hit bottom.

Evan McMullin answers questions from voters last night during a town hall meeting at City Hall in Syracuse, Utah. He appeared with running mate Mindy Finn. (Benjamin Zack/Standard-Examiner via AP)

-- The alternatives to Trump are racing to capitalize on his collapse in the Beehive State. Both McMullin and Johnson are running their national campaigns out of Salt Lake City, trying to become the first non-major-party candidate since 1968 to win any state’s electoral votes.

McMullin, who is focusing more on Utah than any other state, is a 40-year-old Mormon who spent a decade at the CIA and later became the policy director for the House Republican Conference. “People are finally realizing the truth about Trump,” he said during an interview at his campaign headquarters yesterday afternoon. “I imagine there are dozens more of these women out there, sadly.”

The first-time candidate presents himself as the antithesis of Trump. He talked about “the positives of immigration.” He said he really wants to win over Muslims. He decried stop-and-frisk policing as “based on racism.” And he heavily criticized both major-party nominees.

“Both of these candidates, under other circumstances, might find themselves in jail,” McMullin said, taking a sip of a Diet Coke. “Either Donald Trump for sexual assault or Hillary Clinton for violating our laws on protecting classified information. So the debate is about who has abused women more and who is more corrupt. It is horrible that we find ourselves in this position.”

McMullin last week tapped Mindy Finn, a D.C.-based digital media strategist, to be his running mate. “We hear from a lot of our supporters that we are an answer to their prayers,” she said. “They can walk out of the polling booth with their head held high. … The Republican Party has lost its way. It’s eating itself alive by normalizing the behavior of Trump. … What exists here is a lifeboat.”

-- Utah was always a bad fit for Trump. Most Mormons spend two years overseas as missionaries, which gives them a more internationalist outlook. Because the early church faced so much persecution, Trump’s support for religious tests cause visceral disgust. The state welcomes refugees with open arms. In contrast to the Rust Belt, there are vastly more opportunities for upward mobility and the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country.

Boyd Matheson, who runs a local conservative think tank called the Sutherland Institute, believes McMullin can win. “Utahns are not an angry people,” he said. “The hunker-down protectionism that Trump is offering just doesn’t ring true here. … For a lot of people who were never excited about Trump, the video locked it in.”

-- But McMullin’s immediate problem is that two-thirds of Utahns have still not heard of him. “We want to prevail in Utah, but we have a lot of work to do,” he said at a sparsely-decorated campaign office that is next door to a Thai restaurant and across from a credit union. Without much fundraising, he’s focusing on free media coverage and digital efforts. He said there has been a 1,600 percent increase in online engagement over the past four days. “We saw a marked shift with the tape,” he said.

Gary Johnson speaks with legislators at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City. The former New Mexico governor's socially liberal positions are an awkward fit with some in the deeply religious state. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

-- The other big issue is that if the anti-Trump vote is divided, like it was throughout the GOP nominating contest, the reality TV star could eke out a narrow win. Johnson has campaigned hard in Utah. He was back in the state Wednesday night and has come at least once every few weeks since the start of the year. During the interview, McMullin sought to dismiss Johnson as a spoiler of sorts: “He has some impact, but this is a three-way race.”

Johnson’s communications director Joe Hunter responded that the former New Mexico governor will appear on the ballot in all 50 states while McMullin has only qualified to appear in 11 states. “He’s kind of running for president of Utah, and that’s legit,” Hunter, who lives up the road in Park City, said of McMullin. “There’s nothing wrong with that strategy. But we’re more confident in ours. … We’re ultimately the best option for the Never Trump Republicans in Utah.”

Everyone says a late endorsement from someone like Romney might help voters coalesce behind either McMullin or Johnson and put them over the top. “All the people you would wonder about, I’m talking to most of them,” McMullin said when asked if he’s in touch with the 2012 GOP nominee (who is legendary here because he turned around Salt Lake City’s failing 2002 Olympics).

Hillary Clinton boards her campaign plane at San Francisco International Airport yesterday to travel to Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

-- To be sure, Clinton has a very narrow path to victory in such a conservative state. She’s viewed unfavorably by almost the same percentage of voters as Trump. Only 25 percent said they like her in the Monmouth poll. And she lost the caucuses here this spring to Bernie Sanders.

But Peter Corroon, the chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, said his team is mobilizing a bigger get-out-the-vote operation than ever before, knocking on hundreds of thousands of doors and making hundreds of thousands of phone calls. “It probably won’t be over 30 percent of the vote, but I think she’ll get the plurality,” said Corroon, the former mayor of Salt Lake City. “Every time Trump opens his mouth, it gets worse for him here. … Some will move to Hillary, and McMullin and Johnson are splitting the third-party votes.”

Republicans like to point out that, in 1992, Bill Clinton finished in third place (with 25 percent of the vote) behind George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot. Mike Lee says he still has not made up his mind about who to vote for, but it will not be Trump or Clinton. When I asked him if there’s any way she could prevail, he did not hesitate. “No,” he said. “It’s not going to happen.”

But it’s also true that third-party candidates typically underperform how they do in pre-election polling because they do not have the same kind of organization to get out the vote.

The Clinton outreach also extends to Utah's growing Hispanic population, especially those living in the state's 4th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Mia Love (R). Statewide, Hispanics comprise about 8 percent of eligible voters, but in Love's district they account for about 25 percent. That was enough to prompt Lorella Praeli, the campaign's Latino voter outreach director, to travel here last month to meet with local volunteers and activists. As in other states with smaller, but growing, Hispanic populations like North Carolina and Pennsylvania, the Clinton campaign thinks running up the score with this constituency could wind up being decisive.

-- Clinton campaign strategists freely acknowledge that Utah is a reach, and that it is easier to pick off states like Arizona or Georgia first. Both sides agree that, if Trump loses here, the election nationally will probably be a blowout. But if for some reason it is close, and the divided third-party votes allow her to win in a squeaker, Utah’s six electoral votes (the same number as Iowa has) could cut off several other paths Trump has to get to 270.

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
With contributions from Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck).

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw celebrates in the locker room after winning the NLDS against Washington Nationals. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

-- The Nationals season is over after they fell to the Dodgers 4-3 in Game 5. Los Angeles scored all four runs in the seventh inning. “We just came up short,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I’m proud of my guys, of how they played this year.” (Jorge Castillo)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is extending a ceasefire agreement with FARC rebels through the end of the year. His announcement comes as both sides work to renegotiate a peace accord that was rejected by voters earlier this month. (AP)
  2. Thailand is mourning King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died after ruling for more than seven decades. The 88-year-old Bhumibol is the only ruler most Thais have ever known and is regarded as a “near-diety” in a country defined by political turbulence. (Adam Bernstein)
  3. The FBI said it will begin collecting use-of-force statistics from across the country, working to create the first online national database to document both deadly and nonfatal law enforcement interactions. (Sari Horwitz and Mark Berman)  
  4. Verizon signaled it may scuttle its $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo, after the search giant disclosed a data breach that affected 500 million user accounts. The telecom giant said Yahoo must prove the breach hasn’t damaged its value. (Ellen Nakashima and Brian Fung)
  5. A citizen’s complaint accusing Chris Christie of misconduct in the 2013 Bridgegate scandal can move forward, a New Jersey judge ruled. The complaint raises the possibility that Christie could face a criminal indictment for his role in the lane closures. (New York Times)
  6. A new study of brain scans finds that opioid users do not react as strongly to pictures of cute babies – suggesting that drugs interfere with natural parenting instincts. (New York Times)
  7. A Houston 911 operator is facing possible jail time after she reportedly hung up on THOUSANDS of callers, mid-emergency, “because she did not want to talk to them anymore.” In a recording from one call, she is heard saying “ain’t nobody got time for that" before slamming the phone down. She is due in court next week. (Travis M. Andrews)
  8. Residents at a Brooklyn apartment complex are outraged after unresolved elevator malfunctions in the building caused a six-week-old baby to plunge to her death. The doors have long since been an issue, tenants said – in 1991, a 24-year-old man fell more than 15 stories after they opened without warning. (Travis M. Andrews)
  9. The art of lunch-box packing has become an obsession in Japan. Mothers wake up before sunrise to fashion nutritious, artfully designed bento boxes for their children. Some have begun signing up for special classes in order to form elaborate “character bento” in the shape of popular cartoons and animals. Anna Fifield attended one.
Derek Olsen wore a Trump mask to Trump's rally at the South Florida Fair Expo Center in West Palm Beach yesterday. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

POLLING ROUNDUP:

-- A Fox News poll shows Clinton up 7 points (45-38) over Trump, up from just 2 points last week. More than half of Americans now say Trump is unqualified to be president. "If the Republicans are not at rock-bottom, they can certainly see the bottom from where they are," says GOP pollster Daron Shaw. "If Trump got 90 percent of self-identified Republicans and nothing else -- no Democrats and no independents -- he'd be at 32 percent.”

-- Clinton is up 4 points in North Carolina and Ohio is virtually tied in NBC/WSJ/Marist pollingSen. Richard Burr is tied with Democratic challenger Deborah Ross at 46 percent in the Tar Heel State. Rob Portman continues to dominate in the Buckeye State, leading Democratic challenger Ted Strickland by 18 (55-37).

-- A SurveyUSA poll in Texas found that Trump’s lead has receded to just 4 points in the Lone Star State, which is within the margin of error. For perspective, Romney won the state by 16 points in 2012, McCain by 13, and George W. Bush by 23. Ted Cruz is not popular back home: Only 45 percent approve, compared to 45 percent who disapprove. "It suggests that he may be looking at a significant primary challenge,” said SMU professor Matthew Wilson. Separately, Texas has a record-breaking 15 million people registered to vote ahead of the election, the Texas Tribune reports – more than 777,000 more than were registered for the March primaries.

Trump speaks in Cincinnati, Ohio, yesterday. (Bryan Woolston/Reuters)

THE DAILY DONALD:

-- Trump is pulling out of Virginia. NBC News reports that the news was announced to staff on a Wednesday night conference call and left many operatives on the ground blindsided. The decision came from Trump’s headquarters in New York and means that he is running essentially a four state campaign in the final three weeks, focusing on Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

“Several factors appear to have pushed Virginia into the Clinton column,” Laura Vozzella explains from Richmond: “Changing demographics that favor Democrats in statewide elections; divisions within the state Republican Party over Trump; Clinton’s selection of Sen. Tim Kaine, a well-liked former Virginia governor as her running mate; and vigorous support from Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), a close Clinton friend. ‘We got so far ahead here that we are no longer considered a swing state in Clinton World,’ McAuliffe told The Post in an interview last week — before the release of a tape of Trump bragging about groping women.”

-- Paul Ryan is attempting to move past his week-long battle with Trump today by delivering a fresh policy speech and announcing that he helped raise an additional $15.4 million to defend the House GOP majority. Kelsey Snell has early excerpts: “Ryan will argue for the value of conservative leadership in Congress in a mid-day address to college Republicans in his home state of Wisconsin. The speech aims to refocus the political discussion on the same traditional Republican themes like small government and freedom that Ryan has seen as key to maintaining a GOP majority as support [for] Trump has been sinking. ‘It is important that we take a step back and reflect on what this election is ultimately about,’ Ryan will say. ‘Beneath all the ugliness lies a long running debate between two governing philosophies: one that is in keeping with our nation’s founding principles—like freedom and equality—and another that seeks to replace them.’"

-- The RNC raised $39.4 million in September and has transferred $6.35 million of that to fund down-ballot races. From Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli: “The reallocation of $6.35 million—$4.5 million of which went to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and $1.85 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee—was made ‘with the encouragement of the Trump campaign,’ the RNC's press release stated.”

-- Elsewhere, a group of the Republican Party’s most generous donors are calling on the RNC to disavow Trump, saying the latest allegations about his sexual misconduct are grounds for the committee to cut ties, finally and fully. From The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin, Alexander Burns, and Maggie Haberman: “The Republican financial apparatus under Mr. Priebus, sputtering since Mr. Trump claimed the presidential nomination, is wheezing painfully in the final weeks of the race. The committee’s fund-raising officials now quietly acknowledge that Mr. Trump is a thoroughly compromised candidate, party donors said, but implore potential contributors to give anyway, stressing graver concerns like control of the Supreme Court. Many donors have stopped giving, though, and some have deserted the party, including two major donors who confirmed on Thursday that they were supporting Gary Johnson … Even some of Mr. Priebus’s allies believe that Mr. Trump is certain to be defeated and that it is time for the party to protect its image by disavowing him.”

-- Those who know him best are not giving him money --> “Trump's missing donors: the people who work for him,” by Michelle Conlin and Grant Smith at Reuters: “Kerry Woolard, the 37-year-old manager of Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia, went online in June and made her first political contribution: A $250 donation to the campaign of her boss, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Woolard's donation was unusual. Only a dozen of an estimated 22,450 people employed at Trump's companies have donated more than $200 to the celebrity businessman's bid for the U.S. presidency, [according to a Reuters review] …” The contributors have given a total amount of $5,298 to Trump's campaign, a fraction of the $112 million Trump's political operation has received this year. This stands in stark contrast to the 2012 election, when employees at the private equity firm Mitt Romney led until 1999, Bain Capital, and a separate company for which he worked, Bain & Company, donated nearly $375,000. Bain Capital employees gave an additional $1.125 million to Romney's Super PAC.”

-- How toxic is Trump? Florida GOP Rep. David Jolly, who represents an area around Tampa, is threatening to sue the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee over a campaign ad that uses multiple photo-shopped pictures of him and Trump, portraying a close relationship between the two -- though they have never met in person. "I have never met Donald Trump. I have never had a conversation with Donald Trump. I have never been in a room with Donald Trump," said Jolly, who has refused to endorse Trump but is nevertheless expected to lose to Charlie Crist. (Miami Herald)

-- Trump spent Thursday afternoon issuing a stunning call to arms, emphatically denying a wave of new groping allegations while charging that his accusers were instead conspiring against him. From Philip Rucker and Sean Sullivan: “Scrambling to turn around his floundering campaign, Trump declared war on the media and multinational corporations, alleging they are colluding with [Clinton] to orchestrate ‘the single greatest pile-on in history.'" “The Clinton machine is at the center of this power structure,” he said at a Palm Beach rally. “Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe and morally deformed."

-- This is part of a pattern: When he gets desperate, Trump spins conspiracy theories. From Sean Sullivan: “This time, there was a bigger, badder villain — ‘a global power structure’ of corporate interests, the media and Clinton engaging in subterfuge. This time, it was about him. Trump said Thursday that the world had reached ‘a moment of reckoning.’ He told his backers that his campaign is ‘not about me; it’s about all of you, and it’s about our country.’ He portrayed the powers he says have banded together to rally against him and his advocates as ruthless and cunning. ‘They will attack you; they will slander you; they will seek to destroy your career and your family; they will seek to destroy everything about you, including your reputation,’ Trump said. ‘They will lie, lie, lie, and then again they will do worse than that; they will do whatever is necessary.’”

-- His speech came just minutes after Michelle Obama delivered a scathing, impassioned repudiation of Trump’s behavior, saying the groping allegations have “shaken her to her core.” The dueling speeches made for a remarkable moment in a roiling presidential campaign and signaled that the final 25 days would focus "not on policy or ideology, but on character. “Two speeches. Two Americas. A pair of apocalyptic arguments and one call to burn down the house. That’s the summation from just two remarkable hours Thursday that crystallized the final month of Campaign 2016,” Dan Balz writes. “In back-to-back appearances, in what might be the two most compelling hours of the entire election, Michelle Obama in New Hampshire and Donald Trump in Florida delivered the fiercest, most provocative and hardest-hitting speeches of an election cycle that has been without precedent in hot rhetoric. The presidential campaign has been building toward all this. Day after day after day, the rhetoric has intensified, the charges and countercharges have escalated, the issues have been reduced to asterisks, and the gulf between the Trump and Clinton coalitions has widened. Sunday’s debate in St. Louis foreshadowed what was to come. Now there will be no turning back.”

-- Trump today will broaden his attack against the media to hit globalism and the Clinton Foundation by charging that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is part of the biased coalition working in collusion with the Clinton campaign, the Wall Street Journal’s Monica Langley reports. “As early as Friday, Mr. Trump is planning to claim that Mr. Slim, as a shareholder of New York Times Co. and donor to the Clinton Foundation, has an interest in helping Clinton’s campaign … The Slim family held about 17% of the New York Times Class A shares as of March, making them the largest individual shareholder. Mr. Slim and his foundation have given between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation since its founding. Attacking the Mexican billionaire would allow Mr. Trump to hit several targets. He could slam the ‘failing’ New York Times, which he says had to be ‘rescued’ by a ‘foreigner’—Mr. Slim, a [Trump adviser] said.”

Slim and the Times pushed back quickly: “This is totally false,” said Arturo Elias, Slim’s spokesman. “Of course we aren’t interfering in the U.S. election. We aren’t even active in Mexican politics.” He said the contributions by Slim to the Clinton Foundation were a matter of public record. “Carlos Slim is an excellent shareholder who fully respects boundaries regarding the independence of our journalism,” said Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. “He has never sought to influence what we report.”

-- Die-hard Trump supporters have become angrier than ever. “Crowds that once booed and shouted at the press mainly at Trump’s prompting … have now begun spontaneously targeting the press on their own, at a scale not yet seen in this campaign, or any in memory on American soil,” says Politico’s Ben Schreckinger, who has covered the campaign for more than a year. “Chants of ‘CNN sucks’ have become commonplace at Trump's rallies this week and members of the traveling press were called ‘whores’ and ‘press-titutes’ as they filed out of a Thursday afternoon rally in West Palm Beach. This week, Trump has begun claiming that mainstream media outlets no longer conduct journalism. ‘Reporters who work for these outlets like Washington Post or The New York Times may think of themselves as journalists, but they’re actually just cogs in a corporate, political machine,’ he said in Panama City."

Jessica Leeds is one of the two women who told the New York Times that Trump touched her inappropriately. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

PREDATOR-IN-CHIEF?

-- One woman told HuffPost that she witnessed Trump looking up model’s skirts and commenting on their underwear at a 1996 dinner with mutual friends. Their group was seated at a semi-circular table, Lisa Boyne recounted, and the women couldn’t get up without Trump and his friend getting up – which they refused to do. “Instead, Boyne said, Trump insisted that the women walk across the table, allowing him to peer up their skirts while they did so. Trump “stuck his head right underneath their skirts,” Boyne said, and commented on whether they were wearing underwear and what their genitalia looked like.

-- Three longtime “Apprentice” staffers told The Daily Beast that Trump repeatedly called deaf actress Marlee Matlin “retarded,” saying he regularly disrespected her and treated her as if she was mentally disabled. “He would make fun of her voice. It actually sounded a lot like what he did [to] the New York Times guy,” said a former Apprentice employee. In another incident, Trump scribbled in the margins of a note on set: “Marlee, is she retarded?”

-- Creepy: In 1992, Trump spotted a pair of girls singing Christmas carols at the Plaza hotel and asked them how old they were. When they said 14, Trump, then 46, replied, “Wow! Just think — in a couple of years, I'll be dating you!" (LA Times)

-- Trump canceled a Sean Hannity interview that was scheduled for Fox News last night, perhaps to avoid having to answer for the latest allegations. A spokesman said it would be “rescheduled.” (Politico)

-- “These women plan to vote for Trump, despite his lewd comments,” by Mary Jordan in North Carolina: “If Clinton becomes the first female president of the United States, a lot of women at Granny’s Country Kitchen will be upset. They know Trump has said crude things about women. He may even have behaved like a lout. But when forced to weigh Trump’s behavior against their disdain for Clinton, the women at Granny’s say it’s not even close. A growing gender gap is marking the 2016 campaign. Not since CBS News exit polls were first taken in 1972 has there been such a divide in how men and women view candidates.” But perhaps more unexpected than women abandoning Trump are those who still enthusiastically support him. … ‘Is it offensive? Yes. Can we forgive it? Yes!’ Debbie Meadows, wife of Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.), said of Trump’s remarks. Rep. Ted Yoho’s wife agreed: ‘When I found out, I had a few moments of righteous indignation,’ she said. ‘Then I got some perspective.’”

-- The Times responded to a letter from Trump’s lawyers that called their sexual assault story "libelous" and threatened a lawsuit: "The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation," Times’ lawyer David McCraw wrote. “Mr. Trump has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio hosts’ request to discuss Mr. Trump’s own daughter as a ‘piece of ass.’ Multiple women not mentioned in our article have publicly come forward to report on Mr. Trump’s unwanted advances. Nothing in our article has the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.”

-- Melania Trump's lawyers also threatened to sue People magazine over the first-person account written by Trump accuser Natasha Stoynoff, demanding a retraction and saying that portions of the story are "completely fictionalized." 

-- People editor-in-chief Jess Cagle posted a lengthy defense of Stoynoff and the story: “Ms. Stoynoff is a remarkable, ethical, honest and patriotic woman. We stand steadfastly by her, and are proud to publish her clear, credible account of what happened."

-- Clinton allies David Brock and Gloria Allred both offered to help cover legal fees for and otherwise represent Trump’s accusers: "We would pay for the legal defense of Trump accusers,” said Brock, a Democratic operative. And Allred, a civil rights lawyer, also signaled openness: “If any women who are making allegations of inappropriate [conduct] contact me, I would be happy to speak to them and then decide if I would be able to represent them,” she said. (Politico)

-- Donald Trump Jr. defended his father. Asked about the two women who talked with the Times, he said during a radio interview: "Come on guys, it's so ridiculous, I've never heard anything dumber in my life. ... I think it makes him a human. I think it makes him a normal person, not a political robot.” (CNN)

-- In another radio interview, from 2013, Don Jr. actually suggested that women who cannot tolerate harassment “don’t belong in the workforce”: “If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, then you don’t belong in the workforce,” the younger Trump  said. “Like, you should go maybe teach kindergarten. I think it’s a respectable position.” The hosts then joked about hypothetically pulling up pictures of naked women on their computer screens. “I’d feel harassed!” Trump, Jr. joked. “This is my get rich quick scheme. I’m now suing you guys because I feel uncomfortable. And by the way, that’s what happens in the world. I can play along, I can be fine, and then I can decide randomly — ‘uh oh, you now have crossed the line, even though I’ve been going with it.’” (Buzzfeed)

-- Ivanka Trump, stumping for her father in the Philadelphia suburbs, avoided any talk of the groping allegations. “Ivanka, perpetually on point, stayed on message,” NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports. “So much so that some of the same questions were repeated in each of the events, including what it was like to work with her dad and brothers, what she likes about Pennsylvania and why she thinks her dad would be a good president.”

-- Why didn’t Trump’s people see any of this coming? Because the candidate rebuffed political aides’ requests to provide standard-fare opposition research that is traditional for any public figure -- and the decision ultimately contributed to his campaign being caught off guard this week. Both Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort made these requests when they took the reins of Trump’s campaign, and it became a point of contention among his top political advisers. (Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli

-- A review of previously-sealed New York records shows that neither Trump nor the Trump Foundation actually gave the $10,000 that they pledged to a 9/11 charity organization in the months following the attack. From the New York Daily News: The review, conducted by city comptroller Scott Stringer, “appears to contradict Trump's prior boasts of spontaneous generosity, made as his hometown reeled from the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil in history … The records show that through mid-2002 there is no evidence that Trump personally or through the Trump Foundation gave to either group. The only recorded major donation to 9/11 causes that Trump has made was $100,000 from his foundation — which has been bankrolled by others without any money from Trump for years — to the 9/11 Museum in April 2016, as he sought to generate headlines after Cruz attacked him for his ‘New York values’ during the primary election.”

-- Ten former nuclear launch control officers signed an open letter saying that Trump “should not have his finger on the button.” The letter says the decision to use nuclear weapons requires “composure, judgment, restraint and diplomatic skill” — all qualities that the former Air Force officers who signed it said Trump lacks. (Carol Morello)

-- A group of former Reagan administration alumni have formed a group called “Reaganites Opposing Trump.” In a post on Medium, former George W. Bush National Intelligence Director John D. Negroponte writes: “Ronald Reagan was a man of wisdom, humor, unfailing courtesy and measured temperament. I personally observed these traits … during daily meetings in the Oval Office, meetings with foreign leaders and in the Situation Room. He would have been appalled by Donald Trump’s utterances and behavior. Mr. Trump has no claim whatsoever to the mantle of Ronald Reagan.”

-- “What happened to ‘America’s Mayor’? How Rudy Giuliani became Trump’s attack dog,” by Paul Schwartzman and Ben Terris: “A year ago, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani read an editorial in his hometown newspaper mocking him as a ‘shill’ for endorsing a little-known Republican [district attorney candidate].  Angry, Giuliani phoned the editorial page editor, Arthur Browne, to defend his endorsement. But the point that appeared to wound Giuliani the most, Browne recalled, was the editorial’s assertion that the former mayor ‘resides today beyond political relevance.’ “’I am relevant,’ [he insisted], ‘because all these people want my endorsement.’  The former mayor has no such worries these days. Eight years after his own presidential bid failed, Giuliani has emerged as Trump’s unflinching chief apologist, cheerleader and rhetorical Rottweiler … It’s a role that confounds allies and admirers who remember Giuliani’s rise as a law-and-order Republican twice elected in the country’s largest bastion of liberalism. ‘From his days as U.S. attorney, he was at the top of the organizational chart,’ [a] former adviser said. “Now he’s staff. He carries bags. He walks behind Trump. It’s just amazing to see.’”

Michelle Obama addresses a crowd during a campaign stop for Clinton in Manchester.. (EPA/CJ Gunther)

THE DAILY HILLARY:

-- Clinton submitted formal answers under penalty of perjury over her use of a private email server at the State Department, declaring 20 times that she did not recall requested information and discussions, and asserting she was never warned that the practice could run afoul of laws on preserving federal records. From Politico’s Josh Gerstein: "Clinton also said she could not recall ever being warned about any hacking or attempted hacking of her private account or server. Clinton's answers generally track with her public statements on the issue and with FBI reports about what she said during an interview conducted in July. Clinton "decided to use a clintonemail.com account for the purpose of convenience," her lawyers said. Asked what other reasons she may have had for doing so, she gave no ground.

-- Clinton advisers pressed her to apologize more explicitly for her use of a private email server while at the State Department, according to emails obtained in the WikiLeaks hacking. From the Wall Street Journal: After Clinton addressed the issue in a September 2015 TV interview, top aides discussed what they deemed a positive showing. But longtime Clinton confidante Neera Tanden wrote, “Everyone wants her to apologize. And she should.” “Apologies are like her Achilles' heel,” Tanden added. “But she didn’t seem like a [b*tch] in the interview. And she said the word sorry.”

-- President Obama launched a two day campaign swing for Clinton in Ohio, seeking to boost turnout for the Democratic nominee among African American and millennial voters that helped him win the state in 2008 and 2012. (David Nakamura and Krissah Thompson)

-- The Idaho Statesman endorses Clinton today: “We recognize a lot of you are not going to like our choice of a Democrat in this Republican state," the editorial board writes. “But our hope is that you will consider our reasoning before critiquing our conclusion. At this critical time in our nation’s history, we need, more than ever, to listen to each other with respect.”

LOOKING PAST NOVEMBER:

-- This week’s Economist cover is on “The debasing of American politics”: “In a more fragile democracy, [Trump’s rhetoric] would foreshadow post-election violence. Mercifully, America is not about to riot on November 9th. But the reasons have less to do with the state’s power to enforce the letter of the law than with the unwritten rules that American democracy thrives on. It is these that Mr Trump is trampling over—and which Americans need to defend. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote that when many bad things happen at once, societies define deviancy down, until the list of what is unacceptable is short enough to be manageable. When parents wonder if a presidential debate is suitable for their children to watch, Mr Trump’s promise to build a wall on the Mexican border no longer seems quite so shocking. Healthy politics is not gang warfare. It involves compromise, because to yield in some areas is to move forward in others. It requires the insight that your opponent can be honourable and principled, however strongly you disagree. The 2016 election campaign has poured scorn on such ideas. All Americans are worse off as a result.”

-- Conservative commentator Erick Erickson writes on the path forward for the post-Trump GOP:  “In November, when Mr. Trump’s meteor enters the atmosphere of the voting booth, Americans will be treated to a spectacular flameout as late-night comedians and professional Twitter warriors rush to tweet, ‘You’re fired!’ But when the Russians go home, the pastors repent and riot police disperse white nationalist protests, the Republicans will need fresh ideas. [And most importantly] … the Republican Party must recommit to a basic principle — character counts. The party that once impeached Bill Clinton for lying about an affair has defended a man who bragged about sexual assault. Character cannot be wedded to party politics, and the Republicans will have to make amends for defining deviancy down to defend the indefensible Donald Trump.

-- Wall Street Journal, “Voters’ Education Level a Driving Force This Election,” by Aaron Zitner and Dante Chinni: “The clearest dividing line in this year’s presidential election now falls along educational lines: Whites without a college degree have consolidated behind Trump and those with a four-year degree are tending to back Clinton. The divide helps explain why Mr. Trump pulled his field staff Wednesday from Virginia—essentially ceding a state where polling shows he has been largely abandoned by suburban voters with higher education levels—and why he remains competitive in the swing states of Iowa and Ohio, which have large shares of noncollege whites. Mrs. Clinton, meanwhile, is ahead in New Hampshire and Colorado, home to larger shares of whites with college degrees … The widening education gap, if it holds, would stand as a landmark in the repositioning of the nation’s two main political parties.”

-- Former Boston Globe D.C. bureau chief David Shribman grapples with the idea that Democrats are becoming the new “professional party”: “American political parties are always in transition. This year, Trump has revealed deep cracks in the traditional Republican coalition and gone to war with party leaders. Yet while the Democrats are more united behind their 2016 nominee, they’re arguably more divided over their party’s vision and future. … For politicians and campaign operatives who for a generation or more have been working for the Democrats — or against them — the party’s growing dependence on the prosperous and well-educated is disorienting. Are the Democrats the party of working people anymore or is their future with college-educated professionals?  Does a party that draws its strength from the richest and the poorest places in America have any logical rationale? Hence this question, perhaps the most devastating one of all: Have the Democrats replaced the Republicans as the party of the social, cultural, and economic elite?”

-- “A wounded bear is a dangerous thing. Detested and defeated, Trump is now in a tear-the-country-down rage,” The New York Times’ Timothy Egan writes. “Day after day, he rips at the last remaining threads of decency holding this nation together. His opponent is the devil, he says — hate her with all your heart. Forget about the rule of law. Lock her up!  Here’s his lesson for young minds: If you’re rich and boorish enough, you can get away with anything. Get away with sexual assault. Get away with not paying taxes. Get away with never telling the truth. You know this by now — all the sordid details. For much of the last year, the Republican presidential nominee has been a freak show, an oh-my-God spectacle. He opens his mouth, our cellphones blow up. But now, in the final days of a horrid campaign, an unshackled Trump is more national threat than punch line. He’s determined to cause lasting damage.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Disturbing scenes from Trump rallies:

Russia's foreign minister gave quite a quote on the presidential campaign -- this tweet was posted on their U.S. embassy's official Twitter account:

Hell keeps freezing over -- a senior correspondent at National Review praised Michelle Obama for her speech going after Trump on groping:

Here's what she said:

Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert taped a show with Obama:

Ellen DeGeneres posted this throwback photo with Clinton:

Katy's helping Kamala:

Trump celebrated the Navy's birthday:

So did Biden and others:

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“Ohio does not want to add most illegally purged voters back to the rolls,” from ThinkProgress: “Over the last five years, under Republican Secretary of State John Husted, Ohio has purged nearly 2 million voters from its rolls. Some of them were legitimately removed because they died or left the state. But many … had only committed the sin of failing to vote in every single election. An investigation by Reuters earlier this year found that low-income, black, Democratic voters were disproportionately purged. The study found that in Ohio’s major cities … voters have been removed from the rolls in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods at about twice the rate as in Republican neighborhoods.” Meanwhile, the state is arguing “that they did not need to offer illegally purged voters any remedy at all, and are only required them to offer “a different process going forward.”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT

“Wisconsin University Hosts An ‘Is My Costume Racist?’ Event,” from The Federalist: “Halloween is upon us, and so is this ever-pressing question: ‘Is my costume racist?’ Last year, social justice warriors flew into a tizzy over a college president wearing a sombrero for the holiday. On more than one campus, Halloween costumes spurred mobs of angry students. This Halloween, the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse isn’t taking any chances. The school held an event Thursday entitled ‘Is My Costume Racist?’ to inform students of what are and aren’t acceptable Halloween getups. While the event wasn’t mandatory, about 30 students attended, and not one mocked it … The campus has no policy restricting Halloween costumes, nor any guidelines on what constitutes a racist outfit. Wednesday night’s event was aimed at facilitating discussion among students to help prevent a nationwide fainting spell over a hat.”

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Trump campaigns in Greensboro and Charlotte, N.C.; Pence is in Pensacola and Miami, Fla. Bill Clinton campaigns for Hillary in Delaware and Cincinnati, Ohio.

At the White House: Obama speaks at a Clinton event in Cleveland. Later, he and Biden attend the convening of the National Security Council for a periodic review of the Counter-ISIL campaign in Iraq and Syria.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

-- The weather is officially starting to cool down! The Capital Weather Gang gives today’s fall forecast an official “nice day” rating: “Similar to, say, this past Monday, it may feel pleasantly cool under mostly sunny skies. Perhaps a periodic, thin veil of high clouds, but don’t worry. Temperatures should get from morning 50s to afternoon readings near 60 to the mid-60s. You may not need that morning light jacket on the way home! Arguably a great, beautiful day despite slightly below-average high temperatures. Some folks may fall below official Nice Day criteria (65-85 degrees) but it’s close enough for a Friday.”

-- The Capitals fell to the Penguins 3-2.

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

In case you missed Michelle Obama's speech, check out this clip:

At a rally, Obama determined he was not a demon:

Watch this old, bizarre interview with Trump. At the end, he talks about pursuing women: "Move forward -- even if you get smacked, move forward."

Seth Meyers took a closer look at Clinton's leaked Wall Street speeches:

Meyers also interviewed the Bidens:

And walked through D.C.-themed teen slang:

Joss Whedon's super-PAC created this video poking fun at generalized touting of "business experience" in politics:

This Trump piñata received a beating in Mexico: